Tennessee Eyes Synchronized Launch Of Four Mobile Sportsbooks As Early As Mid-October

More details emerged Wednesday for the upcoming Tennessee sports betting market.

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Education Lottery and its Sports Wagering Advisory Council met to continue putting the finishing regulatory touches on the upcoming industry. It was revealed Tuesday that the TEL is eyeing a launch no later than Nov. 1, 2020.

It was also made public that four companies are seeking to serve as sports gaming operators. Sports Handle reported that sources familiar with the situation said that BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7, a local startup, are the firms that have completed applications.

BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all have extensive experience with online sports betting in other U.S. states. Tennessee would be Action 24/7’s first state.

The TEL has 90 days to process the applications, but it doesn’t plan on taking the full three months.

On Wednesday during the TEL’s board of directors meeting, CEO Rebecca Hargrove said that it is possible the launch could come “a week or two” ahead of Nov. 1, which would put the earliest sports wagering could launch at mid-October.

Books expected to launch together

Hargrove said that the lottery wants all four sportsbooks to launch on the same day, but that could change if one of the books needs significant extra time. The sports betting companies are now in the home stretch to taking the first legal bets in Volunteer State history.

The idea of a synchronized launch is to allow the books to begin on relatively equal footing, Hargrove said. It’s unclear if Tennessee Action 24/7 will be ready alongside the industry giants who have also applied.

She also stated that the background checks for the sportsbooks should be completed around mid-September. The lottery recently hired a former member of the U.S. Secret Service to help with the checks.

The state of Colorado kicked off its sports betting industry on May 1 with a synchronized launch. The state of Indiana went a different route, allowing its first online/mobile sportsbooks to launch in staggered fashion during October 2019.

Tennessee will likely end up with more than four licensed online/mobile sportsbooks, as other top U.S. operators are apparently waiting to see how the market takes shape — and presumably also what happens with the sports world — before applying.