Tennessee Holds Possibly Final Hearing Before Sports Betting Launch Day

The ball is almost in the end zone.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Education Lottery and its Sports Wagering Committee held a very brief 30-minute meeting to put some finishing touches on the process of getting the upcoming online/mobile sportsbooks ready for launch.

The TEL on Thursday approved a technology company called Amelco, which is a supplier for the upstart and Tennessee-based Action 247 Sportsbook, which plans to offer sports betting exclusively in the Volunteer State. Additionally, the TEL has approved DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, all of which are national sports betting brands. All four apps are expected to launch on the same day.

That launch day still isn’t finalized. The TEL expects to allow some sort of soft launch on Oct. 30, two days prior to a full launch on Nov. 1. The latter date is an NFL Sunday, and it would probably be optimal to have the apps live ahead of time.

“They may need to go live a couple of days before that [Nov. 1 date] to set up patron accounts,” TEL CEO Rebecca Hargrove said Thursday.

According to Hargrove, Thursday’s meeting could be the last public one before launch day, but another meeting next week could be had if needed.

Operator checklists

One of the final items left for regulators to review includes advertising materials the books plan on using, presumably right out of the gate after launch. “No one can do business in Tennessee until their checklist is complete,” Hargrove stressed Thursday.

There aren’t expected to be any delays.

Recently, the TEL completed the process of going over “house rules” with operators and reviewing their respective insurance policies.

At the conclusion of the brief meeting, TEL Board Member William Carver thanked the public for its “patience” in waiting for the launch of legal sports wagering in the state. The 2019 Sports Gaming Act became effective in July of that summer, but it’s taken regulators well over a year to bring the industry to the finish line.

The process was complicated by the Tennessee Legislature getting involved with the process, when some policymakers had concerns that there were discrepancies between the statute and the regulations, the latter of which were adopted nearly 200 days ago.

In the end, everything was sorted out between the legislators tasked with crafting the new law and the TEL officials tasked with implementing it. Tennessee has no casino-style gaming, which was a factor in the sports betting rollout taking a bit longer.