The COVID-19 crisis has shuttered a wide range of businesses and even agencies of state government. On Monday, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation announced via its website that it was closing its claims centers, following the same decision by other states.
Claims centers were closed in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis.
Any prize less than $600 can be claimed at retail locations still open for business. Any ticket worth $600 or more can be mailed to P.O. Box 290636, Nashville, TN 37229-0636. Unlike a handful of states, Tennessee doesn’t offer the sale of lottery tickets or any games via the internet.
The Lottery reminded players that they have 180 days to claim a ticket for a draw-style game and 90 for instant tickets. Those respective time frames are unchanged.
The Tennessee Legislature is on recess until at least June 1, according wpln.org. Policymakers were set to consider legislation to amend the 2019 Sports Gaming Act, but that proposal is now on ice indefinitely.
The Lottery, along with its Sports Wagering Advisory Council, met on March 10 to discuss crafting regulations for the state’s upcoming sports wagering industry, which will be confined to the internet.
The Lottery can’t hold its public sports betting meetings right now, which are required by law. After the March 10 public meeting in Nashville, regulators moved closer to releasing a second draft of the regulations. The first draft was released in November.
As recently as the aforementioned meeting, the Lottery anticipated that legal online/mobile sports wagering would kick off in the fall, ahead of both the NFL and NCAA football seasons. There has been no official word from the Lottery about the timeline amid the coronavirus situation. If regulators are able to meet in public by early summer, that timeline could be kept.
It’s too early to say how the coronavirus crisis will impact football season. It is possible, as other sports leagues have floated it as an idea, that the games could be held without fans.