On Thursday, the Tennessee Education Lottery will unveil some changes to its smartphone presence.
According to the TEL, the TN VIP App and the TN Lottery App will be merged into a single platform. Additionally, the TEL is launching a new VIP website for players. The soon-to-be old TN Lottery App has a mere 2.3-star rating on the App Store, so there appears to be plenty of room to improve the smartphone experience for customers. In April, the TEL announced that the app would receive upgrades under a contract extension with IGT.
The revamped TN Lottery App appears to be a one-stop shop for scanning tickets, creating a mobile playslip, finding a retailer, earning VIP points, among other features. The TN Lottery App doesn’t allow the purchase of tickets or game play, which is permitted in Michigan and Pennsylvania, for example.
According to the TEL, the update began earlier this week, and it will be completed Thursday.
“Beginning at 11 p.m. CT on June 30, 2020, you will not be able to login to your account and perform any VIP activities,” a presser stated. “At this time, we will begin updating the TN Lottery App to include VIP rewards and begin the switch to the new VIP website. On July 2, 2020, access to your VIP account will be restored via the updated TN Lottery App and new tnviprewards.com.”
Full-fledged online lottery in the future?
The Volunteer State is not a likely candidate to authorize online lottery instant games anytime soon. They are popular products in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, after letting the 2019 Sports Gaming Act become law without his signature, vowed not to approve any new forms of gambling during his tenure. He was elected in 2018.
The TEL is busy working on implementing online/mobile sports betting, which will come through sports betting firms it licenses. The TEL is the regulator of sports wagering, but it will not be operating its own branded sports betting app or web platform. Sportsbooks such as FanDuel or DraftKings are expected to obtain licenses at a cost of $750,000 annually.
Tennessee isn’t home to any casinos, so the state went with an online-only sports wagering market. The state could have opted to put sports wagering in some form in the thousands of lottery retail locations across the state, but it went for a model creating an open, competitive market that likely will generate more money for the state.
Sports wagering is predominately conducted online. States with online/mobile sportsbooks were seeing more than 80% of the betting handle come through the internet, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of casinos across the country.
Tennessee is expected to kick off online/mobile sports wagering early this fall.