Tennessee Basically Copies Sports Betting List From States With Experience, Expertise

As the legal and regulated U.S. sports betting industry and market matures, states are increasingly borrowing best practices from each other to streamline some elements of regulation.

That’s part of what’s happening in Tennessee, as the state lottery on Friday made public a list of approved events for wagering. It’s very similar to what you see in other states. It closely resembles the list in nearby Indiana, which kicked off sports betting in September 2019. Tennessee is still expected to begin its online/mobile sports wagering later this month.

Regulators with the Tennessee Education Lottery looked closely at what sportsbooks in other states are allowed to take bets on when creating their own list. The list of events the TEL released after the hearing in Nashville doesn’t have any surprises on it.

Sports Wagering Events Catalog (1)


As one can see, some of the sporting events that the industry turned to during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic have stuck around. For example, pro table tennis competition continued in other countries despite the pandemic, and U.S.-facing sportsbooks offered action on the games. The Tennessee sports betting list includes table tennis, though it will account for only a tiny fraction of the handle.

What regulators are saying

During an earlier regulatory hearing, the TEL did express some concern that states legalizing sports betting might be too quick to copy and paste some elements used by states that adopted legal sports gambling earlier. For example, if New Jersey approved betting on X, Y, or Z sporting event, other states might be best served by not just blindly allowing bets on it as well, even though New Jersey is considered the gold standard in sports gambling regulation. The TEL did do its due diligence and isn’t taking any chances with online/mobile sports wagering.

Of course, sports betting statute lays out the basic framework for what a regulatory body can approve for wagering, but the precise list isn’t formed from statute. The approved betting lists also are evolving documents. Like regulators in other states, the TEL will continually update its list depending on what licensees want to take bets on. The TEL is asking that operators give it a few days’ notice to approve new events.

In addition to the list, the TEL on Friday signed off on additional vendors for involvement in the sports betting industry. Currently, there are four firms approved as sports gaming operators — BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Tennessee Action 24/7.

Several other firms have submitted paperwork to receive a license, but the names of the companies haven’t yet been made public. Only the aforementioned books will launch in the coming weeks.