The Tennessee Education Lottery held a board of directors meeting Tuesday in Nashville, one day after the Sports Wagering Advisory Council met.
The TEL met to discuss the status of its business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While many businesses around the state closed this spring during the public health crisis, TEL CEO Rebecca Hargrove said it’s expected that the lottery will eclipse last fiscal year’s revenue by “about $20 million.” The TEL reported $1.81 billion in gross sales in FY 2019.
The state doesn’t have online lottery sales or games.
Legal and regulated online/mobile sports betting has been a key focus of the TEL for nearly a year. The state legislature in the first half of 2019 passed a law enabling sports wagering. The process to implement the law has taken a lot of time, but a launch is on the horizon.
It’s expected that sportsbooks will launch by fall, likely in either September or October.
TN Bets learned Monday that three firms have submitted partial applications for a so-called “level one” sports wagering license. The Sports Gaming Operator License would be for a company like FanDuel or DraftKings, two leading U.S. sports betting brands.
It’s unclear, however, which firms have submitted paperwork.
TEL Chair Susan Lanigan said Tuesday that despite the incomplete applications, the agency has started the “vetting process” with the information it does have at its disposal.
Lanigan said that the TEL has hired a Secret Service veteran to help it conduct background checks on firms interested in the market, which also includes vendors providing various services to the operators.
Lanigan also mentioned that Action 247, a startup sports betting company based in Tennessee, made a request to delay payment of the $750,000 licensing fee pending further clarity on the status of the sports world. The major sports leagues are still suck in limbo.
Lanigan called Action 247’s request “legitimate,” but she said that the TEL decided not to grant it after “extensive discussions.” According to Lanigan, the lottery would be without those much-needed funds if it allowed delay of the payment.
It’s unclear if Action 247 is one of the firms that has submitted a partial application.
Lanigan added that the TEL wants “people who are committed and financially sound” involved with the market.
Firms seeking to acquire a Sports Gaming Operator License must pay the $750,000 within 10 days after receiving the license. There’s also a $750,000 annual fee.
The TEL has up to 90 days to award or reject an application for licensure.
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