Memphis Grizzlies Biz Operations Director Appointed To State Sports Betting Panel

The Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council can now conduct official business and vote on items related to online sports betting.
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A majority of Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council is now set.

The Associated Press reported that Memphis Grizzlies official Kandace Stewart, the team’s business operations and external affairs director, was appointed Monday to the state panel created under the sports betting law passed earlier this year. Stewart was appointed by state Senate Speaker Randy McNally.

Stewart is also an attorney, according to her LinkedIn page.

McNally’s selection gives the council five of its nine members. Former House Speak Glen Casada, who resigned just weeks ago, picked two people on his way out the door. His replacement gets his final selection. Gov. Bill Lee, who is against gambling, has yet to make his three appointments, but a spokesperson told TN Bets recently that they are forthcoming.

Stewart, who has a two-year term, joins the following members of the panel:

  • Knoxville attorney John Valliant Jr. (three-year term)
  • Nashville businessman/lobbyist Thomas Lee (four-year term)
  • Former FBI agent Brian Fazenbaker (three-year term)
  • Knox County Chief Deputy District AG Sam Lee (four-year term)

Under the sports betting law, state officials appointing members to the council “shall strive to ensure” that members have experience in “the sports industry, accounting, and law enforcement.”

The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t put out any presser regarding Stewart’s appointment.

Lottery begins forming interest list

Another noteworthy development happened this week. The Tennessee Lottery posted a form on its website for entities interested in receiving further information about applying to offer sports betting (online only) in the state. The Lottery didn’t say when the application packets will be ready.

The sponsor of the sports betting legislation, state Rep. Rick Staples, told TN Bets early this month that the first online/mobile platforms will be live in January. That’s assuming there are no hiccups in the process. The Sports Wagering Advisory Council can now move forward with its business and vote on sports betting matters, thanks to having five of its nine members. In other words, it doesn’t appear that the governor’s lengthy deliberation on his selections will slow down the process.

From the sports betting law:

“Five (5) members of the council constitute a quorum for the purposes of voting and conducting the business of the council.”

The council has yet to elect a chair.

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