The Tennessee Education Lottery’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council met Thursday morning in Nashville, which provided some new insight into the timeline of the state’s launch.
Rebecca Hargrove, the CEO of the agency, said at the meeting that there’s currently no definitive timeline for when the activity will begin. The state legislature passed legislation earlier this year to allow online/mobile sports wagering, and Gov. Bill Lee in May reluctantly let the bill become law without his signature.
The Lottery did say that the process will pick up major steam in mid-January, when the Sports Wagering Advisory Council is set to meet again. On Thursday, the Lottery said that draft rules and regulations for sports betting would hit the agency’s website on Friday. The rules and regs were published here at around 4 p.m. local time in Nashville.
Regulators are allowing a 30-day public review period in order to gain feedback, a relatively common practice among state regulatory bodies embarking on real-money sports wagering. The Lottery said that it will make public the feedback it receives on the draft rules and regulations.
The state officials will likely adopt the rules and regs in mid-January, which will be a major step in the process to see the first platforms launch. Tennessee has no casinos, so the online/mobile sportsbooks will be standing on their own. In some ways it makes the process less complicated, in other ways not as much because Tennessee doesn’t have experience with casino-style gambling.
This summer, Tennessee Rep. Rick Staples, the sponsor of the sports betting bill, told TN Bets that he thought the first platforms would be live ahead of the Super Bowl. That timeline is almost certainly not possible at this juncture. Staples’ optimistic timeline does speak to the legislature’s desire to see the new law come to fruition as soon as possible, while the Lottery is laser focused on making sure there are no hiccups. The state is counting on sports betting tax revenues in 2020, so there is a fiscal impetus to launch the games by mid-year.
The rules and regulations are robust for the country’s only market where sports betting is confined to the internet. There will be no brick-and-mortar books in the state.
Some of the highlights of the rules and regs include:
- No in-game props on collegiate sports
- No props on “any type of possible injury”
- A push in a parlay makes the parlay a loss, which isn’t industry standard
- The Lottery must review and approve all sports betting advertising and marketing
- Sportsbooks must allow customers to set betting limits if they choose to do so
- A sports betting operation must have its sports gaming system physically in Tennessee
- Books are required to report handle annually, so there may not be monthly handle reports
- The regs don’t flesh out the “commercially reasonable terms” for league data on in-play bets
Those wishing to make comments on the regs can submit remarks here.
Tennessee is eyeing a sports betting market that eventually sees $254.6 mm in revenue. The state will take 20%. Annual handle is projected at between $3b-$4b.