Tennessee Bans Betting on Russian, Belarusian Events
Beginning Monday, Russian and Belarusian leagues and teams will be suspended from the approved list for sports betting in Tennessee, according to the state’s top gaming regulator.
“Until further notice, Russian and Belarusian governing bodies, leagues, teams, players and events are hereby suspended from approval under the Sports Gaming Approved Events for Sports Wagering,” according to a memorandum from Mary Beth Thomas.
Thomas is the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council’s executive director. The nine-member council regulates gaming in Tennessee.
Tennessee does not have brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but mobile wagering has been legal in the state since November 2020.
Several online bookmakers offer apps that people can download on their smartphones and computers to place bets anywhere in the state.
Volunteer State Has 34 Wagering Categories
In Tennessee, bettors have 34 sports betting categories available for wagering. These categories include sports from football to darts.
The memo from Thomas specifies that wagering will be suspended beginning Monday at 5 p.m. CT on Russian and Belarusian leagues and teams in those categories.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, governments and private businesses have imposed sanctions on Russia. Belarus has been aligned with Russia in the invasion.
Illinois has imposed a sports wagering ban similar to Tennessee’s.
Russian and Belarussian Leagues Identified
In Tennessee, gaming regulators have targeted Russian and Belarusian leagues for exclusion from wagering.
“The Council has identified the Belarus Extraleague and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as league entries on our Sports Gaming Approved Events for Sports Wagering that should be suspended,” the memo states.
The memo notes that the approved events list will be updated on the council’s website.
Players Outside Russian, Belarus Not Prohibited
The memo adds that online bookmakers are “highly encouraged to review their offerings to identify additional governing bodies, leagues, teams, players and events representing Russia and Belarus, and suspend them from their wagering offerings.”
A note at the bottom of the memo indicates that players from other countries participating in Russian or Belarusian leagues or teams “are considered to be participating in prohibited wager markets in Tennessee.”
However, Russian or Belarusian players participating outside of their home countries “are not considered to be participating in prohibited wager markets.”
In North America, the National Hockey League has 41 Russian-born players, according to USA Today.
The NHL has a team in Tennessee, the Nashville Predators.
According to the team's website, The Predators have one Russian-born player, center Yakov Trenin, on the current roster.
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