Tennessee Council Making Progress On Director, Rule Changes

Tennessee Council Making Progress On Director, Rule Changes
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With close to 50 applicants, the job of Executive Director for the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council was a coveted position.

The Council has whittled that number to nine and hopes that maybe by October, it will have someone in place to lead the operation before it takes over sports betting in Tennessee on Jan. 1.

How We Got Here

Council Member Mike Keeney reported the list of nine was the first step in getting the group to a manageable number. The Council wants to get that number to three finalists and have interviews set up in the next 30 days.

The Council will meet again on Oct. 5 and said they hope to have someone in place by the middle of that month.

At the July meeting, the Council decided it would take applications for the job until Aug. 11. It was suggested at that time to have someone in place sooner rather than later.

Sports Betting Numbers Tumbled In July

After handle increased in June, the Tennessee Education Lottery, the group currently overseeing sports betting in the state, announced that revenue took a 17.2% dive in July.

The all-mobile handle in July was $144.6 million, down from $174.5 million in June.

June’s total was the first time in three months the overall handle had increased. It was $160.9 million in May, an increase of 8%.

Even with the number being lower this month, the TEL reported the state has taken in more than $1.5 billion since launching sports betting in November 2020.

Tennessee is one of the few states that only has online sports betting, without retail.

Tennessee has seven sportsbooks: William Hill/Caesars, TwinSpires, Action 24/7, FanDuel, WynnBet, BetMGM and DraftKings.

Betting Rules Proposal

Council member Tom Lee chairs the rules committee and that group submitted proposals to be considered by the Council and opened for public discussion.

The first of those suggestions was to continue to require a 10% hold for sportsbooks and that rule be enforced on a quarterly basis. Now, sportsbooks have to hit the 10% annually. The fine for failure to comply is $25,000, meaning an operator could face as much as a $100,000 fine per year.

“I’m confident we’ll hear from our licensees on this and I look forward to that conversation,” Lee said. “I think it’s a conversation worth having.”

The Council agreed that getting input on this and all rule proposals from operators and the public before Jan. 1 is important before voting on them.

Council member Haines Corbett pitched the idea that a sportsbook representative attend the next meeting in Tennessee and explain the process of sports betting to the members.

“We can’t bet. I’ve never bet. I’ve never even seen one, ” he said. "I’d like to have someone come in and show us the app, show us how it’s done.”