Tennessee Lottery: Sports Betting Ready to Go Live Sunday

Tennessee Lottery: Sports Betting Ready to Go Live Sunday

The Tennessee Education Lottery on Friday announced it has given final approval for the online-only sports betting market to begin on Sunday.

The lottery said in a news release Friday that at 12:01 a.m. Central Time on Sunday the sports betting operators can begin taking wagers from customers at least 21 years old and physically in Tennessee.

BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and Action 247 are poised to go live on Sunday. BetMGM and FanDuel indicated they were ready on Thursday and DraftKings said Friday it will be launching Sunday.

FanDuel said Friday in a news release that former Titans running back Eddie George would place the first bet on FanDuel Sportsbook on Sunday.

Tennessee operator Action 247 also indicated Friday that it would be going live on Sunday pending final testing.

“We are very excited and proud,” Tina Hodges, CEO of Action 247, said in an email. “We look forward to being the only Tennessee owned and operated sportsbook in Sunday's starting lineup.”

TEL President and CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove said Sunday “will represent the culmination of an enormous amount of work and due diligence to bring online-only sports wagering to Tennessee, the only state in the nation to do so.”

“As the regulator, today also represents the beginning of a new stage as we establish and support a responsible and competitive program here,” Hargrove said in the news release. ”We will continue to work with all licensees, registrants and applicants to protect the consumer, promote fairness in sports and regulate this new Tennessee industry that provides critical funds to the state and local governments.”

DraftKings Says It Is Good to Go

DraftKings said it will be live before Sunday’s NFL games begin — the Titans play the Bengals Sunday at 1 p.m. in Cincinnati — and that Tennessee will be the company's ninth operational state.

“As DraftKings Sportsbook continues to expand across America, we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to launch our No. 1 rated sportsbook product in Tennessee,” Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings, said in a news release. “Judging by the rabid fanbases following the local pro teams and the powerhouse college sports teams, we’re certain that Tennesseans will be among ... the most engaged skin-in-the-game sports fans we’ve seen. We can’t wait to serve Tennessee with the unrivaled DraftKings experience.”

All-Mobile Market in Tennessee

Tennessee’s sports betting law took effect in July 2019, but it has taken more than a year to launch as the lottery worked through regulations and approving operators, suppliers and vendors.

The TELC has been criticized for some of the regulations it adopted, including a high hold cap — the high hold of 10% is seen as unprecedented among states; it is typically between 6% and 8%. The lottery board has said previously that it could revisit the hold percentage in a year.

The sports betting law in Tennessee sets a tax rate of 20% (one of the highest rates nationally) and requires the use of official data from sports leagues.

Despite the delays and criticism, it appears that sports betting will launch on Sunday in Tennessee.