Tennessee Rules Committee Votes To Move Proposals To Council

Tennessee Rules Committee Votes To Move Proposals To Council
© USA Today

During Wednesday’s Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council rules committee meeting, three online sports betting rules were approved unanimously and will be heard by the full Advisory Council early next week.

The three rules were 15.1 — sports gaming license standards regarding suitability findings, supplier and vendor technicalities, registration for application rules, key personnel and even pre-paid cards and gift card changes to fund accounts; 15.2 — how disputes are to be resolved regarding registrations, etc. and 15.3 — pre-exisiting minimum internal controls.

“By the conclusion of this meeting, my hope is that we would have a vote on purposes of discussion by entire council and be made available to the public and the regulated community for public comment and review, so we have an open, transparent process,” committee chair Tom Lee said on a Zoom call.

The committee voted unanimously, 3-0, to approve the three rules, which will be brought up for discussion at the full Council meeting next week.

The committee also confirmed proposed changes to the rule to extend the 10% hold rule — the most significant of all — for online sportsbooks in TN, recommending to the full Advisory Council that the 10% remain in place. The committee is suggesting that penalties for this rule are done on a quarterly basis and review, rather than a yearly basis.

The hold is what the operators keep — or hold — after wagers are settled with bettors. There was a hope among sportsbooks that after the first year Tennessee officials would see that a higher-than-average 7.5% hold would be bad for business.

Instead, the new proposal would penalize sportsbooks that don’t hit the 10% hold on a quarterly basis instead of annually. The original penalty was $25,000 annually for those not hitting the hold. The updated rule would mean those who don’t comply could face as much as a $100,000 fine in a year.

It was a controversial rule when put in place before online sports betting became legal in Tennessee.

Tennessee Still Seeing Success

Tennessee got off to a good start with players betting more than $1 billion in the first six months. In June, the state brought in $174.5 million in wagers, stopping a three-month slide in revenue.

Tennessee has seven sportsbooks in its online-only market: DraftKings Sportsbook, WynnBet, Bet MGM, FanDuel Sportsbook, Action 24/7, TwinSpires and William Hill.

Five new operators have submitted applications for a license, according to The Tennessee Education Lottery, which currently runs the state’s betting operation.

Executive Director Search Continues

At the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council meeting at noon ET on Tuesday, there will be a discussion on the field of candidates for an Executive Director.

The council decided during its June meeting that it would take applications for the job until Aug. 11 and then start narrowing the list of candidates. The council hopes to have someone named by the middle of September.

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council will assume duties of running sports betting from the Lottery on Jan. 1, 2022.