New Group in Charge of Tennessee Sports Betting
The sports betting industry in Tennessee saw a significant change on Jan. 1 as the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee has now become the top regulatory body. The Tennessee Education Lottery had previously been in charge, but a decision was made in 2021 to make this change.
Rebecca Hargrove is the CEO of the TEL, and she made it clear that her group was happy with this change. The TEL had been slow to approve new license applications and had actually shut that process down entirely while waiting for Jan. 1.
There are currently five operators that have a license application into the SWAC, and some of those have been in there for months. According to a report, a sixth operator is also hoping to obtain a license and enter the state as well.
Bally Bet, Fubo Gaming, Gamewise, SuperBook, and ZenSports have submitted an application and should be the next wave of online sportsbooks to launch. Bally Bet and Fubo turned their applications in last May, and they will be the first to receive a license if all goes well.
All five of the online sportsbooks would like to have their license granted by Feb. 13, which is the date of the upcoming Super Bowl.
Rule Changes Coming?
Along with trying to approve new sports betting operators, the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee will also be taking a close look at the current rules in place. It has already been determined that the 10 percent hold will remain, but there have been several issues facing Tennessee sports betting.
The Tennessee Education Lottery drew plenty of criticism for how it handled regulating this industry, which was a big reason for the change. The TEL will remain a part of the conversation moving forward, but having the SWAC at the top should help.
Monthly meetings are planned for the SWAC, where all potential rule changes will be discussed. Don’t expect any sweeping changes to happen immediately, but there is room to improve and grow this industry.
Tennessee Off to Big Start
Tennessee launched sports betting on Nov. 1, 2020, and it was a massive first year for the state. This state set several handle records along the way to get off to a massive start.
Nov. 2021 saw the state post a total sports betting revenue of $36.9 million, which was a record. The total sports betting handle actually fell slightly from October, but that total was still $365.7 million.
The fact that this state still does not have any retail options has limited the growth a bit, but the majority of all sports betting is done online anyways. Adding new online operators in 2022 should allow for some new handle and revenue records to be set.