State Regulators Suspended Tennessee Action 24/7 For Suspected Fraudulent Activities

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
Online sportsbook Tennessee Action 24/7 was suspended by state regulators last Friday on suspicion of money laundering and fraud.

Lottery investigator Danny Di Rienzo from the Tennessee Education Lottery’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council told the regulating body that traces of money laundering and fraud were found on Tennessee Action 24/7’s betting app. Action 24/7 is the only Tennessee-based sportsbook in the state.

Various Issues Found at Tennessee Action 24/7 Mobile App

Di Rienzo detailed the allegations, highlighting one Action 24/7 account which was opened with a $10 balance but was deposited successfully 124 times from seven different credit cards. According to Di Rienzo, there was little betting action on the account yet multiple withdrawals worth tens of thousands of dollars were made to the account after the deposits.

The former secret service officer also identified Action 24/7 as one of the Tennessee sportsbooks which accepted illegal bets related to Super Bowl LVI. A total of 41 out of state residents placed a proxy bet through an individual in Tennessee on Action 24/7’s website to circumvent geolocation requirements of being present in Tennessee to place legal Tennessee sports bets.

Action 24/7 Says it Curbed the Illegal Activity

Tennessee Action 24/7 co-founder Tina Hodges admitted to the suspicious activity at its betting app. However, Hodges said that an Action 24/7 employee discovered the scheme and the company immediately suspended the player accounts. Hodges added that Action 24/7 has instituted additional control measures to curb such illegal activities and none has has happened since that isolated incident. The company says that it will appeal the suspension.

Action 24/7 was founded by Advance Financial executives. Although the lending company initially said that the two businesses are not linked, they secured permission earlier this year to allow customers at Advance Financial’s over 100 Tennessee locations to deposit funds to their betting accounts. However, a bipartisan bill currently in the General Assembly is looking to prohibit deposits made at the payday lender for fears that the company is using Action 24/7 winnings to pay off debts at Advance Financial.

BetMGM Offers Special Sports Bets at Buffalo Wild Wings

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone

BetMGM is offering a unique sports betting experience to customers who are physically present inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in select U.S. states. Using geolocation technology, sports fans can access custom promotions and bets when inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Said BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost:

“Our partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is incredibly innovative and allows BetMGM to redefine how fans enjoy sports. The introduction of geolocation technology to offer bettors a customized experience in a Buffalo Wild Wings location is a great example of what we’re able to activate through this groundbreaking relationship.”

In-Bar Channel

At the same time, Buffalo Wild Wings also announced the launch of an in-bar channel dubbed as OT Odds Powered by BetMGM. The network will air on selected screens in participating sports bars nationwide. The channel will deliver sports betting contents such as live game odds, fantasy sports, and sports betting advice programs. 

In states where mobile sports betting is legal, a new and exclusive feature called Blazin’ Bets is now offered within the BetMGM app. This new promo has curated boosts, bets, and parlays available through a customer’s personal device. 

Picks and Props Upgrade

Buffalo Wild Wings’ free-to-play game Picks and Props, which is available via the company’s mobile app,  also received an upgrade in its design. The new features include a parlay-style gameplay with new BetMGM elements. BetMGM odds can be used to make picks from any state where free-to-play games are legal. Major Prizes are awarded monthly while select winners will be inducted to the newly created BWW Hall of Fame.

BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings entered into a strategic partnership in 2019. The agreement was the first of its kind between a gaming provider and a national sports bar. Since its launch,  there have been over 500,000 users who have played BWW and BetMGM free-to-play games.

 

WynnBET Forges Partnership with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies

Sportsbook
Wynn Resorts’ WynnBET casino and sports betting app has entered into a sports betting partnership with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

WynnBET’s partnership with the Grizzlies comes after the betting company recently became the Authorized Gaming Operator for NASCAR and the official sportsbook of the Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Speedway, pending approval in Virginia.

Innovative Digital-First Approach

The partnership will focus on an innovative digital-first approach and is expected to push the limits of traditional sports marketing partnerships by creating and promoting high-impact experiences that reflect the energy of both brands.

WynnBET will be integrated across the different digital and broadcast programs of the Grizzlies and Grind City Media. An on-demand media platform plus a digital content studio will also be established by the partners. WynnBET and the Grizzlies will also work together on cross-promotional campaigns that will leverage the Grizzlies’ digital footprint, including web and mobile applications and social media. A WynnBET branded lounge will be established in the Grizzlies’ FedEx Forum.

Strengthening its Industry Position

The partnership with the Grizzlies is seen as a move that will help strengthen WynnBET’s industry position. Currently, WynnBET is live in three states and has pending launches in several other jurisdictions. With its acquisition of BetBull last year, WynnBET is poised to continue seeking lucrative sports betting partnerships in key jurisdictions to increase its player base.

WynnBET is now available in New Jersey, Colorado, and Michigan. It currently has a pending application in Virginia. WynnBET also has market access opportunities in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee. The application and market access are still subject to the necessary approvals by the regulatory authorities in the respective states.

Tennessee Lottery Approves Two More Sports Betting Operators

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money
The online-only Tennessee sports betting industry just got bigger last week with the addition of two more online gambling operators.

In an announcement made last Friday, the Tennessee Lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee has approved licenses for two more Tennessee sports betting online operators, bringing the total number of online sports betting options in the Volunteer state to seven.

Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove revealed that Willian Hill and Wynn Sports have been granted permission by the Commission to commence Tennessee sports betting activities. However, Hargrove added that the two new players and Churchill Downs won’t have their sportsbooks live when the NFL plays it championship game next weekend at Super Bowl LV. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Tennessee Action 24/7 are the four sportsbooks ready to accept Super Bowl bets in the Volunteer State.

Affected by Christmas Day Explosion

A reason why one of the new Tennessee sports betting company won’t be able to go live on February 7th is the fact that its server was affected by the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville. The blast injured a dozen people and saw several buildings damaged. While the operator was not identified, the issue with its Nashville server isn’t expected to be resolved in time for SuperBowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, Churchill Downs received approval in early January. It will operate under a BetAmerica sportsbook that is being rebranded as TwinSpires but the company has not set a launch date. WynnBET Tennessee has likewise not announced when it will go live while William Hill is expected to commence operations next month.

$180M December Handle

Tennessee passed the United States’ first online-only legal sports betting law in 2019 with Republican Governor Bill Lee allowing the bill to pass without his signature. The law took effect that summer with the Lottery tasked to administer Tennessee sports betting. Online sports betting began last November for people 21 and over who are physically in the boundaries of the Volunteer state.

Last Tuesday, the Tennessee Lottery reported a December 2020 betting handle of $180.9M which represented a 37.7% increase from the state’s $131.4M haul in its debut month last November. Gross payouts in December were recorded at $167M which was a significant 41% increase from the previous month’s $118.2M. The state received a privilege tax of $3.1M for December 2020, a 29.2% increase from November’s $2.4M figures.

Memphis Grizzlies Enter Into Sports Betting Partnership With FanDuel

Odds Board and Money
With sports betting now legal in Tennessee, the Memphis Grizzlies were quick to capitalize by signing its first ever sports betting deal with US online sportsbook FanDuel. On the other side of the fence, the Grizzlies are also the first NBA team that FanDuel has partnered with.

Said FanDuel Group CMO Mike Raffenspberger:

“As we expand our market-leading sportsbook into Tennessee, partnering with the Grizzlies was a no-brainer given the team’s popularity and long-standing success, as well as their shared mindset of being absurdly fan-focused. We are incredibly excited to collaborate with the Grizzlies as we bring unique promotions, product innovation, and engaging online experiences to Grizzlies fans and Tennessee sports fans alike.”

For their part, the Grizzlies made a statement via President Jason Wexler:

“We are thrilled to have FanDuel as our first sports betting marketing partner and as our exclusive daily fantasy partner. Grizzlies fans are among the most passionate in the NBA, and we are looking forward to helping them find new ways to access their sports fandom. FanDuel has been an excellent partner in building a program that will showcase why they are one of the best sportsbooks for Grizzlies fans.”

Multi-Year Agreement

Under the multi-year agreement, FanDuel will get the permission to use official Grizzlies marks and logos from them to use across FanDuel’s online sports offerings and daily fantasy products. Meanwhile, FanDuel’s logo will be part of the Grizzlies’ marketing assets including the in-arena signage at the FedEx Forum. Likewise, FanDuel will be able to promote its sports betting offerings to fans directly via the Grizzlies’ radio, TV, and digital marketing platforms.

FanDuel will also present the Grizzlies’ home and away television broadcast with multiple integrations to improve the experience for the fans who choose to watch the game on television in the comfort of their homes. In addition, the Grizzlies and FanDuel plan to offer several once-in-a-lifetime experiences to FanDuels clients.

Tennessee Legal Sports Betting Goes Live

The announcement comes a day after legal Tennessee sports betting went live. Sports betting was legalized in the Volunteer state in the spring of 2019. The law took effect last November 1st without the signature of Governor Bill Lee who at that time did not believe that legal Tennessee sports betting would be of the best interest of the state.

After several months of ironing out the policies, online sports betting is now live in Tennessee. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation has so far approved four online sportsbooks to operate in the state. These are DraftKings, BetMGM, Action247, and FanDuel. Only online sports betting is currently legal in Tennessee and brick and mortar sports betting shops are not allowed.

Legal Tennessee Sports Betting Ready For November 1st Launch

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money
Legal Tennessee Sports betting is two week away from its launch and with some minor glitches to fix, state regulators are working round the clock to iron out those issues.

Las Friday, the Tennessee Education Lottery held several meetings to make some adjustments on the language of the state’s sports betting rules. Likewise, the regulators approved a new betting menu, and corrected some of the language in NCAA Football betting.

Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove suggested that the approved sportsbooks be allowed to open for a few hours on the day before November 1st. Hargrove argued that November 1st is an NFL Sunday, a very busy day in sports betting., and she does not want the legal Tennessee sports betting sites to be overwhelmed.

It was also agreed that 20% of the legal Tennessee sports betting revenues will go back to the state with most of the funds going to education and institutions dealing with higher learning. Mental health initiatives have also been targeted as a beneficiary of Tennessee sports betting funds.

Fourth Sportsbook Waiting For Approval

BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel were the sportsbooks announced by the Volunteer State last month as approved to do business in its jurisdiction. A fourth sportsbook in the Tennessee Action 24/7, has filed its application but is unsure if they will be given the go-signal to launch along with the others on November 1st.

Tennessee Action 24/7 filed its application on September 23rd but the home-grown sportsbook has yet to hear from the Tennessee Education Lottery. Amelco, the company behind the Tennessee sportsbook, sent its sports betting application last September 23rd. With the Tennessee Education Lottery averaging six weeks to review the application and do background check, it is expected that the Tennessee sportsbook will receive its approval during the first week of November.

Online Sports Betting Only

The launching of legal Tennessee online betting will come with some historic controversy because the Volunteer State is the first to allow customers to bet on sports exclusively online. Betting in casinos is not permitted and there are no brick and mortar sports shops in the state.

Sports betting was legalized in Tennessee in 2019 when Governor Bill Lee let the period of legislation expire without his signature. Since then, Tennessee sports betting has taken a divided political path. The Tennessee Education Lottery has struggled to develop an infrastructure to manage sports betting in a state that has no previous casino gambling experience.

 

BetMGM Named Inks Sports Betting Deal With Tennessee Titans

Flag Of Tennessee
BetMGM became part of Tennessee Sport Betting history on Monday when it scored the first ever gambling partnership with a Tennessee professional sports team in the NFL’s Titans.

BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings were the three sports betting operators who were given a conditional license by the Tennessee Education Lottery Board’s Sports Wagering Committee last September 23. The three gambling companies are slated to launch their online betting platforms on November 1st, pending the approval from the Tennessee Education Lottery Company.

Gil Beverly, Titans Sr. Vice President, Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer, said in a press release:

“We are thrilled to bring BetMGM to the state of Tennessee. BetMGM will deliver new experiences and levels of engagement to our fans and we’re excited to welcome them in as an official partner.”

Official Partner

As official partner, BetMGM receive brand visibility across the Titans’ different digital platforms. The BetMGM logo will appear in crucial parts of the live game including field goal attempts and video board replays.

BetMGM will also be the sponsor of a forthcoming raffle which will benefit the Titans Foundation. The betting company will likewise become the exclusive naming rights partner of the Titans’ Saint Thomas Sports Park television studio and Titans’ content shown throughout Tennessee.

The joint venture between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings first launched its sportsbook in New Jersey in July 2018. Also known for its online casino and poker services, the BetMGM app is now available for download in seven U.S. states.

Online Tennessee Sports Betting

Although brick and mortar casinos are still prohibited in the state, online Tennessee sports betting became legal on July 1, 2019 and it became such without the signature of Gov. Bill Lee who at that time did not believe that legalizing sports betting would be of the state’s best interest.

Tennessee sports betting is regulated by the state lottery officials who approved the rules last April and started reviewing applications for operators last June. The Tennessee Lottery board continues to review applications for additional sports betting operators, vendors, and suppliers. There is no limit as to the number of licenses the board can issue but they must meet specific requirements.

The law allows sports betting in Tennessee only via the internet, mobile devices, and telecommunications platforms. Bettors must at least be 21 years of age and they must be physically present within the state borders when their bets are placed.

Tennessee Lottery Finalizing Sports Betting Regulations in February

Tennessee State Flag: Blue Circle, White Stars, Red BackgroundSix months after online sports betting became legal in Tennessee, state lottery officials are still finalizing the rules governing how licensees will operate. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet in Nashville on Feb. 19. That immediately follows the TEL Sports Wagering Advisory Council meeting to further discuss the draft regulations the lottery released in late November.

Dave Smith, TEL Communications Director, gave this public comment:

“The goal is the TEL Board of Directors votes on the rules and regulations at its February 19 meeting.”

It’s unsure whether lottery officially will be able to take applications after the meeting adjourn. State Rep. Rick Staples, who sponsored the bill legalizing sports betting in Tennessee, and other leaders are hopeful that they can start taking applications next month and start product rollouts beginning in March.

Tennessee to Exclusively Take Online Sports Betting Applications

In a stark contrast to how every other state that has legalized sports betting in the US has operated, Tennessee decided to go exclusively go with online sports betting applications, not requiring brick-and-mortar establishments.

The Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, passed by state legislators last spring, did not legalize physical gambling locations Currently, the state does not have any casinos. Because of this, lawmakers placed sports betting under the TEL’s discretion.

The Gaming Act enforces the following rules: Players must be at least 21 years of age and physically present in the state in order to place a bet, operators will need to pay an annual $750,000 licensing fee, and the state will impose a 20% tax on licensees’ adjusted gross income.

Sports Bettor’s Criticism Over Proposed Hold Rule

Tennessee’s innovative approach to sports betting, with the acknowledgement of how much mobile applications dominate in states that allow both retail and online establishments, has received high praise. Whereas other states, the handle for online betting far exceeds the amount brick-and-mortar sportsbooks take. In some cases, it’s as wide as an 80/20 split.

What’s not receiving critical acclaim amongst sports bettors however, is the proposed hold rate. The proposed rule would require sportsbooks to cap payouts at 85 percent. The resulting 15 percent hold is up to three times as much as the average rate for the sports wagering industry.

Robert Walker, Director of Sports Book Operations for US Bookmaking, tweeted this about the proposed hold tying into the Tennessee Lottery:

Other Concerns

Other aspects of Tennessee’s sports betting that have drawn criticism are its requirement for using official league data and its high tax rate.

Tennessee is one of only three states that requires sportsbooks to use official league data to score live betting opportunities, joining Illinois and Michigan. However, Tennessee’s law allows for an exception if the league cannot provide the data under “commercially reasonable terms.”

The state is also planning to tax licensees at 20% of their adjusted gross revenue every month. Out of all the states that generate its sports betting income off of taxes, that rate is a bit lower in comparison to Pennsylvania’s 36%.