Tennessee Sports Betting Rules Still Being Debated, Public Weighs In

Tennessee Flag Inside Tennessee State ShapeTennessee is only a few steps away from announcing how a mobile sportsbook will be run and operated in the state, but differences in the rules governing how it will be regulated is causing an unexpected delay in sports betting being officially launched in the state.

While sports betting became legal over six months ago, the rules finalizing how the licensees will operate is taking longer than expected, and its mostly due to differences in opinions. Currently, the delay is finalizing the rules has been pushed back four separate times.

After a set of meetings were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to lock down the final form of Tennessee sports betting rules, its gaining public commentary.

Public Comments in Response to Proposed Rules

The rule that seems to be getting the most attention is a clause stating that licensed operators would be required to keep a minimum of 85% of all wagers placed. The issue that people are taking with this is that it’s not working in tandem with sports betting, and is instead more similar to a fixed matrix lottery.

Critics of the 85 percent cap believe the percentage is too low, and handicaps winners earning, restricting the amount that might receive.

Robert Walker, Director of Sportsbook Operations for US Booking and veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker, had this insight to give:

“Any cap or in this case mandatory hold puts a brake on competition.  A straight bet with a 20 cent line (-110 on both sides) is a 4.5% theoretical hold.  In reality we hold much lower than that due to line movement.  Let’s say 3% for arguments sake and our return to players is 97%.

Historically books in Nevada hold much less than 8%. Any type cap like this will eliminate large straight bets as well, forcing those players offshore. We don’t quite understand the repercussions of not holding 8%, however, so there may be some room to maneuver.

At the end of the day handle and hold percentage mean very little. Revenue is all that matters. Any cap negatively impacts our ability to seek optimal revenue.

Locking Down a New Model Hasn’t Been Easy

Tennessee is unique is their rise to legalized sports betting, because they don’t have any land-based casinos or a gaming commission to model their rules on.

“We are the only state that has enacted a statute like this that is solely mobile sports betting,” said Lottery Board Commission Chair, Susan Lanigan. “So, no brick and mortar. we don’t have a gaming commission. We don’t have casinos; so, there’s not a model out there that we can easily follow. So, to a large degree, we’re having to figure this out from scratch. So, it does take time.”

The board will continue to put their heads together with legislature on this matter as the process continues. The main hope at this point is that sports betting will be a possibility for Tennessee residents in time for football season this fall.

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%.

Jennifer Roberts is Entering Tennessee’s Gambling Industry

The rise of sports betting can be seen around the entire country. Tennessee officially legalized this form of gambling in May of 2019. This week, news broke that Jennifer Roberts has been hired to help oversee Tennessee’s gambling industry.

Flag Of Tennessee

Roberts has a long history of gaming regulation in Nevada. She’ll be a welcome addition to Tennessee’s newly emerging sports betting market.

Let’s take a quick look at this state’s decision to expand its gambling industry.

More States Are Now Embracing Sports Betting

Hopefully, by now, you’ve heard about the surge of sports betting legalization across the country. This is all due to the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA. With that set of laws now gone, every state in the country has the ability to legalize sports gambling.

Unsurprisingly, many states have already chosen to do so. Officials around the country recognize how much money can be earned via taxes from the sports betting industry. As of December 2nd, 2019, 20 states have approved sports betting legislation.

13 of these states now have sports betting operations up and running. Some of them allow for both online and land-based sports wagering. Others only allow sports bets to be made in-person. The states with online gambling are earning considerably more money than those without.

As we mentioned earlier, lawmakers in Tennessee approved a sports gambling bill in May of 2019. Sports gambling is now legal in the state. Before any sportsbooks open, however, the state government must agree to regulation plans and grant licenses to sports betting operators.

It’s clear that officials in this state are taking gambling regulations seriously. Reports are surfacing that one of Nevada’s top gambling regulators is officially making the move into Tennessee’s sports gambling industry.

Jennifer Roberts Announces Move Into Tennessee’s Gambling Industry

Nevada is home to many of the country’s best gambling regulators. With the spread of sports betting around the country, many of these regulators have recently moved into other states. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jennifer Roberts has accepted a deal to begin working in Tennessee.

The state has officially hired Mrs. Roberts to become the director of sports gaming regulation for the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation. She’ll certainly have her work cut out. Tennessee is the only state that only allows for online sports gambling. No land-based sportsbooks will open here.

Fortunately, Roberts seems excited about her new role in Tennessee’s gambling industry. She commented to the media this week about the new move.

“It’s setting up the structure for regulation, issuing licenses and getting it launched,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it executed and watching it develop.”

This is great news for the state of Tennessee. Sports betting is still very new here. The guidance of one of Nevada’s top gambling regulators will certainly make things easier.

Sports Betting Competition Grows in the South

The southern states in the US aren’t typically thought of as the most gambling-friendly in the state. Many states in this region ban most forms of gambling. Interestingly, many of them have recently decided to embrace the sports betting industry.

Mississippi was the first southern state to officially legalize sports betting. The first sports wagers were placed here in August of 2018. As of now, only land-based sports betting is available here.

Arkansas was next. Lawmakers here approved a sports gambling bill in early 2019. On July 9th, the first sports bet was placed here at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

North Carolina has also approved sports gambling legislation. This new bill allows for college and professional sports betting. As of now, these wagers are only being allowed in two retail locations. Officials are trying to decide whether or not to allow statewide sports betting.

Tennessee’s gambling industry will grow significantly with the help of sports betting. It may be a few months before the sportsbook officially begins operating here. Hopefully, Jennifer Roberts helps the regulatory process flow a little smoother.

Stay tuned for more US sports betting news over the next few months!

Online Betting Passed by Tennessee’s House of Representatives

It seems that online sports betting will come to Tennessee as the House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation recently that will legalize this type of activity on the web. Tennessee could become one of the few states that gave two thumbs up to betting on sports online.

The Tennessean newspaper published a report stating that a body consisting of 99 seats approved House Bill 1. 58 voted in favor while 37 opposed the bill, with some of the opposers being pretty loud in their protest against it. According to them, legalizing online sports betting could pave the way to a big increase in gambling addiction.

The legislation regarding online sports betting was written by a Democratic Representative in Tennesse, Rick Staples. It will be sent to the Tennessee State Senate, and if they pass the bill, we could witness online sports betting in Tennessee very soon. The legislative piece was also approved by the Finance Committee, which consists of 33 members. Finally, the Governor of Tennesse, Bill Lee, will have to say his words in the end and put a signature so that everything can be set into motion.

According to Staples, Tennessee is in a unique position right now and it has huge potential to generate revenue from online sports betting. Namely, Staples argues that all the neighboring countries, including Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas do not allow this type of activity, which means that many people would visit Tennessee to enjoy activities such as sports betting. Furthermore, he added that sports betting operators would use cutting-edge geo-location technology which will allow aficionados from the neighboring states to enter the so-called ‘Volunteer State’ and be able to place wagers.

According to The Tennessean, if House Bill 1 is ratified, it would allow everyone who is located in the state of Tennessee to take part in legal online betting on sports. The only boundary would be that they are of minimum gambling age which is 21 ins this southern state. Punters will have an opportunity to place wagers on both professional and collegiate sports.

On the other hand, the bill doesn’t include land-based sports betting facilities. In other words, everyone who wants to place bets will have to do that exclusively at online platforms. Furthermore, the bill suggests that $50 million in tax revenues will have to be allocated to the local government, gambling addiction programs, and education.

Furthermore, there are a couple of prohibitions that will take place if this legislative piece becomes active, and it is mainly aimed towards prohibited punters. People who are registered as athletes, referees or team owners will be strictly forbidden to partake in online sports betting as it is believed they could compromise the integrity of sports and entier leagues.

House Bill 1 was introduced as a consequence of the invalidation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May last year. This act was largely responsible for the fact that sports betting was largely unavailable in the US for the past two decades. In fact, only Nevada offered sports betting services before PASPA was invalidated. However, some states were ready and welcomed this decision made by the United States Supreme Court. At the moment, sports betting services are available (or being actively discussed) in Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. Furthermore, 31 additional states are currently considering this option and its advantages and disadvantages. States such as Iowa, Washington, and Indiana are some of the states that are very likely to make the first step soon.