Action 24/7 cannot accept bets while its license is suspended indefinitely. But that isn’t stopping the embattled operator from trying to give out free ones.
The company apparently offered its customer database a chance at winning a free $50 bet Tuesday evening:
— Matthew Waters (@ByMatthewWaters) March 23, 2021
The TN sportsbook operator was suspended last week for multiple incidents of suspected credit card fraud and money laundering. The company filed suit against the Tennessee Education Lottery Monday for immediate reinstatement of its suspended license.
The TN sportsbook licensure case will be heard at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
TEL and Action 24/7 representative did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.
Action 24/7 processing withdrawals?
Both the Action 24/7 website and iOS app say the company is processing withdrawals Tuesday and Wednesday. The email sent Tuesday did not mention the platform being live for withdrawals.
Given its lawsuit, Action 24/7 hopes to be doing much more than that Wednesday. The Tennessee sportsbook is suffering “catastrophic effects” from the suspension, according to the suit:
Action’s inability to accept wagers during one [of] the biggest sporting events of the year means that its customers and potential customers are forced to use one of the other five licensed platforms in Tennessee to place wagers online and will continue to do so. Once those customers have become accustomed to wagering through other companies, they are unlikely to return to Action when its license is reinstated. The purported suspension of Action’s license thus has already had, and will continue to have, catastrophic effects on Action’s ability to continue as a business.
Action 24/7 went offline last Thursday, right after the First Four games kicked off March Madness. That was after TEL Chairwoman Susan Lanigan suspended its license immediately following 23 self-reported incidents of fraudulent activity.
TEL sports betting investigator Danny DiRienzo detailed “serious, serious criminal activity” from those accounts. He also detailed a separate issue from before the Super Bowl. That involved proxy betting by a contracted employee of Action 24/7.
Action might soon have a choice to make
Earlier this year, the TEL approved Action to take cash deposits at the locations of its payday loan sister company Advance Financial 24/7 throughout Tennessee. The TEL Sports Wagering Council expressed some hesitation at the time but ultimately decided it was not against the rules.
Two legislators want to make sure bettors are not funding their accounts with any of Advance Financial’s services. The company charges interest up to 279.5% in Tennessee for its loans.
Rep. Darren Jernigan and Sen. Richard Briggs both rolled their bills to next week to craft an amendment, the two told LSR Tuesday. The basic idea of the amended HB 824 and SB 1029 would prevent any Action 24/7 customer from taking out various loan types from Advance Financial.
Doura-Schawohl: betting with loans no safer than credit
Brianne Doura-Schawohl, VP of US Policy and Strategic Development for EPIC Risk Management, supported the legislation at its brief Senate committee hearing.
Doura-Schawohl said up to 14% of adults in the state are at risk to develop an addiction.
Since gambling is meant to be entertainment, it should only be done with disposable income, she said. That puts the suggestion of gambling with borrowed funds on par with credit betting:
“Gambling with cash that’s being lent at an extremely high interest rate with the money that is otherwise intended to meet basic needs isn’t any better or any safer. Any insinuation that gambling’s a way to pay back a loan, make money or solve financial problems is predatory.”