Editor’s note: this story amends an earlier version to reflect the ongoing regulatory process.
The Volunteer State is in the middle of a big transition, but new Tennessee sportsbooks will likely continue to launch throughout the process.
Three online TN sports betting operators will be notified this week that their application review is complete. That’s according to Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove, who updated the Sports Wagering Advisory Council on current regulatory operations. The TEL Board now has 90 days to approve those applications.
The SWAC is in the process of taking over the role of regulating sports betting in Tennessee from the TEL, which Hargrove and company sounded happy to relinquish once it became official earlier this year.
Hargrove did not detail when those approvals might come, nor did she specify which operators were up for approval. The operators would likely want to be ready for the start of NFL betting season. The next board meeting is Aug. 18 with the next scheduled for Nov. 16.
There are two other operator applications, seven supplier applications and more than 30 vendor applications still pending, she added.
Tennessee sportsbooks see growth in June
Hargrove did bring some preliminary sports betting revenue results from June, which showed growth over May.
Sportsbooks took $174 million in bets with $16 million in sports betting revenue and $3 million in taxes.
That brings total handle since launch to around $1.4 billion, which is mostly lead by basketball bets:
- Basketball: 38%
- Parlay: 20%
- Other: 18%
- Football: 17%
- Baseball: 7%
Football’s handle share is a bit lower because Tennessee sportsbooks did not go live until Nov. 1 of last year.
Executive director search continues
The SWAC takes over sports betting regulations Jan. 1, which means it does not have much time to waste.
One of the most important tasks is hiring an executive director to steer the ship. There were 19 applicants for the position with multiple ranges and cross-sections of experience, Mike Kenney said.
The plan is to have an executive director hired by early September, Chairman Billy Orgel said.
SWAC needs to complete rules too
Another task is to focus on what rules might need to change before those proposals are sent to the legislature.
Those rules include what applicants might have to contribute toward background checks and other investigations, as well as how the 10% minimum hold is calculated for operators.
According to Tom Lee, the plan is to submit both emergency rules and permanent rules by November. That will give the Attorney General’s office the time it needs to promulgate those emergency rules by December, Lee said.