Two More Tennessee Sportsbooks Could Be Approved Next Week

Posted on August 25, 2021
Posted By on August 25, 2021

It sounds like a pair of Tennessee sportsbooks will have a chance to launch in time for the start of the football season.

The Tennessee Education Lottery‘s sports wagering committee will meet next Tuesday to consider applications for two operators and one supplier. The regulator gave notice to three operators earlier this month that their application reviews were complete.

The TEL is still in charge of approving operators as the Sports Wagering Advisory Council continues its transition to regulator of online sports betting in Tennessee.

Aside from the companies on next week’s agenda, the TEL is working on applications for four sports betting operators and five suppliers.

Barstool likely to join TN sportsbooks

One of those operators should be Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook. Penn expected five states to go live before the start of the NFL season:

  • Arizona: Market goes live Sept. 9 for the first NFL game of the season.
  • Colorado: Barstool launched in early August.
  • New Jersey: Barstool officially launched this week after a soft launch last week.
  • Virginia: Barstool launched in mid-August.
  • And Tennessee.

TN sportsbooks see dip in July

Tennessee’s seven online sportsbooks were not immune to the slow July sports schedule.

Handle fell 17.2% from June to $144.5 million in July, according to the state report. That’s the lowest point since the $131.4 million bet last November when the market went live.

Taxable sports betting revenue was $13.4 million, which led to $2.8 million in taxes.

Handle is down 23.3% compared to June across the 13 US sports betting jurisdictions that have reported July figures so far. Revenue is down even more at 25.6%.

SWAC updates on executive director search

The work to take over as TN’s sports betting regulator continues for the SWAC, which updated a few of its initiatives at Tuesday’s meeting.

The search for an executive director is ongoing. There were close to 50 applications, councilmember Mike Keeney said.

The three-person search team cut that list down to nine applications. Final interviews for the executive director will happen during a public meeting.

Mandatory hold rule could be tweaked, but will operators care?

Councilmember Tom Lee also updated the full council on the rulemaking committee’s work as the SWAC needs to promulgate rules before it can take over as regulator. There will be an informal public comment opportunity at the next meeting Oct. 5, which could be the first time the proposed rules are released.

The biggest proposed change involves the perplexing mandatory 10% hold, but it does not make it any more daunting for operators. Lee proposed checking operators once a quarter instead of annually for compliance to the mandatory hold.

That might not be enough to make operators care. The maximum fine is $25,000, meaning operators could be fined up to $100,000 annually for not adhering to the hold. The additional $75,000 will likely be seen as the cost of doing business for most operators in the market.

The market’s hold since January is 8.8%.

Photo by Sean Rayford / The Associated Press
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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