Did Sports Betting Regulator Screw Up Tax Data For TN Sportsbooks?

Written By Matthew Waters on February 15, 2022
TN sportsbooks

The Tennessee Education Lottery made some mistakes in its stint as the TN sportsbooks regulator but this would be a big one.

According to information from Executive Director Mary Beth Thomas at Thursday’s meeting, the tax data received from the TEL and from the four original operators at launch does not match. That is a major issue considering Tennessee has a 10% hold requirement that was not met last year. There was just a 7.3% hold on adjusted gross income on the $2.7 billion bet in 2021.

Before the Sports Wagering Advisory Council took over, the only option was a $25,000 fine and a formal violation against the operator. Sportsbooks now have the opportunity to pay a “true-up” payment. That is defined as the difference between taxes paid and what would have been paid had the operator held the minimum 10% on adjusted gross income.

“We have quite a bit of work to do to make sure we have the numbers right,” Thomas said. “We want to – we’ve got to get this right as far as what is actually owed.”

Fubo now in the TN mix

Tennessee’s new regulator has been busy over its first full month, including the approval of Fubo to join legal TN sportsbooks.

Fubo and Bally Bet sent their applications to TEL in May, but only Fubo’s application was addressed at the meeting.

A Fubo spokesperson did not say when the sportsbook is expected to launch sports betting in Tennessee when contacted by LSR. It would launch as the 10th sportsbook in the state.

Still more hopeful TN sportsbooks waiting

Along with Bally Bet, there are at least four other applications waiting for action. All but one of those five initially applied with the TEL:

  • GameWise, a joint venture between Delaware North and GAMING1
  • SuperBook
  • ZenSports
  • The unspecified operator that sent its application to the SWAC last month.

Part of the delay comes from an issue related to insurance coverage, Thomas said.

Original TN sportsbooks in good standing

The SWAC also cleaned up another issue from the TEL by renewing the original four operator licenses:

All four were due for a license renewal before November 1 but those approvals could only be given on a conditional basis. There was too much information missing at the end of October, the TEL’s General Counsel Alonda McCutcheon said.

All of those unresolved issues are now resolved, meaning all four operators should be considered fully renewed, Thomas said.

Eight vendors, including platform providers Kambi and Amelco, are also now considered fully renewed, she added.

Barstool, DraftKings call for change to hotline requirements

Representatives from both Barstool Sportsbook‘s parent company Penn National and DraftKings spoke at Thursday’s meeting to advocate for the use of 1-800-GAMBLER.

Current rules require the Tennessee REDLINE number be given on all advertisements. Using just one national number for national advertising would be easier and less confusing for the consumers, the representatives argued.

In the end, the SWAC kicked the issue back to Thomas and her team to find a solution in the coming months.

Matthew Waters Avatar
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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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