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Sports Betting in Tennessee Could Launch by November

Sports betting in Tennessee could be set for a launch by the beginning of November, according to the state lottery’s CEO.

The vertical has been part of state legislation since May 2019, when Governor Bill Lee allowed it to pass into law without signing it.

Four operators have applied for licenses to date, with their background checks in the process of being completed.

Sports betting in the Volunteer State will only be available online.

The long wait should be over soon

The delay in sports betting coming to Tennessee might actually be a blessing in disguise. Launching in the latter stages of this year is ideal; players will be able to bet in the midst of the 2020 NFL season, while operators will add some money to state coffers in the fallout of COVID-19.

On Wednesday – as reported by the Associated Press – Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove said the following in a board meeting.

“At this point, I’m pleased to tell you we’ll start no later than November 1st, and potentially a week or two ahead of that if we can get all of the background checks back from the folks who have them.”

Hargrove also said that the operators that have applied for licenses have had their financial details sent on to a third-party vendor. It’s hoped that these background checks will be completed by mid-September.

Much of the regulatory aspects in Tennessee sports betting have been left in the hands of the state’s lottery. Regulations for the vertical were approved in April.

Practicalities of sports betting in Tennessee

Since there are no land-based casinos in the Southeastern state, sports betting will only be permitted via online means. Operator licenses are available for a fee of $750,000 per year, with no cap on the number of sites allowed in the market.

Gross gaming revenue will be taxed at 20%, while operators are also obliged to use official league data.

On top of the above, all sportsbook payouts will be capped annually at 90%. If they do not hold the remaining 10%, they could face fees and the suspension of their licenses.

While the 10% hold is lower than the original proposal of 15%, which Eilers & Krejcik Gaming warned could cost Tennessee $11 million, it is higher than the likes of New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Indiana. In these four states, the hold obligation is between 6.1% and 8.2%.

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