Sports betting in Tennessee could be launched in time to accommodate a portion of the forthcoming NFL season, with the state’s Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove scheduling November 1 as the latest go-live date.
The announcement was made during this week’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council meeting, with Hargrove explaining that while November 1 had been earmarked for the official launch, sports betting could begin sooner if “everybody is ready”.
Currently, license applications are pending from four operators and 20 vendors and suppliers, none of which have been named by the committee. Media sources, however, have suggested that those four operators comprise BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and Tennessee Action 24/7.
Tennessee is shaping up to be an interesting prospect for the US sports betting sector. With no terrestrial casinos within state lines, sports wagering will have to be a mobile-only affair. Added to that, state regulators have imposed a minimum hold of 10% on operators, a decision that some observers suggest will lead to less competitive odds for bettors and more in the way of parlay type offerings.
Failure to meet that minimum hold will trigger a fee and possibly a suspension of the operating license. While the rule appears harsh, it is an improvement on the initial recommendation of a 15% minimum hold.
As for entry to the market, operators will need to pay $750,000 annually for a license. Once operative they will be subject to a tax rate of 20% and will be mandated to use official league data. There is, however, no limit on the number of operators who may apply for a license.
An audio recording of the Sports Wagering Advisory Council meeting, held remotely on Tuesday this week, can be accessed here.