The Tennessee Lottery has suspended the sports betting license of Action 24/7 as a result of what it described as suspicious player deposit activity.
According to lottery official Dave Smith, the decision was made to protect public interest, with Action 24/7’s license set to be suspended until the minimum internal control standards are in place to prevent potential illegal activity.
The timing could not have been worse for Action 24/7 and Tennessee sports bettors, with the suspension coming just as March Madness gets fully underway. The operator also claimed to have curtailed any similar breaches by introducing additional controls.
In a statement, Smith explained: “Due to exigent circumstances, the risk to the integrity of sports wagering in Tennessee and to protect public interest, today the Sports Wagering Committee and the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Education Lottery voted to ratify and continue the temporary suspension of Tennessee Action 24/7 LLC’s sports gaming operator license.
“The license is suspended until Lottery staff receives sufficient verification that minimum internal control standards are in place to prevent potential illegal activity.”
Action 24/7 responded with a statement of its own which read: “The Board today indefinitely suspended 24/7’s sports betting operator license for suspicious player deposit activity. This suspicious activity was detected quickly by Action staff and Action swiftly suspended the involved player accounts.
“Action instituted additional controls to curb the activity, and no further such activity has occurred since. Yet, the Board relied upon unfounded fears of future speculative recurrences of the activity, and took draconian action just as the NCAA Tournament is beginning.
“Obviously, we are disappointed in the Board’s decision, but we will continue to work with TEL staff and seek all other avenues of relief to have the suspension lifted quickly so that the people of Tennessee may continue to enjoy wagering on the Action 24/7 network.”
Analysis: The Tennessee Lottery’s decision to indefinitely suspend Action 24/7’s license might well be viewed as draconian – mistakes do happen. But it will send out a clear message that the integrity of sports betting still remains a priority for policy makers. And while legalization of sports wagering continues to spread across the US, it is beholden on the industry to ensure that, wherever possible, its critics aren’t handed any opportunity to cry foul. Fair play to Action 24/7, however, for responding so quickly to the issue and introducing stouter controls. Let’s hope that the Tennessee Lottery is as quick to reciprocate by resuming the license as soon as Action 24/7’s systems are deemed sufficiently secure.