Tennessee Capitol.

  • Sports betting bills are trying to get their time with the Tennessee General Assembly to amend the current laws of the state.
  • The proposals have to do with who will be in charge of the sports wagering industry of Tennessee moving forward and acceptable methods of funding a sportsbook account.
  • The Tennessee General Assembly adjourns for 2021 on April 30.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sports betting bills that are presently in the Tennessee General Assembly are slow to make any real progress in amending the current laws for the industry of the state. There is a set of companion bills to change the way that sportsbook accounts can be funded in Tennessee, while another bill wants to change who will be in charge of the market of the Volunteer State.

Senate Bill 1029 and House Bill 824 want to stop sportsbooks from accepting payment through loan companies affiliated with that sportsbook. This alludes to Tennessee Action 24/7 taking money from sports bettors with loans the gamblers received through their loan agency Advance Financial.

Not only could players use loans to bet on sports, but they could also use their winnings to pay back these loans.

The two proposals want to rid the law from allowing this, as it creates a vicious cycle where Tennesseans are at risk of finding themselves in major debt, especially when loan companies can tack on interest rates as high as 279.5% in the state.

With Tennessee Action 24/7 being in the news for being stripped of their license for a week because of suspicion of fraudulent activities, the hearings on these bills were stalled. Now TN HB 824 has been tabled since Tuesday, while TN SB 1029 has a hearing set in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on April 13.

The Other Bill Losing Traction In Tennessee

House Bill 1267 is a proposal to change who will be in charge of the sports betting industry in Tennessee. At the moment, the laws for the market have the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. (TELC) heading up all rules and regulations for sports wagering in the state.

TN HB 1267 would like to change the TELC’s Board as being the head of the business to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council taking on the role. The two already work together on anything regarding the regulated sports wagering market for Tennessee. However, the TELC holds the main title. This measure could be a byproduct of the way that the TELC Board handled the Tennessee Action 24/7 situation where they suspended the sportsbook’s license to then have a judge overturn their decision.

This proposal would flip it so that the Sports Wagering Advisory Council makes all final decisions and the TELC Board lends a hand to the discussions. But this may be slow to move because the Council is an extension of the Tennessee Education Lottery, making the topic less pressing for action because they’d still be very similar to what the laws already have in place for Tennessee sports betting.

What’s Next?

House Bill 1267 has not been heard since February but is now on the calendar to be discussed in the House State Government Committee on April 13. The Sports Wagering Advisory Council was created when the purely mobile sportsbook market of Tennessee became law. The Council is made up of nine members split evenly between attorneys, businessmen, and representatives in law enforcement.

Within the measure that will be seen on the floor next week the document states:

“There is created a sports wagering advisory Council to enforce this part and supervise compliance with laws relating to the regulation and control of wagering on sporting events in this state. The Board and its employees and staff shall assist the Council with respect to its duties under this subsection at the discretion of the Council.”

So, the TELC Board and Council would still work together to regulate the sports betting in Tennessee, only with their current roles reversed should this bill pass. The Tennessee General Assembly closes their 2021 session on April 30, giving lawmakers the rest of the month to move on any one of these three bills for amending the sports betting laws of the state.

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