Tennessee Rep. Darren Jernigan

  • A Tennessee sportsbook also owns a loan agency that will give loans to players to gamble on sporting events.
  • Two bills have been filed with the Tennessee General Assembly to ban financial companies to offer loan services for the purposes of sports wagering.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A sportsbook in Tennessee also owns a loan agency and a new bill has been filed to stop these two types of businesses from working together.

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), which regulates the sports betting market in the state and its Sports Wagering Committee allowed for deposits to be made to Action 24/7 Sportsbook through loans that were given out by Advance Financial 24/7, companies under the same ownership.

The idea of one company funding the activities of a second business, ultimately giving them double the power over their customers did not sit well with Representative Darren Jernigan who on Tuesday filed House Bill 824 to ban gamblers from taking loans out with companies that are connected to one another.

A bill in the Senate, TN SB 1029 was filed Wednesday by Senator Richard Briggs requesting the same changes as that of TN HB 824.

What’s Being Done & What These Bills Are Requesting

Advance Financial 24/7 issues loans to people in Tennessee. These loans can then be used as a form of a deposit to their Action 24/7 Sportsbook. Any winnings obtained by sports bettors will then be put toward repayment of any outstanding loans.

For those that have loans from the company for other purposes, the idea that they can pay back the business through gambling winnings pushes them toward making bets with their sportsbook in the hopes of trying to pay back their loan.

However, this can put them into even bigger debt should their wagers not payout. In the eyes of lawmakers like Jernigan, the racket that’s taking place by the 24/7 companies is basically legalized loansharking.

Mobile sports betting is the only industry that Tennessee allows, giving statewide access to gamblers and the ability to not only get loans with Advance Financial 24/7 but to wager with their platform to pay off their debts.

While the TEL originally didn’t like the idea of approving the company to become a financial vendor for the sportsbook, they decided to license them as there were no rules within Tennessee sports wagering laws that said it was illegal.

Approving either one of these bills would make that a rule.

Advance Financial says they do not allow for loan repayment through their sports betting platform; however, Jernigan says he has testimony to the contrary from someone willing to go before a judge about it. He fears others will come forward with stories of getting themselves into bigger financial holes because of what’s been allowed to happen.

Advance Financial has over 100 different locations in Tennessee and the sports wagering application being a mobile one means anyone in the state can access it, allowing for tons of people to get in on this funding method with the adjoining businesses.

Each bill requests that no sports betting operator be eligible to offer financial services to their players.

Companies that can cash checks, loan money, take collateral in the form of material possessions, or offer payment programs cannot be accepted by sportsbooks as an official supplier for financial matters. And any sports wagering applications that have investments or ties to such businesses cannot use these services as is what’s currently happening.

What’s Next?

Legal sports betting in Tennessee has been a lucrative business. The Tennessee General Assembly has not scheduled either of these bills time on the floor yet.

They adjourn for 2021 on May 6. Due to the nature of the content of these two proposals, they will likely get ample time on the floor for discussion with a favorable outcome.

However, only time will tell for how the Tennessee General Assembly will decide to proceed on the issue.

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