Tennessee Sports Fans

  • The Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) in Tennessee has hired Mary Beth Thomas as the executive director.
  • Thomas has addressed the 10% hold rate controversy, speaking in favor of the council’s position on the hold.
  • The SWAC will take over Tennessee sports betting from the Tennessee Education Lottery in January 2022.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) has announced Mary Beth Thomas has been hired as the executive director.

The Tennessee sports betting market will be overseen by SWAC starting on January 1, 2022, as the Tennessee Education Lottery will be transferring their regulatory power.

The mandatory hold rate controversy for the industry appears to continue as Thomas has already claimed to support the council’s stance on the matter. There will be changes to the legal sports betting market of Tennessee coming in the future.

New Face Of SWAC

Thomas is a lawyer who worked as general counsel for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, giving the new executive director experience in the Tennessee sports gambling market. This experience is what led Thomas to be hired.

Lawmakers wanted to quickly determine the new executive director position before the transfer and they wanted to waste no time in doing so.

With this position, Thomas will be the deciding factor in the state of the mandatory hold rule issue that has been sparking among sports gaming operations in the state.

Thomas has already stated to be in favor of the SWAC’s decision to have quarterly checks instead of annual ones like the current system mandates. However, sportsbooks want the mandatory rate removed entirely.

The SWAC has held a comment period where the likes of BetMGM, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook have voiced their concerns about the hold rate.

How Thomas Will Affect The Hold Rule

Since Thomas is the executive director, there is little sympathy in the SWAC that would lean in favor of sportsbooks, despite their arguments against the hold rule.

Sportsbooks will continue to pay the 10% and will likely see the quarterly checks be implemented as well.

“Penn’s biggest concern with the currently mandated 10% annual hold and proposed quarterly review is that this mandate forces operators to make undesirable business decisions leading to consumer unfairness,” said Josh Pearl, Penn Interactive Director of Sportsbook Operations. “The best chance an operator has to meet the 10% hold mandate is to increase the vigorish, also known as the vig, or decrease the payout on parlays and teasers and other wagers offered.”

Sportsbooks have until Tuesday, October 26, before the written comment period is complete and decisions can be made on the issue.

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