- The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) may push back the September 1 date for legal sportsbook launches depending on what happens at the Sports Advisory Council meeting in August.
- There have been a few anonymous operators that have applied to open their mobile sportsbooks in the state but due to the 90-day window required by the TEL, September 1 may not be feasible.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Over a year after Tennessee sports betting was signed into law, the industry has yet to launch after enduring delay after delay with a forecast of further delays ahead.
The latest of many “launch dates” that have been set was to be September 1. This would allow for sportsbooks to begin operating as the NFL kicks off, also known as the busiest time of year for any bookie worldwide. However, the hopes of a September 1 public rollout are all but squashed as no operators have been approved for licensure to date.
Delay On Delay On Delay
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) is the regulatory body overseeing the entire sports betting market for the Volunteer State. They have approved four vendors thus far but no actual operators.
The thing about sportsbook operators receiving a license in Tennessee is that the process gives TEL 90 days from the date the application is submitted to be approved. Any applicants applying now could receive their license by late October which is well over the September 1 date for a launch.
It has taken TEL over eight months of discussions to get their rules and regulations in order for the landscape of their mobile-only sports betting industry. The application fee that was set for any potential sportsbook operator is $750,000 to be paid upon submission of their paperwork. There is a 90% cap on payouts that the TEL decided to implement within their rules.
This is a win for them but may make odds a bit wonky when compared to other sportsbooks around the nation by sports bettors. There is also a 20% tax on all profits made by the operator to be paid to the state.
These rules make Tennessee a less attractive market for sportsbooks to want to enter, which may be another cause in the delay of applicants.
When Will Sports Bettors In TN See Sports Betting?
Four licensed vendors are nice but a vendor cannot open up a sportsbook, instead, they partner with a sportsbook operator to help the business with their services.
In June, TEL did say that three big named sports wagering companies were beginning to fill out their applications when the Sports Wagering Advisory Council met to discuss the market. If these applications were submitted in full then a September launch is still possible.
September 1 may be out of the question but Tennessee could possibly see legal sportsbooks launch by September or October depending on when operators put in their applications. However, there is still hope that an NFL launch or close enough to the beginning of the season could happen for the Volunteer State.
Vendors were licensed at a TEL Sports Advisory Council meeting and the next one will be held on August 18.
The first game for the Tennessee Titans is September 14 against the Denver Broncos. Depending on how the meeting goes in August, sports bettors in Tennessee may be able to gamble on the Titans using a legal sportsbook within their own state for the first time in history.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.