• Sports betting in the state of Tennessee has been legalized for months but the launch has stalled.
  • Tennessee wants to involve the public in the final say of sports betting, which received an extension that will further delay sports betting.
  • With no set rules and regulations being put into place, the state may not launch sports betting until late 2020.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Uncertainty for the rules and regulations on the new sports betting laws in Tennessee have caused further delays for a future launch date.

The state has had original drafts for what their sports betting laws would entail since November. However, they were going to allow the public to make comments and suggestions for a 30-day period on what they believe should be changed or added before any final decisions were made.

Originally, December 23 was going to be the last day that discussions would be open to the residents of the state. Now that date has been extended to January 6, causing the domino effect of delays that will be occurring regarding the passage of TN HB0001.

The Issues Causing Delays

Not only is an extension for public commenting delaying the process of getting a handle on some concrete rules, but the original drafts are causing a swirl of confusion.

One problem lies in who would be eligible for licensure to run a sportsbook. Any person affiliated with a professional sports team is automatically disqualified from applying for a Tennessee sports betting license. For collegiate level sports, the law states that coaches and players and their governing bodies be ineligible. That would mean that other employees within college sports would have access to apply to run a sportsbook.

For an equal playing field, the idea of banning anyone employed in the field of college athletics seems necessary as they would have inside information on games that others with sportsbooks would not.

Another problem the law faces is again a licensing issue. Convicted felons are not allowed to apply for a sports betting license. But, if the person or persons had convictions for fraud or tax crimes on their record, they would be eligible.

For a business dealing with money by its very nature, this is a rule that Tennessee is looking to change. Any person that has already been known to be shady when it comes to finances to the point of criminal conviction should not be allowed to handle the money of others wanting to wager on sporting events.

The last rule for licensure as set by the Tennessee Lottery would require that applicants be members of the “Global Lottery Monitoring System” (GLMS). If licensees were members of this association, the state thinks it would help in the overall integrity of sports betting to remain intact.

More Money More Problems

Anyone that wins big in Tennessee would not receive a payout of more than 85% of their winnings. This allows the house to claim 15% of all earnings from sports bettors. That is much more than the average sportsbook and could lead gamblers elsewhere when it comes time to place their bets. Fear of pushing sports bettors back into the world of illegal bookies because of this stipulation in the current drafts is something that is being spoken about.

For any parlay wagers, a push is automatically considered a loss and that is not your typical parlay rule. Gamblers interested in parlay wagers may be deterred from participating if this rule becomes law.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is another consideration. Any person that had ties to offshore sportsbooks is disqualified from applying for a license. Because of the murky waters that DFS has seen in the past, this rule, if it continues in the documents when the law is finalized would most likely ban business with DFS operators.

Advertisements for sportsbooks are also covered in the law. There will be no ads allowed to run on channels for children and the ads that are allowed cannot be geared in any way to those under the age of 21. They want ads to be tasteful but there is some thought that by having a say over how companies can advertise their businesses, it is infringing on their rights to freedom of speech.

A section for advertisement states: “Advertisements shall not be created that may be perceived as denigrating the work ethic.”

Lastly, to keep with the theme of integrity in sports, they want all sports betting businesses to report any information that looks off to the authorities. Codes of conduct will be enforced and reports of any breach in that conduct are required by the operators so that investigations can take place.

With all of these issues holding up, the actual written law and the extension of the public discussion period, it would appear that the Volunteer State is a ways off from finalizing all rules and regulations for legalized sports betting.  Residents will have to wait a while to place a legal sports wager in the state.

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