Tennessee State Capitol

  • Tennessee has two bills, House Bill 1267 and Senate Bill 588, that want to change who regulates the sports betting market in the state.
  • Presently, the Tennessee Education Lottery is the regulator of the sports gaming industry, but the companion bills would like to see the Sports Wagering Advisory Council regulate sportsbooks.
  • Tennessee is a purely mobile sports wagering state with seven regulated sportsbooks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee General Assembly will end their session on Friday with a pair of companion bills seeking passage to change the regulator of its sports betting industry. House Bill 1267 finally saw movement after being passed around various House Calendars since its introduction in February.

On Monday, the House Government Operations Committee passed the bill to move forward to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.

On Tuesday, the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee did not discuss the proposal. Senate Bill 588, the companion bill to House Bill 1267, passed in the Senate on April 22 and is now awaiting House approvals.

The purpose of each of these bills is to change the regulator of the Tennessee sports betting industry from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC). This would be a simple switch to how things are currently being run in Tennessee.

Why Are Lawmakers Requesting The Change?

SWAC is a nine-member committee that came to be when regulated sports gaming opened in Tennessee. Lawmakers believe the committee is better suited to handle overseeing the sports wagering market because it’s their sole purpose of being. The TEL currently makes all executive decisions for the sports betting industry while SWAC weighs in on all meetings for any changes to the market.

It’s been said that the council, comprised of law enforcement, attorneys, and even an executive with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies should make all final decisions while the TEL adds their input; a switch of sorts.

The TEL is well versed in all things lottery but SWAC knows more when it comes to the subject of sports betting, so why shouldn’t they regulate the Tennessee market? The TEL would consult and SWAC would act. The two proposals only want to see a role reversal of regulators.

What Happens Next?

Tennessee is a strictly mobile sportsbook industry with seven active sports wagering platforms. The TEL has come into a few issues regarding the market recently that could have possibly been avoided should some other entity have been at the helm. This is one of the main reasons for the push of each of these bills so late in the session.

There are three days left of hearings before the Tennessee General Assembly adjourns for 2021. Senate Bill 588 only needs the House’s approval after passing in the Senate, making it the most favorable to pass quickly. House Bill 1267 still needs to pass in the House and the Senate within three days’ time. Neither bill has been formally placed on any calendar to be heard, so unless swift actions are taken, the TEL may be regulating the Tennessee sports betting industry for another year.

SWAC will be holding its next meeting on Tuesday, the eleventh.

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