Tennessee sports betting fans! No need to wait any longer. The Volunteer State’s legal sports betting industry has kicked off with Tennessee Action 24/7, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM all beginning operations on Sunday 1 November.
As reported last month, the four online operators were all okayed as operators after a lengthy and rigid licensing and regulation process. Sports Betting fans can expect BetAmerica, William Hill and Wynn Online Sportsbook to be added soon to the Tennessee sportsbook line-up, with Barstool Sportsbook also announcing that they intend to launch in every legal sports betting state (including the Volunteer State) before the end of 2021.
On the November 1 launch date, many sports bettors had already had their accounts ‘pre-approved’ as Tennessee sports betting has taken a unique approach to launch without land-based sportsbooks or casinos present in the state in Tennessee.
Pre-registered sports bettors could simply log-on and place wagers with their chosen sportsbooks without any waiting or additional sign-up procedure required.
Tennessee Sets A Revolutionary Model for Other States to Follow
With its unique approach, has become Tennessee the first state to launch a ground breaking online-only sports betting industry, in addition to the being the first jurisdiction without any requirement for linking sportsbooks with pre-existing land-based gaming facilities. In fact, the inventive approach was borne out of necessity as the Volunteer State had no land-based casino industry to fall back on for support.
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), the regulator of the state’s legal online sportsbooks, can in theory grant an unlimited number of sportsbook licenses (unlike New Jersey for example that is limited to three internet sports betting licenses per land-based betting facility), including to local sports wagering companies such as the Nashville-based Tennessee Action.
Ahead of the Sunday November 1 launch, TEL President and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Paul Hargrove announced in a prepared statement;
“This Sunday will represent the culmination of an enormous amount of work and due diligence to bring online-only sports wagering to Tennessee, the only state in the nation to do so,” she said.
“As the regulator, today also represents the beginning of a new stage as we establish and support a responsible and competitive program here,” Hargrove said. “We will continue to work with all licensees, registrants and applicants to protect the consumer, promote fairness in sports and regulate this new Tennessee industry that provides critical funds to the state and local governments.”
Tennessee was quick to act
The November 1 launch came only 18 months after the passage of the Tennessee Sports Betting legislation into state law, which compared to many states was much faster than others.
Unexpected at first as one of the nation’s most politically conservative states, Tennessee nevertheless passed its ground breaking online-only sports betting bill with bipartisan support in March 2019. It is expected as the nascent sports betting industry matures that a billion dollars in annual betting handle and more than $100 million in annual revenues could eventually result according to TEL officials.
The ensuing sports betting rule-making and regulatory review process – in a state without any traditional retail gaming entities – was expected to be longer than any other state with legal sports wagering betting in place. However, by choosing a simple model, TEL officials were able to adapt and approve the state’s first four sportsbooks only a mere 3 weeks before they were due to go live.
However, the Tennessee Sports Betting launch went ahead without hitches, nor any major issues.
Tennessee industry stakeholders can expect representatives from other potential sports betting states across the country to come knocking on their doors for advice on how it is done.