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Sports betting launches in Tennessee


Sports betting in Tennessee launched yesterday (1 November), with major operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM as well as the local Action247 launching their sports betting products.

The Lottery, which acts as the regulator for the market, confirmed on Friday that sports betting operators may take bets from players aged 21 and over and located in the state from Sunday as planned.

“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,” TEL President and chief executive Rebecca Paul Hargrove said. “As the regulator, today also represents the beginning of a new stage as we establish and support a responsible and competitive program here. 

“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.”

DraftKings and FanDuel both announced on the same day that they would both launch their online sportsbooks in the state on 1 November, allowing players to bet on that day’s slate of NFL games.

“As DraftKings Sportsbook continues to expand across America, we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to launch our No. 1 Rated Sportsbook product in Tennessee,” Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America said.

“Judging by the rabid fanbases following the local pro teams and the powerhouse college sports teams, we’re certain that Tennesseans will be among of the most engaged skin-in-the-game sports fans we’ve seen. We can’t wait to serve Tennessee with the unrivaled DraftKings experience.”

FanDuel announced that former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George would place a ceremonial first bet on its platform.

“We know how passionate sports fans in the state of Tennessee are and we are no different, but our true passion is all about our customers,” Mike Raffensperger, chief marketing officer of FanDuel Group, said. 

“We are excited to offer a sports betting app experience that brings fans closer to the game with a number of unique sports betting opportunities, promotions and offers right in the palm of their hands.”   

BetMGM, operated by GVC Holdings-MGM Resorts joint venture Roar Digital also announced its launch, with chief executive Adam Greenblatt noting the brand’s connection with the land-based casino giant as a potential selling point.

“We’ve been eagerly working with regulators in Tennessee to make this momentous launch a possibility and look forward to introducing the state’s passionate fan bases to the excitement of betting on sports with BetMGM,” Greenblatt said.

“Our relationship with MGM Resorts enables BetMGM users in the Volunteer State to earn rewards, from hotel suites to dinners at award-winning restaurants, all while engaging in the excitement of our cutting-edge sports betting experience.”

Competing with these three major brands is Tennessee-based Action247, which announced on Twitter that it was launching at 8am Sunday after receiving its license in October, two weeks after the other three operators received theirs.

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Action247 are the only operators to receive licenses so far. The state also offers supply licenses and vendor licenses, the latter typically going to affiliates and payment providers. 

Tennessee is the first US state to allow mobile and online wagering without a land-based tethering requirement, under a bill that passed into law without the governor’s signature. However, its sports betting rules contain some controversial elements, including a 90% payout rate cap, which is lower than the average payout rates in most other states.