Browse articles by topic

Tennessee Lottery approves first sportsbook licensees


The Tennessee Education Lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee has conditionally approved sports betting licenses for a trio of high-profile operators, as the state moves closer to the November 1 launch date for the vertical. 

At a meeting yesterday (23 September), the committee provisionally approved applications from Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. 

They may secure full certification at future committee meetings, scheduled for October 5 and 16, at which it aims to review additional information required to grant full approval to the trio, and consider more applications.

The committee also approved its first supplier application at yesterday’s meeting, and 26 additional vendor applications, though these are not yet listed on the Tennessee Education Lottery website. 

To date 22 vendors, primarily payment service providers and affiliate or marketing businesses, have been licensed in the state.

“The staff at the Tennessee Lottery performed a tremendous amount of work and due diligence to prepare us for these decisions today,” board chair Susan Lanigan said. 

“We appreciate their efforts as we work to establish and support a responsible and competitive sports wagering program in Tennessee.”

The state looks set to be the first to allow mobile and online wagering without a land-based tethering requirement, after SB0016 was allowed to pass into law by the state’s Governor Bill Lee without his signature in May last year.

Under that bill, operators will be required to pay a license fee of $750,000, and taxed at 20% of gross revenue. 

Sports betting rules were then approved by the lottery in April this year, with a number of controversial elements amended. Having initially looked to impose a payout rate of 85% of stakes, this was reduced to 90%, though this still sets a 10% hold percentage, higher than average rates in states such as New Jersey. 

The lottery then began to accept license applications later that month, acting as the regulator for the vertical. 

“We will continue to work with all parties involved 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 Education Lottery president and chief executive Rebecca Hargrove commented.