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Tennessee Sports Betting Advisory Council Replaces ‘Operational’ Lottery

It has been a tough year for those first charged with regulating sports betting in Tennessee. By the end of this year, it will not be their concern anymore.

Gov. Bill Lee signed SB 588 Thursday, which switches TN sports betting regulation from the Tennessee Education Lottery to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

The switch takes place Jan. 1, 2022 though the TEL said it is ready to start working with the SWAC on the transition. The council next meets at TEL offices Tuesday.

Ready to hand off Tennessee sports betting regulation

There did not appear to be any hard feelings from the TEL about giving up regulatory duties when the SWAC met last month.

“We are elated with the legislation as it passed,” TEL CEO Rebecca Hargrove said. “We believe our organization is an operational organization that acts more as an operator than a regulator. So to have a regulator regulating sports betting is a very positive outcome.”

“So we are very happy and are anxious to work with you on how to best implement what you need to implement.”

TN sports betting problems

That is not terribly surprising considering how much attention TN sports betting brought on the TEL. It was only two months ago its board of directors handed down the first US sports betting license suspension to Action 24/7.

The suspension was not handled properly, though, which helped Action 24/7 win an injunction. The TEL then attempted to restart the disciplinary proceedings against TEL the correct way, but found out it could not.

That led to the board waving its white flag and announcing Action’s license is in good standing earlier this month.

Plenty of work awaiting SWAC

The SWAC does not have much time to get up and running as a regulator, and there is a lot to do.

The council has to hire staff, and review existing rules and regulations for potential changes. TEL is also waiting to hear what its board should continue doing as a sports betting regulator, including processing operator applications.

There were five license applications pending as of the meeting earlier this month.

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