Tennessee to Launch Online Sports Betting by November 1

  • No state casinos means that betting will be done exclusively via online sites and mobile apps
  • TELC’s sports gaming ops VP said it would be the US's “first open-license mobile program”
  • 18 vendor applications are up for approval at a TELC board meeting to be held in Nashville
Tennessee Titans stadium
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation has announced a deadline of November 1 for the launch of the state’s online-only sports betting program. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Earlier launch is a possibility

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) has announced a deadline of November 1 for the launch of the state’s online-only sports betting industry. If operators, suppliers, and vendors are ready before deadline day, the launch will be moved forward.

While breaking the news at a Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) meeting on Tuesday, TELC CEO Rebecca Hargrove introduced two new members of staff: former secret service agent and the TELC sports gaming investigator Danny DiRienzo, and Danielle Boyd, the TELC’s new vice president of sports gaming operations.

first open-license mobile program in the US”

Boyd, former head of government relations for William Hill, expressed her excitement in being part of the program and making a “little bit of history implementing the first open-license mobile program in the US.”

With no racetracks or casinos in Tennessee, the sports gambling program will operate exclusively via online and mobile wagering.

Final checks in progress

In yesterday’s meeting, the TELC CEO said applications for four operators had been received and “deemed complete,” with individual background checks now in process. The same verification process applies to the five supplier registration applications received.

18 vendor applications are up for approval

The CEO added that 18 vendor applications are up for approval at a TELC board meeting scheduled to be held in Nashville on Wednesday.

Hargrove also said that the TELC is working on providing additional directives and guidance for operators “relating to to geo-location, statewide self-exclusion, wagering categories, approved events for wagering […] for us to go live no later than November first.”

Operator license fees will cost $750,000 per year, according to CBS Sports.

Circuitous route

The announcement comes as welcome news for fans of online sports wagering, after a proposed September launch was ditched. The fall launch will bring the curtain down on a long and winding road towards sports wagering legislation in the southeastern US state.

The journey began when Tennessee representative Rick Staples filed sports betting Bill HB0001 in January 2019. Although the Volunteer State was one of the first to file for sports wagering legislation, neighboring Mississippi was already reaping the benefits.

In Tennessee, the task of rubber-stamping and licensing sports betting entities falls to the TELC, which also sets state rules and processes in respect to sports wagering. In April 2020, it approved mobile sports betting rules by conference call.