The Tennessee Education Lottery has cleared Action 24/7, a month after it became the first US sportsbook ever to be banned by a regulatory authority.
On Thursday, the lottery said its suspension of Action 24/7’s sports betting license is “null and void”, according to the Nashville Post. It came a day after Action 24/7 CEO Tina Hodges received a letter on Wednesday from the lottery’s legal official Alonda McCutcheon saying the litigation matter is over.
The “temporary suspension of Action 24/7’s sports gaming license and the disciplinary action undertaken by any of the Board, the Sports Wagering Committee or the Lottery staff related to the allegations presented by the TEL Staff to the Board at its March 19, 2021 meeting are null and void,” the letter reads.
Action 24/7 won a temporary injunction against its suspension of Tennessee sportsbook license after the judge found the TEL pursued the matter without following proper procedures.
Why Action 24/7’s License Was Suspended?
The US sports betting saw the first-ever license suspension after the TEL froze Action 24/7’s license on March 18, the very day March Madness kicked off. The Lottery Board Chair Susan Lanigan did so following reports of money laundering and alleged credit card fraud.
The local sportsbook operator self-reported 23 instances of debit card fraud. But Lanigan suspected the intention of the operator, and her suspension order was upheld by the full board vote the following day.
Action 24/7’s Legal Remedy Against the Ban
Action 24/7 rushed to immediate legal remedy which was granted on two reasons: the court found that the sportsbook would suffer “immediate and irreparable harm” and the TEL did not follow the proper procedure.
In the suit filed against the TEL, Action 24/7 had maintained that Lanigan acted unlawfully as her act (on March 18) was arbitrary and excluded the consultation to the full Lottery board or its Sports Wagering Committee.
The Tennessee-based sportsbook, which is run by executives who also run Advance Financial, argued that its business suffered considerable harm from the suspension of the licenses just as the NCAA Tournament was kicking off. The company said the ban amid the nation’s biggest sporting event of the year could ruin it financially.
Action 24/7 is Pleased with the Outcome
Action 24/7 President Tina Hodges told sports news media on Wednesday that she heard about the resolution of the issue during TEL’s meeting but it was confusing for her. However, Thursday brought clarity both in TEL’s statement over the matter and Hodges’ statement that she was pleased with the outcome.
“We are pleased that this matter is coming to a close,” Hodges said as she praised Action 24/7’s loyal players and friends across the state for their “unwavering support”.
“Tennessee is our home. We are proud to be the only locally owned and operated licensed sportsbook,” Hodges said.
The sportsbook’s president said Action 24/7 would remain committed to working with the regulatory authority to ensure compliance and integrity for the Tennessee sports betting community.
The Action 24/7’s sports gaming license clearance comes amid Lanigan’s early retirement who was to stay as Lottery Board Chair until June 2024. The outgoing chair nominated Will Carver as her successor who, after receiving approval along with John Crosslin as vice-chair, will take the charge.
However, the change in TEL Board does not affect the upcoming changes in Tennessee sports betting in the coming days. Gov. Bill Lee is likely to sign SB 588 into law, which will make the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee the sports betting regulatory authority instead of the TEL.