Sports Betting in Tennessee May Not Launch Until 2021

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It appears that the countdown of the sports bettors in Tennessee may stretch longer than expected, as sports betting in the state might not launch until 2021.

It has been over a year ago since Tennessee’s sports betting bill was approved. It happened when Governor Bill Lee passed it as the law without even signing it. At that time, the launch date was September 1st, 2020, that seems an unlikely possibility now. Obviously, there are some visible factors like the COVID-19, including many internal holdups that might push the date to the next calendar year.

What’s Causing the Delay?

Several factors have delayed the timely launch of sports betting in Tennessee. It has stretched from its proposed date of September 1st to the start of the following year, leading to the confusion of many sports betting fans. They’re asking the reason for the unnecessary holdup.

Probably one of the leading reasons responsible for the delay is the fact that Tennessee hasn’t approved of any sports betting operators until late-July. Understandably, there won’t be any sports betting in Tennessee in the absence of any operators to take the wagers.

According to the official procedure, an operator may apply for a license, which is then decided by the board of directors of the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL). They can either approve or reject that application within 90-days to decide the matter.

Until recently, not a single operator listed on the TEL site had been approved. Also, there has also been a lack of access to information as the information regarding the applicants has not been revealed. This lack of transparency has also created uncertainty among industry leaders.

During a meeting of the Sports Wagering Advisory Council in June, some vague information was shared. It was mentioned that there were, at that time, “three experienced operators” who had come forward to begin the whole application process.

Regarding the names of the operators, TEL has been tight-lipped. Still, the market rumors suggest names like DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, FanDuel, or BetRivers.

Bit Late for the Return of Sports

So, anyone will find out following some basic calculations that sports betting will go live in Tennessee bit late than expected. For, if an operator applies today, it will take not less than three months before any decision is made. So, at the earliest, it will not happen until late October plus the timeframe the selected operator would require to set up shop and establish their platform.

Obviously, the drag will jump over the shortened MLB season, the start of the football season. It will also take people well past the end of both the NBA and NHL seasons.

Though there’s no update on approved operators, the TEL has been able to approve four vendors and the sports betting regulations. These were also huge barriers. Unfortunately, the momentum from clearing these barriers has come to a complete halt.

The proposed tax revenue is also too exorbitant for sports betting operators. Tennessee will place a 20% tax on the adjusted gross income. Plus, the application fee is a massive $750,000.

If Tennessee is to compare with other states, it is hardly competitive or even attractive to operators. Some experts cite this could possibly be the reason behind delays in approving applications.

It should also be mentioned that the state only approved mobile sports betting. As of now, my analysts believe that sports betting will not go live until early 2021 due to these hindrances.

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