Tennessee Council Shortlists Candidates For Executive Director, Makes New Sports Betting Rules

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Tennessee Wagering Advisory Council has shortlisted nine candidates for the job of the Executive Director of the council, which takes over sports betting on Jan. 1. Nearly 50 applicants had submitted to seek the coveted position. The council hopes to finalize its head by October.

The SWARC – which will replace Tennessee Education Lottery as the sports betting regulatory body – convened Tuesday for its monthly meeting.

Several issues were discussed during the meeting, ranging from the monthly sports betting revenue to the shady practices of the state’s operators. The council also put forward its process of forming revised sports betting rule for 2022. Other updates were related to new license approvals, suppliers, and vendors.

The Opening of Tuesday’s Agenda

The day’s agenda opened with an update from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) – the current regulatory body. Vice President Alonda McCutcheon announced the Tennessee sports betting handle for the month, which was less than $135 million in July.

Though it was the lowest handle since the Volunteer State went live last November, the bad news was neutralized by sports betting revenue, which remained high. In July, the Tennessee sports betting apps reported $15.2 million in revenue.

Tennessee was the first state in US sports betting to launch online-only sports betting on Nov. 1. 2020.

Initially, the Tennessee sports betting went live with four operators – FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Action 24/7. The state later added three more – William Hill/Caesars, TwinSpires, and WynnBET.

When Will the Council Appoint New Regulatory Head?

In the latest meeting, scheduled for Aug. 24, the SWAC shortlisted the number to nine from nearly 50 applications it had received.

Council Member Mike Keeney said the list of nine was the first step in getting the council to a manageable number. Keeney said the plan is to further shortlist those to the three finalists for the interviews in the next 30 days.

The SWAC will reconvene on Oct. 5 and plans to name someone – among those three – as the executive director by mid-October.

At the second meeting in July, the council had said it would take applications for the leading job until Aug. 11.

Since its first meeting in June, Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) has been seeking to hire an executive director amid the continued transfer of regulatory power that will complete by next year. The SWAC will take over the sports betting regulatory powers from the TEL on Jan. 1.

Tennessee Sports Betting New Regulations

Council Member Tom Lee updated the colleagues on the Rulemaking Committee’s progress toward new Tennessee sports betting rules that will take effect in 2022.

The Rulemaking Committee’s suggestions, which were finalized last Wednesday, stress the need for creating a transparent rulemaking process involving input from stakeholders.

The proposed rule recommendations cover five basic topics:

  1. The proper mode of registration for suppliers and vendors, involving proper scrutiny throughout the application process.
  2. The definition of sports betting’s governing body and its role.
  3. Volunteer State’s mobile-only sports betting structure and how it relates to digital operators teaming up with sports bars to extend in-person sports betting incentives to customers.
  4. Means of funding a digital sports betting account and implications of introducing new deposit methods.
  5. Definitions of important industry terms including parlays, prop betting, and teasers.

Lee concluded the meeting by scheduling a public meeting period for the proposed permanent new rule suggestions. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 5.

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