At a wide-ranging and lengthy meeting on Friday, Oct. 16, the Tennessee Education Lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee said legal TN sports betting could launch in as soon as two weeks, sports betting industry analyst Brian Pempus wrote in a tweet Friday afternoon.
The launch has been reaching a critical mass point in the state over the last few weeks, with the state granting approvals for the first three licensed sportsbook operators Sept. 24, including FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings. Draftkings is now offering Tennessee bettors a $50 free bet for players that register before their launch.
Earlier this month, the Committee approved a license for Tennessee Action 24/7 to offer sports betting in the state. This brings to 4 the total number of approved sports betting operators in the state so far.
Tennessee Lottery Officials Hammering Out Last-Minute Rule Changes Before Launch
Tennessee has no land casinos, so the state’s sports betting market is being governed and overseen by the Tennessee Lottery. Most states with legal sports betting also have casinos, which are granted licenses they can use as they please to form partnerships with sports betting providers. Tennessee puts no restrictions on the total number of sports betting operators it will allow in the state, as along as any participant meets the state’s eligibility requirements.
“We are working diligently with all applicants as we establish and support a responsible and competitive sports wagering program in Tennessee,” Tennessee Education Lottery president and CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove said in a news release in early October.
Sports betting industry journalist Steve Bittenbender also tweeted on Friday that the TEL is currently working through some final details ahead of launch, including striking down a two-year cooling off period before a former Tennessee Lottery staff member could work for or represent a sports betting licensee. He notes that current Tennessee law prohibits state lawmakers from working as lobbyists for a period of a year after their service.
Tennessee legalized sports betting was passed into law by state legislators back in spring 2019, with the law taking effect in July of last year. TN Gov. Bill Lee, who has expressed reservations about legal gambling in the state, did not veto the legislation, but it passed without his signature.