Once again, legal sports betting in Tennessee is taking another step backwards. Earlier this week, the Tennessee Sports Wagering Council held a meeting and they made the decision to draft a new set of rules and regulations. Tennessee received a ton of criticism during its public comment period as well as from industry professionals on its original set of rules and regulations, basically forcing their hand. Now, Tennessee is essentially back to square one as they will work on proposing new rules and regulations.
Tennessee legalized online-only sports betting back in July of 2019. While the mobile-only aspect wasn’t an issue, some of the other original regulations were. One of the most talked about issues was the 85% cap on payouts. Many were critical that this percentage was too low and restricted the amount of money bettors would win. “I think 92 is a good place to start,” said Lottery Board Commission Chair Susan Lanigan.
Among other issues were the high licensing fees ($750,000) and the odd parlay rule. Traditionally in a parlay, when one of the legs (wagers) of the parlay results in a tie or a push, that part of the parlay is removed. As long as the rest of the bet wins, everything is fine and you are paid based on the remaining legs. However, in Tennessee, any parlay that had a leg result in a tie or push would have resulted in a loss for the entire parlay, something that goes against industry standards.
Now the Volunteer State is dealing with a setback as they draft new rules and regulations to try and correct some of their obvious errors. While the delay may upset a number of prospective bettors in the state, this may be for the best. March Madness was never a realistic goal for Tennessee this year so as long as the state can launch sports betting before the upcoming football season in late August, the setback won’t be as damaging. Waiting a couple extra months for a better product is beneficial for both the state of Tennessee and its bettors.