The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) is quietly working towards its goal to put the 2019 Sports Gaming Act (SGA) into action as the Act will legalize online sports betting in the state. The TELC expects to launch online sports betting operations by fall.
TELC held a short teleconference this week but scant information was released on the status of sports betting operators’ applications. The process is expected to result in the granting of licenses this summer. The TELC’s CEO Rebecca Hargrove stated that they have answered around 80 inquiries from companies interested in entering their market. However, Hargrove did not reveal how many firms have expressed interest.
The implementation of the SGA is expected to occupy most of TELC’s time and attention in the near future. According to TELC’s Chair Susan Lanigan, the state lottery will likely seek help from its Sports Wagering Advisory Council in order to close out its licensure and launch periods.
WATE 6 On Your Side
The SGA mandated the creations of an advisory council, comprised of nine members, to assist in the drafting of regulations as well as the launch of the online-only gambling industry in Tennessee. In late 2019, the sponsor of the SGA said that online sportsbooks would launch by early spring, but the regulations needed more time for adoption. The process ultimately ended this April.
The delay turned out to be irrelevant, given that mainstream sports suspended operations by the middle of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has resulted in a drastic drop in revenues from sports betting, some states have managed to eke out some revenue. Indiana, with a market roughly the size of Tennessee’s, generated $26 million in revenue this April, of which $1.5 million was taxable.
TELC’s Lottery Puttering Along
The TELC appears to be down, but definitely not out from the ongoing public health crisis brought about by the coronavirus, despite the absence of online ticket sales and the lack of eInstant games. Hargrove noted that the TELC is soldiering on, with its staff working from home.
The TELC retail centers re-opened on May 12 and the operating hours have been severely curtailed to comply with quarantine measures. The centers, where winning players can claim their prizes, featured long lines of players with winning tickets in hand.
Hargrove has put the number of people in line at their Nashville location at 300 people, despite the TELC announcing that winners could mail their winning tickets. According to Hargrove, the TELC has had no problems paying out their customers’ prizes.