Jennifer Roberts, the Director of Tennessee Sports Betting, left her post on Friday. The news is a bit of a surprise as Tennessee is in the process of launching sports betting in the state. Roberts began her job in December.
Last week, Roberts tweeted that she is moving to GameCo, a video game gambling company with headquarters in Las Vegas. Last spring, the state passed sports betting without the Governor’s signature, which is a bit of an unprecedented move. Tennessee has no casino within the state, and narrowly passed sports betting.
The Tennessee Lottery is regulating sports betting and has been taking applications from operators, which started in April.
What’s Next For Tennessee Sports Betting?
The first step is to find a new director. Tennessee Lottery spokesman Dave Smith says they have made a few hires over the last few days and will need to make one more to run the ship. Also, there is no timetable on when sports betting will be operating in the state.
Sports betting was passed in the spring of 2019, and the Tennessee Lottery is still finalizing the operating process for the state. Also, they have been taking applications from sports betting operators since April.
One thing about Tennessee is that they have no casinos in the state. No casinos in the state make sports betting in Tennessee more interesting. Usually, sports betting companies will partner with a casino to launch their sportsbook in the state. However, in Tennessee, the sportsbooks don’t have that ability. Now, they will strictly be operating as mobile sportsbooks.
Mobile operations shouldn’t be an issue. New Jersey, a state with one of the biggest sports betting industries, saw almost 90 percent of the bets come from mobile devices in 2019. Tennesseans will be able to bet from their couches once the launch happens. Right now, no mobile operators have approval, but four marketing affiliates have.
Who Will be the First Sportsbooks in the state?
There is still a lot of questions up in the air around who will be the first sportsbooks to launch in Tennesse. Currently, there are no mobile operators that have been approved in the state. The Tennessee Lottery has been taking applications since Apil.
The goal for Tennessee sports betting is to launch by the third quarter. With no approved operators, this might be more difficult. However, sportsbooks will be working a light speed to make sure they are ready to go on the first day when sports betting is allowed in Tennessee.
Some of the biggest mobile sportsbooks will be looking to launch in the state. Tennesseans can expect DraftKings and FanDuel to start as soon as they get approval. The largest U.S. sportsbooks are slowly entering states with legal sports betting, and Tennessee will be a popular hub to get into early.
Also, FOX Bet is beginning to grow in popularity after launching in Colorado, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. FOX Bet also has the content to build their brand with names like Colin Cowherd and Rachel Bonnetta. PointsBet is another mobile operator that might try to get into the Tennessee market early.
One that might stick out more than any is BetRivers. They have operations in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Also, they will soon be running in Michigan. BetRivers is slowly gaining access to midwestern states, and Tennessee could be their next target.
Overall, Jennifer Roberts leaving the Tennessee Lottery, could give the state a set back in launching the new sports betting industry. Also, no sportsbooks have been approved yet despite the Lottery taking applications since April. Tennessee still has a goal for a third-quarter launch, but the logistics of everything makes this feel less likely at the moment. Only time will tell how Tennessee handles this.