Regulated sports betting in Tennessee hit a major snag this week when public comments revealed some major problems in the state’s plans to offer regulated wagering. From how to pay out parlays to how much cash sports betting operators must keep on hand, the Volunteer State just can’t seem to figure out how sports betting actually works. And now they’ve delayed launching their sports betting initiative until they can iron out some kinks in the process.

Tennessee voters approved a measure that would allow for regulated mobile sports betting in the state. This is actually a pretty big deal because the state doesn’t offer any form of regulated gambling besides the state lottery. For that reason, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. (TELC) has been running the launch of regulated sports betting. But it seems like sports betting isn’t exactly their forte.

For example, the folks at TELC have some very unconventional views on how parlays work. In the Tennessee version, a tied game counts as a win for the house. In literally every other jurisdiction on the planet, a tied parlay pick simply changes the odds and would turn, for example, a five-game card into a four-game card.

Regulators are also discussing how much cash regulated sports betting operators need to keep on hand. TELC is suggesting 15 percent hold, which is much higher than the industry standard.

But even though the launch date has been delayed, Sports Wagering Advisory Council member Tom Lee told SportsHandle.com, “I wish we hadn’t been so delayed, but that is now past. What counts is what we do next, and I am convinced the time we take in the next sixty days to get this right will be worth it for players, licensees, and the state.”

The lesson here is that state gambling commissions actually serve a purpose and launching something as big and complicated as regulated sports betting without one is a fool’s errand.


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