Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill into law this month, which designates a new regulatory body to oversee the state’s sports betting industry. The news comes amid growing calls across the US for states to move away from what many regard as the outdated lottery model. The new legislation is designed to improve Tennessee’s legal sports industry, which should benefit everyone, from the bettors to the providers.

Since its launch in November 2020, the sports betting industry has been overseen by the Tennessee Education Lottery. That responsibility is now shifting over to the newly formed Sports Wagering Advisory Council. 

The nine-member council is tasked with reviewing existing rules, coming up with new ones, and awarding licenses to operators. Moreover, it will be required to take disciplinary action against license holders that break the rules. 

Tennessee’s decision to form the council also comes shortly after the TEL was accused of failing to follow proper procedure when it decided to suspend the license of Action 24/7.  

For her part, TEL’s CEO, Rebecca Hargrove, welcomed the new legislation and explained that the lottery isn’t designed to act as a regulator. 

“We believe our organization is an operational organization that acts more as an operator than a regulator. So, to have a regulator regulating sports betting is a very positive outcome,” Hargrove said.  

It remains to be seen if other states will follow in Tennessee’s footsteps and reconsider their existing regulatory model. Nevertheless, this is an exciting development in the world of online sports betting in the US, where individual states make their own rules.

Twenty-two states have already legalized online sports betting, including sports betting heavyweights like New Jersey. Most other states are in the process of doing so. But there are some exceptions, with Idaho and Wisconsin showing no interest in legalizing betting, while Utah already has a strict anti-gambling stance in its constitution.