PlayUSA Rewind: Tennessee Finally Sets Sports Betting Launch For November 1

Posted on September 30, 2020

Fall 2020 is poised to keep everyone busy.

As sports betting revenue reports roll in detailing the heavy influence of NFL action, not to mention the NBA playoffs, several other states stand on the threshold of launching their own online wagering industries.

Among them, a state that has seemingly dragged its heels for over a year.

On to the Rewind:

Tennessee sports betting to launch November 1

After over a year of uncertainty surrounding the launch of legalized sports betting in Tennessee, regulators in the state have made significant progress in recent weeks. Now, it appears a more clear target date has emerged.

So, too, has a picture regarding operators that will lay roots in the Volunteer State.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation board of directors committee conditionally approved sports betting licenses for three major players in the ever-expanding world of regulated wagering: DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM.

In a release announcing the issued licenses, the lottery also indicated an “intended Nov. 1 go-live date.”

More applications will be considered and potentially approved by the committee at two October meetings.

Obviously DraftKings and FanDuel are industry leaders across the country, and BetMGM has long been an established operator, so all three entering Tennessee comes as no surprise. Remember, Tennessee is the only state with a mobile betting-only approach, as outlined by law. So, betting at retail sportsbooks will be considered illegal.

BetMGM has gone a step further, too, as the group entered into a deal with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans to make BetMGM the team’s official sports betting partner.

PokerStars founder receives time served sentence

Nearly a decade later, prosecutions surrounding the shutdown of the world’s largest online poker sites have concluded.

The last standing domino, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, was fined $30,000 and sentenced to time served for his crimes relating to illegal gambling. Scheinberg and his son sold PokerStars in 2014 for $4.9 billion.

The last of 11 defendants from the 2011 shutdown, Scheinberg surrendered to authorities last year and pleaded guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business, which carried a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months. Yet the government recommended a lesser sentence.

Defendants are judged based on laws that were in place at the time of their crimes. That said, the prosecution noted that PokerStars taking on the $304 million of Full Tilt Poker’s liability to players played a role.

Such a ruling ends a nine-year saga that began with a 2011 indictment that brought charges against Scheinberg and 10 others and that led to immediate trials or fled authorities.

It looks to be all over now though, at a time when online gambling is becoming a viable revenue-driver in states across the country.

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Michigan online gambling continues to move forward

The calendar for launching online gambling in Michigan now has a few more circles around Thanksgiving.

A recent public hearing of the Michigan Gaming Control Board regarding draft rules for the industry keeps its November launch in sight. And an official confirmed that the state is targeting a turkey day rollout, meaning residents could participate in online casinos, sports betting and poker within two months.

Now that the hearing has concluded, regulators can move forward with the rule-making process. The Joint Committee of Administrative Rules will soon submit final draft rules to the Michigan Office for Administrative Hearings and Rules. This will spark a typically 40-day process, followed by a 25-day period of adoption.

The legislature is also analyzing a bill that would allow online poker players in Michigan to compete against players in other states, a bill that the Senate should vote on soon.

At maturity, online gambling in Michigan could produce $25 million in tax revenue, according to recent state projections, though Rep. Brandt Iden told PlayMichigan that the industry could generate a nine-figure total.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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