As part of Tennessee’s new sports betting law, the state must set up an nine-member commission to “enforce and supervise compliance with this bill and rules relating to wagering on sporting events in this state.”
Last Friday, before he stepped down as Speaker of the House, Republican Glen Casada, who supported the sports betting bill, selected two of the three members he was entitled to by law, while Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally also appointed two, according to the Associated Press.
Each lawmaker was entitled to select three members to the commission, so it appears Casada’s third pick will go to incoming Speaker Cameron Sexton, also a Republican, to make the final selection.
Governor Bill Lee, who let the sports betting bill become law by letting time elapse without signing or vetoing the bill, is also entitled to appoint three members, but has yet to do so.
Appointees include lawyers, lobbyist, FBI agent
Casada’s appointees are John Valliant Jr.,a Knoxville attorney, and Thomas Lee, a lobbyist. Valliant was appointed to a three-year term, and Lee to a four-year term. McNally, who opposed the new sports betting law, appointed FBI agent Brian Fazenbaker and Chief Deputy District Attorney General Samuel Lee. Fazenbaker’s term is three years, and Lee’s is four.
Besides enforcement, the council is tasked with submitting an annual report to the governor, which is to include a list of licensees, a revenue report, and and a financial impact statement. In addition, the commission must maintain a website listing those “ineligible” the bet in Tennessee, as well as develop rules for everything from licensee insurance requirements to determining “types or forms of wagering that are prohibited under this bill because they are contrary to public policy, unfair to consumers, or deemed to violate the state constitution.”
Sports betting officially became legal in Tennessee on July 1, 30 days after the bill hit Governor Lee’s desk. It’s unclear when sports betting will go live, but Tennessee, a “non-gaming” state and no casinos, is currently the only state to legalize online/mobile sports betting without provisions for physical sportsbook.
Tennessee was also the first state to pass a law requiring sportsbooks to use “official league data.” Illinois lawmakers followed suit shortly after.
According to the Associated Press story, Casada was forced to resign after it came to light that he traded sexually explicit text messages about women with his former chief of staff. Tennessee’s GOP Caucus had a vote of no confidence in May, but Casada insisted he wouldn’t step down until his 60th birthday, which was on Aug. 2.