advance financial

Newly approved sportsbook appears to be allowing banned bets

A screen grab of proposition bets on college basketball players on the William Hill sportsbook.

When Tennessee lawmakers were debating the state’s new sports betting bill in 2019, a late change to help ensure its passage was to eliminate the possibility of proposition bets on college players.

William Hill, one of the most recent sportsbooks approved to operate in the state by the Tennessee Lottery, doesn’t appear to have gotten the message. As of Monday evening, the gaming outfit was taking bets on how individual players would do in the NCAA tournament.

The Lottery’s oversight of the new gaming program has come under scrutiny after the body suspended the Tennessee Action 24/7 sportsbook due to fraudulent debit card activity on the its platform. A Nashville judge late last week threw out the suspension, ruling the Lottery hadn’t gone through the proper procedures. The sportsbook run by executives of short-term lender Advance Financial had self-reported the fraudulent deposits and withdrawals and its lawyers called a Lottery investigator’s claims about the scope of the problems to be vastly exaggerated.

A screen grab of proposition bets on college basketball players on the William Hill sportsbook.

Approved sportsbooks each pay an annual licensing fee of $750,000, but the Lottery has had trouble with keeping the sports betting oversight staffed . Danielle Boyd recently announced he was resigning as vice president of sports gaming after about nine months on the job. The Lottery’s first gaming director, Jennifer Roberts, left after a seven-month tenure in 2020.

UPDATE: A comment from Lottery spokesman David Smith:

There’s a process in place for violations, and we will follow that process. This matter is under review, however, prop bets on college players are not permitted. The operator has taken those down, and any wagers placed have been voided by the operator.”