A proposal in Tennessee to stop sports betting from accepting bets from payday loan borrowers has failed. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Bad luck this year
A bill in Tennessee that sought to prevent sports betting from accepting bets from payday loan customers has been unsuccessful. The bills accompanying the proposal are no longer to be discussed in the legislature, which means that no such change will come into force this year. In the end, the bills did not move forward because the draft measures were not precise enough.
raised concerns about responsible gambling among some lawmakers
The main purpose of the proposal was to prevent people who have high interest loans from Advance Financial 24/7 from being able to place sports bets with the lender’s sister company, Action 24/7. In January, the bookmaker was granted permission to accept cash deposits from sports bettors at physical Advance Financial branches in Tennessee. This raised concerns about responsible gambling among some lawmakers, which led to this proposal.
In addition to aiming to prevent high interest borrowers from funding their sports betting accounts, the bill also wanted to prevent people from setting up a sports betting account in order to earn enough money to pay off their loans. Lawyers for Action 24/7 had been busy lobbying against the legislation. They did not disclose how many Advance Financial 24/7 payday loan customers also have 24/7 Action accounts.
Another victory for Action 24/7
Action 24/7’s legal team has also extinguished fires elsewhere in recent weeks. Davidson County Chancellery Court ruling on Monday means Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) board of directors is unable to take punitive action against Action 24/7 regarding possible cases of fraud.
Indeed, the judge has already ruled on the case and the board of directors of TEL had already qualified its maintenance of the suspension of the license of Action 24/7 of “last action” on the question. The state’s state gaming regulator was trying to hold another hearing on the matter in order to protect the public interest and ensure the operator is in full compliance. However, the judge said that “TEL cannot redo”.
Last month, Chancellor Patricia Moskal ruled that TEL failed to provide due process to Action 24/7 before suspending her license and that a continued suspension would threaten the bookmaker’s financial well-being. Therefore, the judge lifted the operator’s temporary suspension.
The fallout from the license suspension
TEL suspended Action 24/7’s license on March 18, making it the first online sportsbook to be suspended in the United States. The first case of debit card fraud at Action 24/7 took place on March 9, and lasted for several days. It was not until March 17 that the operator sent 23 reports of the alleged fraud to TEL, with regulator president Susan Lanigan immediately suspending the license. Action 24/7 didn’t start monitoring fraud on an ongoing basis until March 16. A TEL board meeting on March 19 ended with support for Lanigan’s decision to suspend the license.
… .Our business is destroyed. Literally, not dramatically, to be honest. Without question.”
On March 23, Action 24/7 filed a complaint against TEL in an attempt to obtain a temporary injunction to lift the suspension. She also questioned TEL’s process for suspending the license and the fraud allegations. 24/7 Action attorney E. Steele Clayton IV told the court: “… our business is being destroyed. Literally, not dramatically, to be honest. Without question.”
This suspension was active during the March Madness college basketball tournament, a major betting event in the United States each year. The reinstatement of the license came on March 26 after the operator obtained its injunction.
Action 24/7 could still face action from TEL on another matter. One of the bookmaker’s contract employees set up more than 40 accounts for punters in other states ahead of the Super Bowl, allowing them to place hundreds of bets. TEL has turned this interstate gambling case over to law enforcement, with TEL having to decide whether to take potential action once law enforcement has completed its investigation.