In Tennessee, William Hill could be facing a license suspension or fine after allegedly allowing customers to place illegal prop bets on the NCAA tournament. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Claims prompt review
International gambling operator William Hill only recently joined the Tennessee market, launching its online and mobile sportsbook on March 11. However, it may have already controvened a state law prohibiting certain proposition bets on college basketball.
The Tennessee Journal first raised concerns over the operator’s offering this week, posting screenshots of its mobile sportsbook in the state. Allegedly, William Hill accepted player proposition wagers on the NCAA basketball tournament on Monday evening. If proven, this transgresses a Tennessee gambling law set in 2019.
There’s a process in place for violations, and we will follow that process.”
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) has since launched an investigation into the claims. According to the regulator, William Hill has already taken down its options for prop bets on college players and voided any wagers placed. “There’s a process in place for violations, and we will follow that process,” the TEL commented.
Caught red handed?
In an article this week, The Tennessee Journal posted two screengrabs of William Hill’s mobile sportsbook allegedly taken in Tennessee. They show the time and date as March 30 at 6:15pm.
Both screenshots relate to the USC Trojans and Gonzaga Bulldogs NCAA game played on Monday evening. The first appears to show a proposition bet placed on the Trojans’ Isaiah Mobley to win over 11.5 points in the game. Meanwhile, the other lists a series of player prop betting options including Mobley and Tahj Eaddy.
A proposition bet is a wager on the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event which does not directly affect the final result of a game. Player proposition bets focus on the performance of specific players, with popular options including under or over point betting.
If the screenshots prove accurate, William Hill has contravened Section 4-51-314 of Tennessee sports betting law which bans prop bets on college players. The section states that any transgression of this rule may result in “the suspension or revocation of a License or Registration or imposition of a fine.” However, Tennessee law caps any administrative fine at a maximum of $25,000 per offence.
Not the first issue in Tennessee
Tennessee’s online sports betting market only launched on November 1 2020, but its regulator has already suspended the license of one of its operators.
evidence of money laundering and credit card fraud
On March 18, Tennessee Action 24/7 became the first US online sportsbook to receive a license suspension. The TEL indefinitely suspended the operator’s permit after an investigation uncovered evidence of money laundering and credit card fraud.
Action 24/7 filed a lawsuit against the gambling regulator in an attempt to overturn its ruling later that month. The operator argued that the TEL acted improperly and that the indefinite nature of the ruling was destroying its business. The suit also questioned the card fraud allegations.
Utlimately, the TEL lost its case against its licensee. A Nashville judge granted an injunction to temporarily reinstate Action 24/7’s operating permit last week. The Chancery Court ruled that the TEL board of directors did not follow proper procedure in suspending the license.
Despite defeating the TEL in court, Action 24/7 could face some difficulties if state lawmakers complete a recently proposed amendment to gambling law. Two legislators have backed a rule which would prevent Action 24/7 bettors from having a loan with sister company Advance Financial 24/7. However, time is running out to pass the amendment in this legislative session.