Nashville Christmas Bombing Delays William Hill Sports Betting Launch in Tennessee

Posted on: January 29, 2021, 08:16h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2021, 07:40h.

William Hill was one of two online sports betting operators approved for licensing Friday by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. However, the company’s rollout in the Volunteer State has been hampered by the Christmas morning bombing that rocked downtown Nashville.

Nashville bombing William Hill
FBI investigators conduct an exit briefing with Nashville officials on Dec. 30, five days after a bomb detonated and devastated part of downtown Nashville. On Friday, William Hill said the incident affected its “operations planning” for sports betting in Tennessee. (Image: FBI Memphis/Twitter)

The Associated Press reported Friday that the lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee gave the OK to both William Hill and Wynn Sports. However, the report stated neither operator would launch by the Super Bowl, according to President and CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove. She noted one company’s server was located near the site of the explosion.

In a statement to Friday evening, William Hill’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Michael Grodsky confirmed the incident “did impact our operations planning” for Tennessee.

Regardless, we are working hard to launch our best-in-class betting experience to Tennessee sports fans in the upcoming weeks,” he said.

William Hill currently offers retail and/or mobile sports betting in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition to William Hill and Wynn, Hargrove said to the Associated Press that the sports betting app Churchill Downs will operate in the state also will not be ready in time for the Feb. 7 Super Bowl. The Louisville-based gaming company, which is rebranding its Bet America sportsbook to TwinSpires, received its approval on Jan. 6.

About the Nashville Bombing

In the early morning hours of Christmas day, a recreational vehicle was parked on the 100 block of 2nd Avenue North. Hours later, Nashville police officers responded to a call of gunshots reported in the area. Authorities also dispatched a special unit to check the RV as warnings emanated from it.

Around 6:30 am CT, the vehicle exploded. Eight people were injured, and the only fatality was Anthony Quinn Warner. Authorities have determined that Warner, 63, acted alone in the bombing.

The RV was parked next to an AT&T building that served as a major hub for telecommunications in Tennessee and surrounding states. Authorities have said that at least 40 more businesses received damage in the historic downtown district, several extensively.

Sports Betting Handle Jumps 37% in December

Sports betting in Tennessee went live on Nov. 1 with BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 247 launching. The state was the first in the nation to launch with just mobile sports betting.

Earlier in the week, the Tennessee Lottery announced its December sports betting financial report. Officials announced bettors wagered $180.9 million and won $167 million.

That left the licensees with gross revenues of $13.9 million. The lottery also reported receiving $3.1 million in tax revenue.

Unlike most states that provide monthly reports, the lottery did not break down handle or revenue by licensees.

The December handle represented a 37.7 percent increase from November’s $131.4 million. In the first two months, the lottery has received $5.5 million in tax dollars.

Of the tax dollars, 80 percent goes to the lottery’s education account. The state’s general revenue fund gets 15 percent, while the state earmarks the remaining 5 percent for problem gaming services.