Tennessee’s Action 24/7 Sportsbook Remains Offline Following License Suspension

Posted on: March 22, 2021, 02:43h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2021, 02:54h.

The license of Tennessee sportsbook Action 24/7 remains suspended this week until the company can verify that sufficient anti-money laundering precautions are in place.

Lottery staff will review a mandated third-party confirmation of controls
Action 24/7 President Tina Hodges, shown above. In a recent statement, she defended the company and criticized the Tennessee Lottery board for temporarily suspending its sportsbook license. (Image: Tennessee Star)

Tennessee Lottery officials, who monitor the online sportsbook, claim deposits were made on the site that involve credit card fraud and money laundering.

Initially, the site was suspended temporarily by Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation board chair Susan Lanigan on Thursday night. On Friday, the board ratified her initial suspension.

The board also took a second vote to let staff review a mandated third-party confirmation on the company’s internal controls.

Alleged Fraud Could Be Huge

Danny DiRienzo, the sports gaming investigator at the lottery office, suspects the amount of money involved in the alleged fraud is “probably in the tens, if not the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“Clearly, a case of credit card fraud. Clearly, a case of money laundering…. It is serious, serious criminal activity,” DiRienzo said during the board meeting.

He was frustrated that Action 24/7 first detected the suspicious activity on March 9. But the company did not notify DiRienzo about the issue until March 17.

“Our rules are very specific, requiring immediate notification,” DiRienzo told the board. “That is not even close to immediate.”

If recommended controls were in place, a fraud alert could have been triggered and nefarious activity could have been stopped early with accounts shut down, DiRienzo claimed.

He has over two decades of experience working with the US Secret Service, where he investigated illegal gambling and money laundering.

In his board presentation, DiRienzo recalled, “This is not the first case of very serious criminal conduct occurring on Action 24/7’s platform.”

Earlier incidents this year relate to out-of-state residents allegedly circumventing rules that players on the site must be present in Tennessee. An Action 24/7 employee notified higher-level company management about that issue, DiRienzo said. But the company failed to adequately respond, he added.

Action 24/7 was first licensed in January. Tennessee online sports betting started last November.

In recent days, both Action 24/7 and lottery board members highlighted how the decision to suspend the company’s license came one day before the start of the NCAA basketball tournament. It is a popular event on which to place wagers.

Casino.org reached out to Action 24/7 for comment. No statement was immediately provided.

Action 24/7 did release a statement to WTVF, a local TV station, which, in part, claimed “Suspicious activity was detected quickly by Action staff and Action swiftly suspended the involved player accounts.

“Action instituted additional controls to curb the activity, and no further such activity has occurred since.”

In response to the incidents, Action 24/7 put in place steps that limit credit card transactions to two per hour, the lottery board reported. The company also reportedly implemented new procedures on the frequency of monitoring credit or debit cards.

Action 24/7 Claims Lottery Board Took Draconian Steps

Action 24/7 also took aim at the lottery board. “The board relied upon unfounded fears of future speculative recurrences of the activity, and took draconian action just as the NCAA Tournament is beginning,” Action 24/7 claimed in the statement.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the board’s decision, but will continue to work with … staff and seek all other avenues of relief to have the suspension lifted quickly.”

Action 24/7 does have a right to appeal the board’s actions. It has attorneys representing its interests.

As of Monday, the Action 24/7 site said, “Sorry, the site is unavailable at the moment. Please check back soon.”