- Tennessee Shut Down 74 Betting Accounts After the Super Bowl
- Unknown Irregularities Involved at Least Two Operators
- Super Bowl Prop Bets Could Be Root Issue
As legal sports betting has proliferated across the United States, Tennessee witnessed one potential downside after the Super Bowl.
According to various reports, regulators noticed betting irregularities occurring on two of the state’s four licensed mobile sportsbooks. While the actual game between the Kansas City Chiefs and victorious Tampa Bay Buccaneers was not the most entertaining, the betting action is always interesting.
Wait, There’s Legal Sports Betting in Tennessee?
Despite being a deep-red conservative southern state, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill legalizing sports betting in 2019. Legalization occurred despite opposition from Republican Governor Bill Lee, who allowed the provision to become law without his signature.
Tennessee is unique amongst the fifty states regarding sports betting. It was the first state to legalize and regulate online wagering operators without any other existing gambling infrastructure. Operators receive licenses from the state lottery, which before 2020 was the only game legally allowed on Rocky Top.
After launch in November 2020, four operators were granted licenses to offer legal betting to anyone in the state over the age of 21: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action 247.
What Irregularities Occurred in Tennessee after the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl LV was played in Tampa, Florida. So how could Super Bowl betting irregularities have occurred in Tennessee?
At this time, it is unclear what actually happened. The Tennessee Lottery officials only made clear that 74 accounts had been permanently banned from future wagering. The accounts were spread across two of the four legal operators. BetGM has strongly denied that it is one of the books with players under investigation. The other three operators have so far limited their responses to essentially ‘no comment.’
The Tennessee Lottery confirmed that multiple accounts of the 74 were controlled by a single individual. Separately, other anomalies appeared to be coordination amongst a group of individuals using their own accounts. While law enforcement continues its investigation(s), there are no implications that the Super Bowl’s outcome was impacted.
Could Tennessee’s Problems Be Related to the Super Bowl Streaker?
The so-called Super Bowl Streaker, Yuri Andrade, infamously boasted on Instagram that he had a $50,000 prop bet riding on his 15 seconds of fame. The odds of whether anyone would streak during the course of the game were set at +750. If Andrade was telling the truth, he would clean up to the tune of $375,000. All for a $500 bail posting, a citation, and a lifetime ban from NFL games.
Like most things that sound too good to be true, it seems Andrade will not be cashing in. First, it seems unlikely that any offshore sportsbook would take a $50k bet on such a prop. Even retail books likely do not offer such high limits for all but their best, most well-known customers. Bovada announced it had a $1,000 limit on such bets and would refund “no” bettors due to irregularities.
For his part, Andrade’s story continued to change before it seems he wisely clammed up. He stated he sent friends to Las Vegas to make bets for him, but also that “he had gotten friends to place wagers from different accounts.”
Thus, it is possible – though purely speculation – that Tennessee’s betting anomalies involved prop bets on whether there would be a streaker. If any of Andrade’s associates decided to place online bets at Tennessee’s regulated operators, such bets would be null and void under the sites’ terms and agreements. Likewise, if any of the people behind the 74 accounts being investigated caught wind of Andrade’s plan before kickoff, their bets may be in jeopardy.
Prop Bets Can Cause Regulatory Headaches
Even if the irregularities identified in Tennessee had nothing to do with the streaker, regulators need to ensure all bettors and books operate fairly. Prop bets that have nothing to do with the game are ripe for malfeasance. For instance, country music star Eric Church performed the Super Bowl national anthem. The Nashville, Tennessee based singer impacted numerous bets by taking longer than 1:59 to belt out the Star-Spangled Banner. It is not a stretch to imagine that some members of his extended entourage used inside information to make wagers on the state’s mobile apps.