On Thursday, Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) met to interview three final candidates for its vacant executive director position. After a thorough final interview process, the council chose to extend an offer to candidate Mary Beth Thomas. All nine council members voted in Thomas’ favor.
Thomas had to beat out two other qualified candidates – Roger Guillemette and Scott Sloan – to earn this role.
Mary Beth Thomas is a lawyer by trade with a strong working knowledge of Tennessee government and legislature. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, she began her career at Nashville’s own Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis law firm.
In 2013, Thomas became a member of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s general counsel. During her time there, she dealt with matters pertaining to the General Assembly and worked in an array of other diverse departments.
Most relevant to the position is her background in fantasy sports. Thomas is no stranger to launching a sports gaming platform within a short timeframe. The Tennessee General Assembly passed a law legalizing fantasy sports in April 2016.
Once the law officially passed in July, Thomas and her general assembly team were tasked with establishing rules in time for September’s first application submissions. It was then that she began learning how the online sports industry operates and the plethora of issues surrounding it.
Thomas designed, developed, implemented, and managed Tennessee’s fantasy sports program for 18 months until it became so large that another division with new personnel had to take over.
Tennessee’s sports betting law passed in 2019, and the first bets were allowed in November 2020.
Thomas said her hope is to make the SWAC the most fair, transparent, efficient regulator possible. She wants the SWAC to be decisive, approachable, and in constant communication with its stakeholders.
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