Sportsbooks in Tennessee have extended their drought in August, as they have matched the low in wagers that they recorded in July, according to Play Tennessee. Nicole Russo, a Play Tennessee analyst, stated that, after a summer where Tennessee had ups and downs, it would’ve been nice to see positive results, or in other words, growth in the handle, especially ahead of the industry’s most crucial period. However, Russo added that football motivates bettors more than any other sport and that this will cause the drought that occurred this summer to finish during the fall.
August Resulted in a Total of $144.5 Million in Wagers
The Tennessee Education Lottery and Sports Wagering Advisory Council released official data on Monday in which it said that, during August, a total of $144.5 million was placed in wagers. Those numbers indicate that the pace of betting in August remained the same as that of July, which was $4.7 million.
However, gross gaming revenue (GGR) recorded a small drop. August’s sports betting GGR in Tennessee was $13.2 million, which is a drop of $2 million compared to the GGR of July ($15.2 million). The total taxable revenue in August was $10.1 million, which resulted in $2 million in tax revenue.
Additionally, football did not contribute much because August resulted in just a few college football games that did not include Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee or Memphis. NFL’s schedule was sparser and limited to preseason games only, three of which involved the Tennessee Titans.
September Marks The First Full Season of Football Betting in Tennessee
As bad as the summer results may be, September is likely to be a different matter due to the fact that it marks the first full football season in which legal betting takes place in Tennessee. Last year, which was marked with major sports shut down due to the pandemic, had 60.2% of all its legal wagers placed between September and December. Two years ago, in 2019, 50.8% of the total wagers were placed during the four-month period.
Eric Ramsey, a PlayUSA.com Network analyst, stated that this period is the most important one in the industry. However, it is unknown how betting fans in Tennessee will react in a full football season. Football betting is likely to represent a greater share of the annual handle than the national average in Tennessee, Ramsey added.
Moreover, Tennessee had a shakeup in its August mix of operators as Barstool Sports started offering its services in the state ahead of the NFL season, shortly after entering the New Jersey market. A new sports betting brand, Wagr, was also approved by the regulators and it is likely to start offering its services during the football season.
Russo stated that the NFL and college football are far more than just periods where sportsbooks can rake in money. They represent a massive opportunity for the operators to attract new customers to their platforms. That is why well-established operators feature aggressive promotions and new sportsbooks are eager to launch before the start of the season.