Tennessee Sports Betting Off to a Flying Start Dwarfing Previous Record

The sports betting market in Tennessee surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, the November betting taxes and wagering figures report from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) revealed.

Shattering Previous First Month Record

The body overseeing the licensing and regulation of online sports wagering in the state posted a record first month in which sportsbooks generated triple-digit in revenues and shattered previous record set by Indiana in September 2019.

“Our first month of sports wagering in Tennessee comes at a unique time in the world, let alone the sports world.”

Rebecca Paul Hargrove, President and CEO, TEL

According to the official release, Tennessee sportsbooks generated $131.4 million in sports betting handle in November but the excellent first month result should not be taken out of the context in which it was achieved. Yes, the current largest market, New Jersey, did not surpass that figure until its 4th month, and the nation’s 3rd, Pennsylvania, needed 11 months to top that, but the Tennessee launch was characterized with some favorable circumstances.

Context Important

First, the state debuted with sports betting in the midst of the seasons for both the National Football League (NFL) and college football in a region that is famous for being particularly keen on the sport.

Second, in that football crazy region Tennessee is the only state which offers mobile sports betting, with just Arkansas and Mississippi out of the state’s 7 neighboring states having legal sports betting, but only with retail sportsbooks.

Third, sportsbooks in the state got a boost from the Tennessee Titans as the NFL franchise is having one of its best seasons in the league so far, translating their exceptional performances into bets.

First Headwinds

The first real test for the market in the Volunteer State will be the scheduled for January launch of online sports betting in Virginia, hence the cautious approach to the November figures from the TEL President and CEO.

“November’s figures include adjustments and indicate potential…As this new industry in Tennessee evolves, we will continue to work with licensees and registrants in support of a responsible and competitive sports wagering program.”

Rebecca Paul Hargrove, President and CEO, TEL

Yet, the flying start in the state once again showed the importance of having mobile options not only for placing bets but for registration too.

Everybody Wins

The November report which lacks details regarding each of the 4 sportsbooks in Tennessee, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and Action 24/7, revealed the payouts and the taxes paid to the state, beside the handle.

Sports wagering operators returned in payouts to bettors $118.2 million, meaning sports betting revenue accounted for 10% of the handle, generating $2.4 million in taxes, 80% of which would go to the lottery for education purposes, 15% would be allocated to local governments and 5% used to fund problem gambling treatment.

At least another 4 sports betting operators, BetAmerica, William Hill, WynnBET and ZenSports, are waiting to be approved by the TEL and join the other 4, which would not happen before 2021 as the lottery scheduled the special meeting for their launch for January 6.

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