Tennessee Sports Betting Market off to Flying Start
The launch of legal sports betting in Tennessee came with a lot of anticipation by punters and sportsbooks alike, and the Volunteer State delivered in a big way.
On November 1, 2020 Tennessee debuted its first legal sports betting, and set history by becoming the only state in the US that offers sports betting online only, with no brick and mortar sportsbook venues. The first operators to go live were BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings which all went live on November 1st, together with Tennessee Action 24/7 which is a dedicated online sportsbook created for, and run exclusively in the Volunteer State.
There were many factors in favor of the Tennessee launch, with the leading sports betting operators in the US being first to the gate in order to take momentum of the new legislation, as well as one unique operator that is exclusive to the state and has set on a mission to provide dedicated, local service in the Volunteer State. As Tennessee Action 24/7 stated in its mission, it is a sportsbook ‘made for Tennesseans, by Tennesseans’.
There is also of course the fact that Tennessee is a football-crazy state, and the launch came in the middle of the hype of the NFL and NCAA Football season. Add the fact that Tennessee is the first state that provides sports betting online only, with no competition from brick and mortar sportsbooks, to see that all factors come together to give Tennessee the best starting month in US history.
The first week of November saw over $27 million in wagers placed in online sports betting throughout the state, according to a report that was released by the Tennessee Education Lottery – the state’s body that regulates sports wagering.
During the first week of November, the four operators paid out in winnings an estimated $23.9 million, leaving them with gross profits of around $2.54 million for their first week of operation. From the monthly total of $27.4 million, wagers worth more than $5 million were placed on the November 1 launch day. Officials say that most of the bets were placed on football, with 60% and 40% of wagers placed on the NFL and College Football respectively.
While residents and visitors to Tennessee were having a great time betting from their computers or mobile devices, and of course some of them being lucky winners, the Volunteer State also started making profits, earning $509,000 in tax income on the wagered placed in the first week.
For the entire month of November, Tennessee sportsbooks generated $131.4 million in handle. That is the highest first month ever, a landslide over the former $35 million record set by Indiana in September 2019. The state of Tennessee earned takes of $2.4 million for November.
The lottery board said that 80% of the tax will be allocated to the state’s Lottery Education Fund, 15% to the General Fund for local governments and the remaining 5% to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services – allocated to gambling-addiction support programs.
Prior to the launch, state officials projected that Tennessee’s first year of legalized sports betting will generate $41 million for the state, $7.6 million for local governments and $2.5 million for responsible gambling programs. With more operators lined up to launch soon, these numbers can even be higher.
In comparison to New Jersey which is currently the country’s largest sports-betting market, the Garden State didn’t get to $130 million/month until month 4, when in raked $183.9. Pennsylvania that is the nation’s third sports-betting market only surpassed the $130 million mark on month 11 with $194.5 million earned in September 2019.
Although one of the youngest members to join the legalized sports-betting states, November figures put Tennessee in 7th place in the US for wagers. This is behind New Jersey, Nevada (pending the November data release), Indiana and Colorado. With Colorado also setting its own state record of $231.2 million in November.
All four sports betting operators that launched in the state offered sign up welcome offers, including:
- BetMGM: 100% match on your first deposit up to $500
- DraftKings: First deposit bonus up to $1,000
- FanDuel: Risk free bet up to $1,000
- Tennessee Action 24/7: First deposit match up to $100
There are also three more sportsbook operators that are in the final stages of approval and will be launching soon in Tennessee:
- William Hill
Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove said to the press: ‘In our role as the regulator of this industry, we are focused on establishing and supporting responsible and competitive sports wagering program in Tennessee.’ Referring to the successful launch, she added: ‘These numbers are encouraging as we work to protect the customer, promote fairness in sports and regulate this new Tennessee industry.’
Local sports are crucial when it comes to legal sports betting in individual states. Tennessee is home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans which are having a fantastic season now, leading the AFC South with a 10-5 record. The state also has University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt which are two of the NCAA college football Power Five conferences. And once the NFL and NCAA Football seasons subside, the state’s NBA Memphis Grizzlies will spring into action.
So everything together is expected to bring a bright future for Tennessee sports betting. Although the state is ranked as the 16th populous state in the nation with a population of 6.89 million, it has shown it can break the record of bigger states. So watch this space.
If you are over 21, living in Tennessee, or even if just visiting the state, you can open an account easily and safely in minutes. All you need in order to join the action is a computer or mobile device, and you can join the action and place bets on your favorite sports, teams and events. While at it, don’t forget to claim a generous welcome bonus available if you sign up through BestAppBet.