Tennessee Sports Betting Handle Reaches $27m in First Week

  • Total payouts in week one were $23.9m, tax revenue amounted to $509,000
  • FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM saw record opening-day handles
  • WynnBET, William Hill, and BetAmerica are currently seeking licenses in the state
  • Tennessee is the first US state to launch an online-only sports betting sector
  • Betting activity expected to soar with the NFL and college football seasons up and running
two people bet on their cell phones as a laptop screen shows an American football pitch
Total handle for the first week of legal sports betting in Tennessee was over $27m across four sportsbooks that are currently live in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A promising start for the state

Legal online sports betting in Tennessee saw total handle of $27.4m in its first full week. The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) Sports Wagering Advisory Council announced on Monday that payouts amounted to $23.9m for the period of November 1-8. Tax revenue for the first week was $509,000 across the four sportsbooks currently live in the state.

payouts amounted to $23.9m for the period of November 1-8

The first day of sports betting was November 1, an NFL betting Sunday that generated total handle of $5.1m between the four operators – FanDuel, DraftKings, Tennessee Action 24/7, and BetMGM.

Tennessee Action 24/7 is the only one among the four companies that does not have a sportsbook in another state. The opening day handles of the other three operators exceeded those for their first-day launches in any other state. A BetMGM spokesperson said the Tennessee online launch “went incredibly well”, being the sportsbook’s biggest-ever new player sign-up day.

American Gambler has projected a total handle amount of $523m in the first month of legal sports betting in Tennessee. This would generate about $7m in tax revenue for the state government.

Other operators looking to launch

The TEL confirmed on Monday that three more operators are currently undergoing licensing approval: WynnBET, William Hill, and BetAmerica. The regulator aims to complete all background checks and grant approvals before the end of 2020. 

the first state in the country to launch an online-only sports betting sector

Tennessee is the first state in the country to launch an online-only sports betting sector, and it does not have a cap on the number of licenses it will issue. It is now the 19th US state to offer legal sports betting. 

Lawmakers legalized the activity in 2019, following a lengthy regulatory review and approval process. The most controversial aspect of the Tennessee sports betting regulations is the requirement for sportsbooks to have a 10% minimum hold on all wager payouts.

Betting activity expected to increase

With the NFL and college football seasons in full flow, there are many bets expected on these events. About 60% of total wagers on football games in week one were for NFL fixtures, with 40% of bets placed on college games.

FanDuel noted that the most-bet-on NFL team in the first week was the Tennessee Titans. BetMGM became the official sports betting partner of the Titans in September. This was the first such deal between a sportsbook and a professional sports team in the state.

One concern the TEL has regarding sportsbook companies in the state is that they are not getting all their promotions and advertising pre-approved. Tennessee’s sports betting regulations state that betting operators need to get the go-ahead at least 30 days before publishing any such material. They must also submit daily reports, which the TEL noted often arrive late or fail to do so altogether. 

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