Tennessee Reports First Sports Betting Handle, Colorado Hits Betting Record

  • Tennessee’s online-only sportsbooks received $131.4m in sports bets in their first month
  • Colorado sportsbooks took in a record monthly handle of more than $231m in November
  • The most bet-on sport in Colorado was football, with $88m on NFL games and $22m for NCAA
  • Michigan and Virginia are getting ready to launch online sports betting in early 2021
Businessman pointing to upward trending curve
Tennessee reported $131.4m in sports betting handle in its industry’s first month, while Colorado bettors plunked down a record $231m in wagers in November. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

November to remember

The first month of legal online sports betting in Tennessee saw a total handle of $131.4m, while Colorado hit a record handle in November of over $231m.

only state in the country currently that only has online sports betting

Tennessee is the only state in the country that only has online sports betting, preferring not to roll out any retail sportsbooks. From the total handle, nearly $2.4m in tax revenue was generated for the state according to the Tennessee Lottery announcement on Wednesday.

Of the total tax revenue, 80% goes toward educational programs, 15% goes to local government needs, while the remaining 5% helps with funding gambling problem treatment. 

Colorado’s sports betting handle increased about 10% from October figures, with the state’s sportsbooks earning $18.3m in revenue. Tax revenue for the state government was slightly less than $800,000. The vast majority of the total handle came from online sportsbooks, with just $4.3m coming through retail operations. 

Rollout of legal sports betting

Sports betting in Tennessee kicked off officially on November 1, with the road to launch taking over 18 months. Those who supported legalization estimated that tax revenue from the activity could be upwards of $50m each year.

only one month in an unpredictable and extraordinary year”

Tennessee Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove spoke about the results, saying: “It is only one month in an unpredictable and extraordinary year, making it difficult to begin extrapolating out from this single month.”

To date, DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7 have licenses in the state, with others awaiting approval.

Colorado launched sports betting back in May and it has seen steady growth since the beginning of the college and NFL football seasons. Of the $231m in bets, $88m were for NFL football and $22m were for college games. Interestingly, table tennis was the sport that received the third most bets. 

Other states readying to launch

A couple of other states are in the process of launching sports betting. Both Virginia and Michigan are planning to have online sportsbooks go live in early 2021. Following launch, Michigan will be the third-biggest state in terms of population with legal online sports betting and Virginia will be fifth-largest. 

The Michigan Gaming Control Board already issued 15 licenses in December to operators. Lawmakers pushed through significant gambling expansion legislation in December 2019, allowing for legal sports betting, online casinos, online poker, and fantasy sports. While the hope was that these platforms would go live in 2020, Michiganders will have to settle for early next year.

In Virginia, sports betting became legal on April 22; regulators are aiming to have sportsbooks up and running in time for the Super Bowl in February. There will be a dozen licenses up for grabs, with 25 operators having reportedly already applied. 

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