The state of Tennessee officially launched sports betting on November 1, and the first month proved to be a record-setting month. It took the Tennessee Education Lottery much longer than anticipated to launch sports betting, but it appears that it was worth the wait.
For the first month, the sports betting handle totaled more than $131.4 million, the highest first month total for any market in the United States. A number of factors led to these massive numbers, but it shows the potential in the sports betting market in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) did not breakdown the total handle by individual sportsbook, so it is unclear which operator has emerged as the early leader. DraftKings and FanDuel have both reported that they are pleased with the success they have found early on in the state.
Launching in the middle of the NFL season was one of the most significant factors leading to this record-breaking month. The NFL dominated the betting action in Tennessee, and sportsbooks featured several bonuses and promotions around the Tennessee Titans.
Tennessee is also the first state to launch online-only sports betting as there are no retail sportsbooks available. The state does not have any retail casinos, and retail sports betting is not expected to be offered at any time.
The education fund in Tennessee will receive 80% of the tax revenue from the sports betting industry in the state. The General Fund will receive 15% of the revenue, and the other 5% will be used to create programs that target problem gambling.
Despite a 10% hold requirement for operators, Tennessee has been able to attract some of the biggest names in the industry. Tennessee also has a local sportsbook, Action247 Network, available to sports bettors in the state.
Can Tennessee Keep Up?
The first month is an excellent sign for Tennessee sportsbooks, but there is still plenty of work to be done. The entire sports betting industry posted a handle o more than $3.25 billion in October, and that number is expected to rise in November.
New Jersey recently announced a $934 million in sports handle in November, as that state continues to set new sports betting records. Nevada and Pennsylvania are second and third on the list, while Illinois has emerged as a real threat in the US.
New Jersey needed four months to reach the $131 million in handle that Tennessee was able to post. It took Pennsylvania nearly a year to reach that total, but things really took off for those states in 2020.
Tennessee is expected to add new operators in 2021, but it is unclear how many sports betting licenses will be available. Another threat to Tennessee will be that Michigan and Virginia are set to launch mobile betting, which could take some business away from the state.
It was a huge first month for Tennessee, but now it’s up to the state to continue to post big numbers.