Tennessee legal online sportsbooks have continued their incredible start by motoring to an incredible 38% increase in December 2020 in what was only the second full month of legal sports wagering in the Volunteer State. It comes on the back of the state of Tennessee recording the biggest ever debut month by any legal online sports betting state in November 2020. Naturally, that makes it the best two-start ever for any state in U.S. sports betting history.
Tennessee State Tax Coffers Begin to Fill
The state’s regulatory body, the Tennessee Lottery (TEL), announced figures for December of $180.9 million in sports betting handle generating almost $3.1 million in revenue, and most importantly from a sports bettor’s point of view, $167 million in gross payouts. Impressively, all three numbers topped the totals from the record-setting November opening month.
Across the first two months of legal sports wagering in Tennessee, $5.4 million of taxes has already been generated to assist the Volunteer State’s residents. 80% of the tax revenue goes into a state education account that mostly funds post-secondary scholarships. Another 15% goes toward local government needs, while 5% targets gambling problem treatment programs.
The numbers already make Tennessee the 7th largest sports betting state in the nation. According to leading sports betting industry analyst Dustin Gouker;
“Tennessee launched under near-perfect conditions and that can be seen in the early results. Even with added competition from Virginia now going live, Tennessee’s start has established the state as a significant player in the U.S. I don’t see anything that will stop the market’s momentum in the short-term.” Gouker explained.
The reasons behind the quick start in Tennessee
Tennessee’s extraordinarily hot start can be credited to a number of significant factors. To begin with, the state launched its sports wagering industry with exclusively online sports betting. Secondly, with no bricks-and-mortar sportsbooks or casinos in the state, there is no in-person registration requirement for online sports betting, which can artificially dampen a sports betting market – ask Nevada authorities who know only too well about that. Thirdly, none of Tennessee’s seven neighboring states offer online sports betting and only two, Mississippi and Arkansas, are home to any bricks-and-mortar sports betting. Finally, the playoff run of the favorite local NFL team, the Tennessee Titans, spurred a ton of local interest and both the NHL and the NBA restarting for the respective 2020/21 season did not hurt either.
Additionally, Tennessee has 4 excellent operators servicing the state in licensed and regulated sportsbooks, DraftKings, FanDuel, Action 24/7 and BetMGM. More quality operators are expected to arrive soon, with TEL approving the licenses of William Hill, Twin Spires (to operate as BetAmerica) and WynnBet. Seven more approved Tennessee operators are set to be announced soon.
The arrival of superb operators into the Tennessee market has helped fuel the early market growth according to Jessica Welman, another top sports wagering expert;
“Having FanDuel and DraftKings, the nation’s two largest operators, in place at launch has helped fuel Tennessee’s surge. But more high-quality operators will help mature the market. Tennessee launched with what many thought were a lot of question marks, but it is proving to be ‘The Little Engine that Could’. As good as Tennessee’s start has been, the best days are still to come” Welman said.
Whether the boom start can continue into January is debatable as traditionally after the December highs, sports betting usually backs off in January before the heady days of February come fueled by Super Bowl wagering. However, Tennessee continues to surprise and do the traditional differently. Watch this space as the adventure unfolds.