Tennessee legal online sports betting has charged out of the gate in its first full month in November 2020, recording the best-ever first full month for any sports betting state in history.
Figures released last week by the state’s sports betting regulatory authority, the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) showed that the state’s 4 online sportsbooks – DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and local Tennessee operator Action 24/7 – combined for sports betting handle of $131.4 million in November. The Volunteer State’s betting revenue totaled $13.2 million, of which, the state government’s split came in at a shade less than an impressive $2.4 million.
The form of the NFL season’s surprise packet, the heavily supported local team, the Tennessee Titans, will without any doubt have added to the Volunteer State making its record state sports betting start.
Roll into those facts, that the population of Tennessee is only around 7 million, makes the state’s first-ever month numbers all the more impressive. Tennessee’s sports bettors welcomed online sports betting to the state by wagering more than $27.4 million in its first full week of operations and things only picked up from there throughout the remainder of the month.
What is more difficult to assess at this stage is if sports bettors from Tennessee’s neighboring states like Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Georgia crossed the borders, signed up and placed legal online sports wagers within Tennessee’s state lines.
However, Chief Executive Officer of the TEL, Rebecca Paul Hargrove attempted to contain the excitement in the incredible result, noting that November high water mark in sports wagering could possibly be an aberration.
Putting the Tennessee November Sports Betting Result into perspective
Tennessee is in a unique place in the U.S. as the nation’s first online-only legal sports wagering market. Historically, there have been no casinos in Tennessee, in a traditionally gambling-averse state, that in a shock move to many, found for sports betting in the summer of 2019.
The TEL have made no restrictions on the number of online sports betting operator licenses that may be issued; however, licensees and suppliers must meet strict suitability requirements.
“Our first month of sports wagering in Tennessee comes at a unique time in the world, let alone the sports world”, TEL’s Hargrove wrote in a media release.
He continued, “November’s figures include adjustments and indicate potential. It is only one month in an unpredictable and extraordinary year, making it difficult to begin extrapolating out from this single month. As this new industry in Tennessee evolves, we will continue to work with licensees and registrants in support of a responsible and competitive sports wagering program.”
Indiana online sportsbooks took in around $100 million in sports wagers in their first full month back in 2019 and has a similar population to Tennessee by way of comparison. However, Indiana does have land-based sportsbooks in addition to its digital platforms, and looking at the number of online operators, Indiana had three operators for their launch in November 2019 as compared to four in Tennessee in November 2020.
Looking to Indiana as to where Tennessee sports betting might be in 12 months from, the Hoosier State reported a record $251 million sports betting handle in November 2020, culminating in a record $25.3 million in adjusted gross revenue for the state’s online and land-based sportsbooks.
One important difference to note for the future is that the TEL do not break down sports betting statistics either by sport nor operator, and make their sports handle announcement via press release, rather than providing official revenue reports as occurs in most other legal sports betting states.