Tennessee Sees Sports Betting Jump
The sports betting industry in the state of Tennessee posted some impressive numbers in March after falling a bit in February.
The Tennessee Education Lottery announced that the total sports betting handle for the month was $205.9 million.
There was some hope that March would help set a new state record for sports betting handle, but it fell just below the $211.3 million mark set in January. This growth is still promising for a state that just launched sports betting in November 2020.
The February sports betting handle was just $176.3 million, but it was a slow month for the entire US industry. Sports betting handle increased by nearly 17 percent in March and almost $30 million overall.
March saw the launch of two new operators in the state, which helped give the industry a boost. Up until then, the TN Sports betting options looked quite sparse in comparison to other states such as NJ, CO, PA, & IN. All of which had at least 6 or more operators for bettors to choose from. The impressive numbers last month were also aided by the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is always one of the biggest betting events of the year, and it didn’t disappoint.
William Hill launched sports betting on March 11, and TwinSpires joined the market on March 19. Both operators had targeted a launch prior to the start of March Madness, and both were able to launch just in time.
The gross payouts for March also saw a massive jump up to $187.8 million. That number was just $163.3 million in February, but a drop in the total betting handle played a role in that.
The state of Tennessee is only concerned with the tax dollars generated from sports betting, and it was a good month on that front as well. The state collected $3.2 million in privilege tax from the industry after bringing in $2.6 million in February. There are no casinos in Tennessee so all wagering done in the state must be carried out online.
Even though there are more operators available in the state, the next few months are expected to bring a slight drop in numbers. The industry likely won’t challenge the record number for sports betting handle until the upcoming NFL season.
Sports Betting Bill Moves to House
The Tennessee Senate recently passed a bill that would change the top governing body of the sports betting industry. SB 588 now heads to the House, where most believe it will be passed as well.
This bill would put the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee in charge of the sports betting industry and remove that position from the Tennessee Education Lottery. Both groups currently work together, but it is the TEL that is in the top position.
The Sports Wagering Advisory Committee is made up of nine members that were all appointed for the position. This group includes lawmakers, lawyers, and others in law enforcement.
Many lawmakers in the state of Tennessee are unhappy with how the TEL has dealt with various issues since the industry launched on Tuesday, and they are seeking to make a change.
Some question the legitimacy of the SWAC, though, as only one member of that group has any background in the gaming industry. This bill will be important to follow over the next few weeks.
Check back for more TN sports betting news and the latest sports news in The Volunteer State.
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