Tennessee March Sports Betting Handle Up 17% Despite Controversy

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Despite embroiling in one of the biggest controversies in US sports betting history in March, Tennessee sports betting posted a remarkable handle of $206 million. According to the latest figures released Friday by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TEL), the March handle saw a nearly 17% increase from February’s $176.3 million.

It was the first time that the NCCA tournament coincided with the Tennessee sports betting market. March also touched almost the Volunteer State’s record handle of $211.3 million set in January, since the regulated market went live last November.

Revenue Details

The state’s gross payouts for the month were $187.9 million, which was up 15% from February’s $163.3 million. The adjusted gross income came in at $16.1 million, representing a 23.8% increase from February.

Volunteer State drew $3.2 million in privilege tax, which is 23.1% more than February’s $2.6 million.

Several reasons were responsible for the rebound in Tennessee sports betting, including March Madness wagering, three additional days in March, and two more operators- William Hill and TwinSpires that went live in the month.

Caesars Entertainment-owned William Hill launched in the Volunteer State on March 11. TwinSpires, a subsidiary of Churchill Downs, began its operations on March 19. Both companies were in time to take bets for March Madness.

Tennessee Sports Betting, A Shock Absorber

Tennessee sports betting remained almost unaffected by one of the biggest controversies in US sports betting history that came to light last month.

The Volunteer State launched in November with the country’s first online-only sports market with four operators- FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Nashville-based Action 24/7.

On March 18, Tennessee sports betting saw the first-ever suspension of any sportsbook in the US when the Tennessee Lottery froze the Action 24/7’s license. However, the state bettors did not allow that incident to affect the overall sports betting activity. March numbers were also the second time since launch that the Volunteer State topped $200 million.

 Overall, so far more than $900 million has been wagered in Tennessee sports betting since November. The Volunteer State’s March handle pushed the accumulative US sports betting handle to over $50 billion since June 2018.

Why Did TEL Suspend Action 24/7?

The Tennessee Lottery Board suspended the locally owned Action 24/7’s license indefinitely after finding illegal activities including money laundering, credit card fraud, and illegal proxy betting on its platform.

However, days later, a Nashville judge ordered the TEL to reinstate Action 24/7’s sports betting license in a temporary injunction, which came after the judge found the lottery acted “erroneously” throughout the process leading to the sportsbook’s suspension.

It came after Action 24/7 filed a lawsuit against the TEL officials on March 22 in an attempt to reverse the suspension.

The temporary injunction found that the suspended sportsbook clearly showed the likelihood that its rights were being violated.

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