Tennessee has posted its latest sports betting handle, witnessing the best-ever debut in US sports betting history with $131.4 million in November. The previous record-holder was Indiana that recorded $35.2 million in September 2019, which Tennessee has now shattered.
According to the numbers released on Wednesday by the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), the state’s gross wagers for November totaled $131,444, 523, with sports betting revenue of $13.2 million, another record for the state. More importantly, the state drew $2.4 million in taxes from sports betting.
The Volunteer State was the first US state to experiment an online-only sports betting when it launched the industry on November 1.
A Debut Month Like No Other
These figures show an impressive start for Tennessee, especially considering that most states with mobile sports betting require time to cross the $100 million mark. To compare Tennessee’s debut, New Jersey, the national leader in sports betting, did not cross $130 million in a month until its fourth month. It took Pennsylvania, currently the third-largest market of the country, 11 months to surpass that total.
Obviously, the Volunteer State had the advantage to launch amid the NFL which helped pave their way to the best US sports betting debut in history. “The best-ever launch for mobile sports betting is probably a surprise to some, but the state also debuted with highly favorable circumstances,” said sports analyst Dustin Gouker. “First, it launched in the heart of the NFL and college football season… and with the leading operators in the nation jumping in early to capitalize on the favorable gaming season, it was a debut month like no other.
Still, An Unpredictable Market!
Tennessee Education Lottery CEO, Rebecca Paul Hargrove, expressed caution while predicting the future from its first month. “November’s figures include adjustments besides indicating potential. However, it’s only one month in an unpredictable year.” She said that it is difficult to project the future out from this single month, adding that as the new industry in the Volunteer State evolves, we will continue to work with registrants and licensees for a responsible and competitive sports betting program.
While talking about the record debut, Jessica Welman analyzed the situation that somewhat echoed Hargrove’s. Jessica said through Tennessee has enormous potential, it has been an untested market, making it nearly unpredictable how bettors would react to start. However, optimism remains with the side of a market that topped the previous best debut by almost $100 million. Jessica said, “that verdict is now in, and it is a good one.”
Unpredictability aside, November’s figures are likely to place Tennessee seventh-largest sports betting market of the nation behind New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Colorado.
No Sportsbook-Specific Data
Though the month has been highly lucrative for all four operators, one downside to the TEL’s monthly report is that it lacks crucial detail regarding the individual performance of the sportsbook operators. At best, the report offers details regarding handle, payouts, and taxes.
Four sports betting operators launched in the first month, including DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest companies in the US. The third is BetMGM, and the fourth is the local sportsbook, Action 24/7. In addition to these four sportsbooks, there are at least four more operators looking for a possible launch in Tennessee. They are BetAmerica, William Hill, WynnBET, and ZenSports.
During a previous Lottery meeting, Hargrove hinted at a special meeting to get those operators launched before the turn of the year. However, a special meeting is now scheduled for January 6, meaning the launch would not be possible in 2020.