Tuesday, Nov. 1, marks two years since legal mobile sportsbooks went live in Tennessee. The state’s sports wagering market has enjoyed an eventful two years, welcoming major operators into the market, changing regulators, and surpassing $5 billion in handle.
When mobile sports betting platforms first launched in the state, the state’s lottery regulated sports wagering. That changed on Jan. 1, 2022, when the Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) took on the role.
Mary Beth Thomas, the SWAC’s executive director, started work on Nov. 1, 2021. While she only had a couple months to prepare the organization to take over as the state’s sports betting regulator, Thomas feels comfortable with where the SWAC sits.
“I feel like we have found our regulatory groove so to speak — and things are running smoothly,” Thomas told Sports Handle in August.
Fresh off a record revenue month
The SWAC reported a single-month gross revenue record of $46.3 million in September. It marked the first time operators in the state surpassed $40 million in gross revenue in one month.
“With the beginning of the football season, we have really seen an uptick, and business is booming in Tennessee,” Thomas said during a recent SWAC meeting.
Since the mobile sports betting launch in Tennessee in November 2020, bettors have wagered $5.6 billion. Gross gaming revenue is over $500 million, and adjusted gaming revenue is just a shade above $435 million.
Tennessee has received $87.6 million in tax revenue from sports wagering, and that doesn’t yet include numbers from October 2022.
September #SportsBetting numbers for #Tennessee via SWAC, a 🧵. All-time thru 9/22
GGR WR: 9.12%
AGR WR: 7.78%
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) October 19, 2022
The state’s mobile-only sports betting system seems to be effective from a financial perspective. And while some customers in some states prefer the experience of wagering at a physical sportsbook, mobile sports wagering offers easy access to a wide array of bettors.
Customers in Tennessee can choose from among several well-known sportsbooks, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Barstool Sportsbook, Betly Sportsbook, Hard Rock Sportsbook, SuperBook Sports, Tennessee Action 24/7, Wagr, and WynnBET are also live in the state, giving customers a range of options.
“I think that states with online and retail sportsbooks see the majority of their wagering activity online, at least from what I have heard from regulators in other states,” Thomas said. “Tennesseans seem to really enjoy online sports wagering.”
So what does the future hold for Tennessee sports betting? Likely more of the same. The state’s online wagering market seems satisfactory for customers, and financial figures impress during football season.
“I think that our state offers a safe environment for players to have fun engaging in sports wagering, and I think that the numbers will continue to grow,” Thomas said.
Football is the most popular betting sport across the U.S., and it certainly doesn’t hurt that teams from the state are thriving. The Tennessee Volunteers are the No. 2-ranked team in college football, and they face No. 1 Georgia this weekend in a game sure to interest in-state bettors. The Tennessee Titans currently lead the AFC South at 5-2, and they’ve made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Adding retail sportsbooks doesn’t seem to be a priority for the state, but other mobile operators are expected to eventually enter the Tennessee market.
Fubo Sportsbook planned to enter the market, although it was recently announced that FuboTV ended sportsbook operations. Bally Bet and ZenSports are among the other operators likely to enter the state’s sports wagering market in the near future.