Good ol’ Rocky Top, indeed.
Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council reported a record $405.3 million handle for sports wagering in October, likely fueled in part by having the state’s flagship college football program ranked in The Associated Press Top 10 for most of the month.
It was the first time Tennessee cleared $400 million in handle, and the Volunteers played a key part. Currently ranked fifth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, Tennessee had a signature victory over perennial national power Alabama on Oct. 15 and wins over ranked foes LSU and Kentucky during October. The Vols started November with a loss to reigning College Football Playoff champion Georgia but will continue to draw attention as long as they are in the hunt for one of the four CFP spots come January.
HENDON HOOKER TO JALIN HYATT FOR THEIR FOURTH TD CONNECTION 😳 pic.twitter.com/ymn6PSxh1q
— ESPN (@espn) October 15, 2022
The state’s mobile operators combined for close to $37.3 million in gross revenue for a 9.2% hold. The revenue was 19.4% lower than September’s all-time record of $46.3 million, with the 20.3% increase in handle offset by the win rate dropping more than 4.5 percentage points.
After nearly $2.5 million in deductions, the state was able to levy its 20% tax on $34.8 million and collect nearly $7 million. Tennessee is about $380,000 shy of $50 million in tax receipts for the calendar year and within $5.4 million of $100 million overall. The tax total is also $19.3 million ahead of the first 10 months of 2021.
Handle bump bucks early October report trends
The 8% year-over-year rise in handle stands out in the early national picture for October totals considering other large-market states Iowa and Indiana saw declines in handle compared to October 2021. In the case of separating itself from Indiana — a more like-for-like state in terms of having both pro and college teams — Tennessee currently has two winning football programs inthe Volunteers and Titans, while bettors in Indiana are enduring sub-.500 seasons by both the Hoosiers and Colts.
Operators fared far better this October than the last one, when the 6.1% hold on gross revenue was an all-time low and represented the lowest it’s been in two full years of wagering. Gross revenue was up 62.8% versus 2021, and adjusted revenue was more than double the $17.2 million from last year.
The increase in handle was also just enough to make Tennessee the 10th state to surpass $6 billion in all-time handle. The year’s handle is $30 million shy of $3 billion, a 46.8% increase compared to the first 10 months of 2021. Gross revenue is up 59.1% at $283 million, as the 9.5% win rate is almost three-quarters of a percentage point higher than last year.
The SWAC does not disclose handle and revenue by either operator or sport.