Tennessee’s Sports Betting Slowdown Is In Full Swing

Posted on June 29, 2022

Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council has released its May 2022 report for sports betting in the state.

Overall wagering activity saw a decrease compared to the previous month of April. The state, on the other hand, logged its best month of privilege tax earnings since January.

Tennessee sports betting continues summer decline

Players wagered $261.5 million in May, revealing an anticipated decline in wagering activity from April.

Tennessee’s nine active sportsbooks returned roughly $234.2 million of that sum to bettors while pocketing $23.8 million in adjusted gross income between them.

The total privilege tax collected by the state for the month of May amounted to just under $4.8 million, providing a valuable addition to Tennessee’s collections to date. In total, Tennessee has gathered more than $60 million in taxes from sports betting — a 20% cut of operator AGI.

Wagering slowdown began in April

Tennessee sports betting’s annual summer slumps originally crept in this April when bettors wagered only $292 million on sports betting apps during the month.

Aside from perhaps the World Snooker Championship, April’s sporting events offered only limited wagering opportunities to sports fans. Golf’s biggest annual event, the Masters, kicked off the month’s major events. The start of the NBA finals and the end of college basketball’s March Madness served as April’s other two highlights.

Come May, the 2022 NBA finals started really heating up, generating more excitement from fans and bettors alike. The PGA Championship, French Open and NHL postseason play also contributed to May’s overall handle.

More sportsbooks, more losses

Unlike April, May featured nine live operators throughout the entire month. Superbook Sports made its Tennessee launch on Wednesday, April 27, contributing just four days of action to April’s total. May was the sports betting app’s first full month in the state.

This addition resulted in more options for players and more spend on advertising than ever before. As the SWAC’s May wagering report revealed, however, Volunteer State bettors struggled to stay engaged.

Despite wagering less overall, players ultimately ended the month of May with more losses than they did in April. Although they wagered roughly $30 million less in May, sportsbooks still walked away with over $23 million in adjusted gross income both months.

Monthly wagering hasn’t been this low in the state since Sept. 2021. That doesn’t come as any real surprise, though. Bettors proved similarly lackluster last May. Year over year, wagering activity is up nearly 63% from May 2021 — a month where Tennessee’s seven live sportsbooks took in $160.9 million in wagers.

Potential June betting boost

Judging by June 2021 trends, June 2022 could reveal a slight uptick in wagering activity compared to May. June wagering options expanded somewhat for bettors, featuring the riveting end of the NBA Finals along with the NHL Stanley Cup, the US Open and Wimbledon.

And since the Boston Celtics (featuring Tennessee’s very own Grant Williams) advanced all the way to the NBA Finals, it’s safe to assume that plenty of Tennesseans were keeping tabs on NBA postseason play.

Tennessee likely isn’t done with its summer lulls quite yet, though. July and August have also proven to be traditionally slow months before activity kicks back up in September with the start of football season.

Photo by Dreamstime / Ljupco
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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