Tennessee Sports Bettors Wager Over $2 Billion In Year One

Posted on November 16, 2021

October’s revenue numbers have been announced by Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL). The first year of Tennessee sports betting is now officially in the books, and it was a year to remember.

The Volunteer State has become the fifth-fastest state to surpass $2 billion in wagers.

October shatters previous sports betting records

The TEL’s Sports Wagering Committee convened on Tuesday, Nov. 16 to reveal October’s revenue report and provide a summary on the state’s first year of operation.

Just when Tennessee sports betting seemed to hit its peak in September with a record-high $257.3 million in wagers, bettors shattered that glass ceiling come October.

Player wagering skyrocketed during the final month of this inaugural year, setting a new monthly record of $375.3 million.

This new total stretched a full $118 million higher than September’s record and almost doubled Tennessee’s previous summer slumps.

October’s uptick in wagering was likely due to a packed sports calendar. October had five full weekends of the NFL and college football, in addition to baseball’s post-season and the start of the NBA season.

When it comes to Tennessee sports betting revenue, the state’s eight operating sportsbooks accumulated an adjusted gross income of $17.2 million last month.

The state’s portion of that, which is collected as a 20% privilege tax, amounted to $3.4 million.

Tennessee sports bettors wager $2 billion in one year

Thanks to October’s remarkable conclusion, sports betting was able to celebrate its one-year anniversary in the state by logging yet another record.

Tennessee bettors wagered a whopping $2.335 billion on sports during the first 12 months of action. As a result, Tennessee has now become the fifth-fastest state to surpass $2 billion in bets.

Virginia and New Jersey were the quickest states to accomplish such a feat, doing so in 10 month’s time. Colorado and Illinois then managed to reach the $2 billion mark within 11 months of launch.

This final astounding month of action brought the state’s 12-month grand total to $35.5 million in tax revenue.

Sports betting gives the Tennessee Lottery a run for its money

Compared to the Tennessee Lottery‘s success during the previous year, sports betting made a surprisingly similar dent in the state’s gambling landscape.

Tennesseans spent just over $2 billion playing the lottery last year, which is $335 million less than they wagered on sports during year one.

But in the eyes of the TEL, sports betting is still the significant underdog.

Since it is both the regulator and the operator of the lottery, the TEL is able to maintain a much higher portion of lottery proceeds as a privilege tax.

Whereas sports betting accumulated $35.5 million in privilege tax, lottery purchases generated roughly $500 million in privilege tax.

Moreover, only 80% of sports betting’s privilege tax goes to fund TEL initiatives. The remainder goes to fund local road and infrastructure programs and to enhance the state’s responsible gaming initiatives.

However, compared to the rest of the nation, Tennessee generates more revenue from its sports betting taxes than all but three other states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Tennessee Sports Betting Tax

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council takes over the TEL’s regulatory duties beginning Jan. 1, 2022. The group seems to have ideas of its own when it comes to how the betting’s tax dollars are spent.

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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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