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US – Football pushes Tennessee sportsbooks to record $257m in September

By - 3 November 2021

A record $257m in bets poured into Tennessee sportsbooks in September, as a full month of college football and the return of the NFL spurred bettors. The new highwater mark is indicative of a market that still has plenty of room for growth.

“As impressive as September was, the Tennessee sports betting market has not nearly reached its potential,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayTenn.com. “Baseball’s postseason and the return of the NBA, coupled with a full month of the NFL, should move Tennessee forward again. The records will continue to fall over the next few months.”

Sportsbooks accepted $257.3m in bets in September, up 78.1 per cent from $144.5m, according to official data released Tuesday by the Tennessee Education Lottery and Sports Wagering Advisory Council. Bettors placed $8.6 million in wagers per day over the 30 days of September, up from $4.7m per day over the 31 days of August.

The handle topped the state’s previous high of $211.3m wagered in January, and marked just the third time since Tennessee launched sports betting in November 2020 that betting surpassed $200m in a month.

Gross revenue set a record, too. Sportsbooks won $25.6m in September, up 93.9 per cent from $13.2m in August, topping the record $20.9m in revenue gained in January. The win led to $16.6m in taxable revenue, which yielded $3.3m in tax revenue.

The return of football was the key to Tennessee’s surge.

“Football is unique in the way it motivates bettors, and sportsbooks got a little help with decent starts in September by the Titans and Volunteers,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayTenn.com. “With local interest in the Atlanta Braves and the start of the Grizzlies season adding to the mix, October should push sportsbooks to yet another level.”

At 9.9 per cent in September, the combined hold for Tennessee’s sportsbooks still hovered near the 10 per cent threshold required by Tennessee regulations. That rule, among others, is still being reviewed by the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

Operators have been outspoken in their concern for the rule, which is unprecedented among US legal sports betting markets.

“It’s remarkable how well Tennessee has performed, and it has even more potential,” Russo said. “Removing the hold requirement would spur competition among operators. And savvy customers who shop for the best odds and promotions would benefit most. That would help grow the market over the long term.”

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