The Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) reported on Wednesday a record-breaking January for sportsbook in Tennessee, with the eight active sportsbooks in the state accepting $386.1 million in wagers in January, up 83% from $211.3 million in January 2021. January’s total topped the record $375.3 million that was collected in October.
Gross revenue was up 47% year over year, to $36.2 million from $20.9 million in January 2021. Promotions whittled adjusted revenue to $29.1 million, which yielded $5.8 million in tax revenue.
January’s numbers did not include most Super Bowl wagering, which the SWAC also released Wednesday. Tennessee sportsbooks collected $23.1 million in bets on the Super Bowl, up from $15 million in 2021. Operators won $3.4 million on those bets for a particularly high 14.9% hold on the big game.
The Super Bowl is always going to bring significant action, but five weekends of football in January that included an extra week of the NFL’s regular season and an expanded playoff was a particular boon for sportsbooks,” said Alec Cunningham, an analyst for PlayTenn.com. “With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just ahead, sportsbooks should continue to see high betting volume numbers before seasonally tapering off in the spring.”
In the 15-month span through January 31, Tennessee has reaped more than $50 million in taxes. The state’s nine licensed operators pay an annual fee of $750,000.
The original sportsbooks to operate in Tennessee were BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings, along with Nashville start-up Action 24/7. Four more sportsbooks were added in 2021 — Caesars, TwinSpires, WynnBet, and Barstool — while Nashville-based Wagr became the newest operator in January, as reported by Main Street Nashville.
“There are several potential operators who have applied for licensure that will be reviewed by the council soon – so there may be several new platforms available to Tennessee sports wagering players in the near future,” said the executive director of SWAC, Mary Beth Thomas, which on January 1 replaced the Tennessee Education Lottery as the state’s regulatory board.
Thomas helped launch the popular fantasy sports gaming program in Tennessee, which helped her prepare for her current duties overseeing online sports gambling.
“Fantasy sports was really the precursor to online sports wagering. Several of the same operators who offer daily fantasy sports contests also offer online sports betting in Tennessee,” she said. “While the method of play is different, many of the same regulatory requirements exist in both spaces — identity and age verification, operator requirements for the protection of player funds and reserves, and integrity issues involving sporting events, to name a few.
Thomas said the most recent figures for January and Super Bowl LVI show the future of gambling in Tennessee has a huge upside.
“I think that the growth really depends on the platforms and offerings developed by the sports wagering operators and the subsequent interest and engagement of Tennessee players,” she concluded.