Opaque State Report Shows TN Sports Betting Handle, Revenue Up

Posted on April 28, 2021
TN sports betting

The TN sports betting market returned to growth in March as both handle and revenue increased over February.

Total handle was $205.9 million, the second-best month the still-young Tennessee market has had so far. Only January and its $211.3 million in handle was better.

Sports betting revenue was $16.1 million for a 7.8% hold. That translated to $3.2 million in taxes to the state.

TN sports betting handle should pass the $1 billion handle mark this month as its five-month total sits at $905.8 million.

How much did March Madness help TN sports betting?

This is where we would detail all of the betting details on March Madness if the Tennessee Education Lottery gave them.

The TEL’s monthly sports betting report is one of the least transparent in the industry. It gives no details other than handle, revenue and taxes, and even rounds off those numbers.

Even without concrete data, though, March Madness is one of the biggest betting events in the industry. There is little question it helped fill the handle gap left by football when February’s results tapered off.

Tennessee does not allow player props for college games but it does allow betting on in-state teams. Handle might have been even higher if the fifth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers were not upset by Oregon State in the first round.

Legislative activity continues in TN

March was about much more than basketball betting for the TEL. The Lottery commission handed down the first-ever sportsbook suspension in the United States after Action 24/7 reported multiple cases of debit card fraud on its platform.

That suspension was overturned, partially because the TEL did not follow its rules and procedures correctly. The TEL then learned it could not restart the process because its suspension of Action’s license was seen as a final action by the board at the time.

A legislative proposal that could give the TEL some help is still alive. SB 588 passed the Senate last week and HB 1267 was supposed to be heard in a House committee Monday. That hearing was rolled to the next Government Operations calendar.

Both bills would Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Committee to take action without the TEL Board of Directors. Right now, the committee has no official regulatory power.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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