2021 Taxes Still In Question For TN Sportsbooks As Hold Remains Low

Written By Matthew Waters on March 18, 2022
TN sportsbooks

The Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council still does not have clear 2021 tax information for at least four TN sportsbooks.

Executive Director Mary Beth Thomas told the SWAC about the discrepancies at its February meeting. Thomas confirmed to LSR Wednesday there is still no update on the matter.

The tax data the new regulator received from the Tennessee Education Lottery does not match the data submitted by the operators. Those include:

Why the data matters for TN sportsbooks

Tennessee sportsbooks wanted the mandatory 10% hold to completely disappear when the SWAC took over. That did not happen, but the SWAC did provide a way for operators to not face a formal violation for missing that 10%.

Tennessee’s new regulator changed the rule to allow a “true-up” payment to cover the difference between taxes paid and taxes owed instead of a violation.

That, of course, is impossible to enforce if the SWAC does not have accurate records. The issue might become more complicated as more operators begin to lap their one-year anniversary. Caesars Sportsbook is next up, as it launched under the William Hill brand last March.

Low hold continues in February

Mobile sportsbooks in Tennessee reported a 18.8% handle decrease in February compared to January on a slower sports calendar.

Most US sports betting jurisdictions are reporting similar sequential drops. Tennessee’s February handle of $313.3 million is up 77.7% over last February’s total though.

After deductions, adjusted gross revenue was $15.1 million, which is a 4.8% hold. That is down from a 7.6% hold on January’s record handle.

Combined, operators are holding 6.3% for the first two months of 2022.

March Madness on tap for Tennessee sportsbooks

Tennessee is well aware of March Madness betting right around the corner, thanks to the third-seeded University of Tennessee Volunteers.

The state allows betting on in-state colleges, which means books likely were busy before Thursday afternoon’s Tennessee victory over Longwood.

That does not mean every betting option will be available though. Tennessee does not allow prop bets on individual players, nor does it allow live prop betting.

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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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