It Has Been a Big Month for Tennessee Sports Betting

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Dec 19, 2023 07:00 PM
It Has Been a Big Month for Tennessee Sports Betting

Despite debuting roughly three years ago, Tennessee sports betting continues to experience growth—both financially and functionally.

Sure, there have been down periods and relatively inactive spans. The rollout of online sports betting in Tennessee came in November 2020. At that time, it was part of the minority in the United States. Way fewer than half of the states had dipped their toes into legal sports wagering waters at that point. And whenever a service has been offered for an extensive period of time, it is bound to peak—or at least stall. 

Still, that only makes the occasions in which Tennessee sports betting expands their services and increases their revenue so much more impressive. And believe it or not, over the past month or so, The Volunteer State has done both. Let’s go ahead and dive further into the latest Tennessee sports gambling developments below.

Tennessee Titans Join List of NFL Teams Offering In-Stadium Sports Betting Branding

Revenue generated from betting on the NFL is big for every state. It is even bigger for those with in-market teams. And it is monstrous for states that permit those franchises to partner with online and retail sportsbooks.

Tennessee is now one of those states. The Tennessee Titans are one of nine NFL teams partnering with “Game Sense and BetMGM to do in-stadium responsible gambling promotion during the season.” The partnership will ensure “BetMGM gets visibility on Titans digital assets and in the stadium, including on the video board during replays, as well as exclusive branding of the Titans' in-venue TV studio,” according to the Sports Business Journal.

While agreements of a similar nature are popular throughout the National Football League, this particular alliance wasn’t a given. Tennessee sports betting is unique. They only allow online sports gambling in the state, via a variety of licensed mobile operators. By comparison, most states either legalize both in-person and online sports betting or just on-site gambling. 

To be clear, Tennessee was clearly ahead of the curve with their thinking. Indeed, their commitment to online sports betting was borne from a reluctance to commercialize the state’s casino business. But as it turns out, online sports betting is now the primary revenue driver in the country. In certain sections of the United States, more than 90 percent of legal bets placed are processed through an online operator, even if those states in question have in-person wagering.

At any rate, this online-only model creates a dicey dynamic for on-site partnerships. While teaming up with Game Sense and BetMGM doesn’t suggest Tennessee sports betting will move to retail methods anytime soon, it is, in fact, a big deal.

Another Tennessee Online Sportsbooks is Now Open for Business

After running an extensive beta test in the market, the full version of Fanatics Sportsbook is now available to residents of Tennessee. Their addition means 12 online sportsbooks within the United States are active in The Volunteer State. In addition to Fanatics, these operators include: BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics, Barstool Sportsbook, Tennessee Action 24/7, Betly, SuperBook and Hard Rock Sportsbook.

This launch is significant for three reasons. First and foremost, it’s another option for Tennesseeans looking to enter the sports gambling market. Secondly, it gives Fanatics Sportsbook a three-month start over ESPN Bet, which is expected to debut by the end of this year or the start of 2024.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the introduction of Fanatics Sportsbook and, inevitably, ESPN Bet will put extra pressure on goliath operators FanDuel and DraftKings. 

Up until now, both companies have dominated the Tennessee market with little resistance, despite a slew of other veteran companies operating within state lines. Though Fanatics and ESPN won’t immediately contend for client supremacy, they are expected to aggressively pursue NFL bettors. That subset of customers is a huge part of the FanDuel and DraftKings business models. If Fanatics and ESPN succeed in cannibalizing some of the market share, it could change how online sportsbooks in the United States launch for the foreseeable future.

Amid All These Changes, Tennessee Sports Betting Revenue is on the Rise

Between the launch of a new online sportsbooks and the start of football betting season, Tennessee’s sports gambling enjoyed a measurable boon, according to the most recent reports. The state just released data for the month of August, and as relayed by Legal Sports Report, the “Tennessee sports betting handle rose to $243.4 million in August, up 13.6 percent from July. Revenue was also up about $3 million in the state month-over-month.”

Make no mistake, these are massive increases. Double-digit revenue climbs aren’t typical when states have offered sports betting for the better part of the last half-decade. 

Tennessee, of course, cannot expect such massive upticks every month from now on. This past August just so happened to coincide with the full blown launch of Fanatics Sportsbook. Buoyed by opening promotions, the introduction of a new operator always stands to juice revenue. It might have actually been concerning if Tennessee sports betting revenue didn’t enjoy a sizable bump.

Then again, we can’t just ignore the mounting popularity of online sports betting. More and more states are heavily contemplating the matter if they haven’t legalized it already. This includes a handful of states that at first only sought to approve in-person sports gambling. The fact of the matter is, hardly any industry is growing as rapidly as mobile wagering. People consume so much content and do so much on their phones nowadays. It’s why media companies are so inclined to gear production toward mobile devices. And with many of those media companies now advertising on behalf of online sportsbooks, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing large month-over-month increases during the most popular times in the sports calendar. 

Will this growth trajectory for Tennessee online sports betting sustain over the course of the entire NFL and college football seasons? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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