The payout: Online sports betting takes off and pays off in Tennessee

For Tina Hodges, and for the State of Tennessee, the bet seems to have paid off.

Hodges is the president of Action 24/7, the only Tennessee-based online sports betting option among the state’s nine gambling partners, and a startup that takes on some of the biggest names in the gambling industry. Game.

Approved by the state legislature in 2019 and made available in November 2020, sports betting is a growing business in Tennessee. It all started with the state’s regulatory commission working with four online partners, including Nashville-based Action 24/7, as well as national brands FanDuel, Draft Kings and BetMGM.

The online sports betting business got off to a rocky start, with an original debate so contentious that the legislation passed the largely Republican Legislature without the signature of Governor Bill Lee, also a Republican.

“In our first full year of operation, I was often reminded of the pain of starting from scratch and being the only sports betting startup in Tennessee,” says Hodges. “Startups are often at the mercy of others, from vendors to regulators. It’s frustrating not being able to deliver a world-class experience to your customers from day one.”

But the response, at least for Hodges and Action 24/7, has been overwhelmingly positive, she says.

Photo courtesy of Action 24/7/Nashville-based Action 24/7 is the only Tennessee-based online sports betting option among the state’s nine gambling partners. The organization hosts approximately 50 events each week across the state.

“Our live events are so much fun,” she says. “We host approximately 50 events each week across the state, from Johnson City to Dyersburg. We continue to spread awareness that Action 24/7 is locally owned and operated. When people find out, they sign up immediately.”

His team isn’t the biggest in a field that has grown to nine state-approved online partners, but local over big has always been Action 24/7’s selling point, Hodges says.

“Tennessees are loyal and happy to support local brands when they can,” says Hodges, who has added physical locations for deposits or withdrawals in various Tennessee locations, including a couple in Chattanooga.

You want to bet

Sports betting in Tennessee began on November 1, 2020 and the first few months were filled with record per capita numbers. Additionally, Tennessee’s first full year has seen the biggest brand in the US sports landscape get fully invested in sports betting.

“2021 was the year when [National Football League] completely jumped into the sports betting game,” said ESPN gaming writer David Purdum. “The league announced its first official sports betting partners, then allowed ads to run on sports betting during matches.

“The NFL has capped the number of sports betting ads that can run during a game, but we’ve gone from zero to six, which is consistent with other categories like beer. Still, that’s a dramatic change. “

It wasn’t that long ago – think 2016 – when commissioners from every major sports league appeared before the United States Supreme Court to oppose the legalization of sports betting. But the court ruled in favor of betting in 2018, and now it’s legal in more than half of US states, with changes on the horizon for some of the biggest states in the union.

“California, Texas and Florida will be big stories in the years to come when it comes to sports betting,” Purdum said. “When these big states get into sports betting, we’re really going to see massive growth.”

New York launched legalized sports betting in early January. The Action Network, a website based on gambling news, estimated that if New York had legalized sports betting after the New Jersey Supreme Court victory in 2018, New York could have collected about 1, $2 billion in taxes.

In Tennessee, the first three betting months — November and December 2020 and January 2021 — generated the largest bet per person of any state with online-only sports betting, according to TnBets.com, a website that tracks the betting industry in Tennessee and the country.

Tennessee’s first month generated more than $131 million in wagers, which smashed the previous month’s record of $35.2 million wagered in Indiana in September 2019.

Tennessee bettors bet $365.7 million in November 2021, which averages more than $12 million per day. That figure was down from $375.3 million in October, but up almost 180% from November 2020.

The state collected $5.9 million in taxes – 20% of revenue collected from online partners – last November alone. In the full 13 months since sports betting began in Tennessee, the state has collected $41.4 million in taxes, 80% of which goes to the Department of Education, 15% to local governments for infrastructure and 5% to efforts to combat mental illness. health problems and drug addiction.

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council took over sports betting regulatory functions in Tennessee, with the Tennessee Education Lottery playing an advisory role. There will be more states legalized sooner rather than later and there will be more operators in Tennessee in the coming days, Hodges predicts.

Tennessee profits from sports betting

November 2020:

Bet: $131.44M / Operator Revenue: $13.22M

December 2020:

$180.9 million / $13.9 million

January 2021:

$211.3m / $20.9m

February 2021:

$176.3 million / $13 million

March 2021:

$205.9 million / $18 million

April 2021:

$172.4 million / $15.5 million

May 2021:

$160.9 million / $15.4 million

June 2021:

$174.5m / $18.3m

July 2021:

$144.6m / $15.2m

August 2021:

$144.5 million / $13.2 million

September 2021:

$257.3m / $25.6m

October 2021:

$375.3m / $23.3m

“Based on the meeting we had, my best estimate is that six to 10 new operators will join the Tennessee market in 2022,” she says.

This increased number will mean more options for players and more competition – and possibly even contraction – for some of the operators, Purdum said.

“Eventually, I believe we’re going to see some consolidation,” he says. “Right now we have dozens of sports betting operators. I’m not sure the market can support that many operators, so I think at some point we’re going to see a consolidation of sports betting .”

For Action 24/7, the focus will continue to be local, especially with the growing interest and success of baseball from Tennessee and Vanderbilt, Hodges said.

“In 2022, Action 24/7 will continue to offer betting specific to the Tennessee region,” says Hodges. “We created lines for the SEC Baseball Tournament, as well as some (state) boxing and MMA events, which our players loved.

“We listen to our players and work to deliver what they want, such as enhanced promotions with faster access to free bet wins and payouts.”

READ MORE

* Chattanooga business owners have gotten a lifeline from pandemic aid, but remain cautious

* The spike in property values ​​in the Chattanooga area was a Hamilton County record

* Tax period: what is different this year in your tax return

*Trends and timing are driving retirements for some in the Chattanooga area