Tennessee Clears $1 Billion In 2021 Sports Betting Handle

Tennessee became the ninth state with legalized sports betting to clear $1 billion in handle in the 2021 calendar year after the state’s Education and Lottery Corporation reported Tuesday that $174.5 million worth of wagers were accepted in June.

The handle was an 8.5% improvement on May’s figure of $160.9 million and the overall amount of bets placed through the first six months is slightly more than $1.1 billion. While Virginia is ahead of the Volunteer State for 2021 handle in what are currently the only two digital-only marketplaces, Tennessee’s average of $161.27 wagered per citizen is slightly higher than Virginia’s ($155.47) through the first six months of the year.

Hold and revenue rising too

Handle was not the only thing up from May as operators posted their first double-digit hold since launching last November at 10.49%. That resulted in gross sports wagering revenue of $18.3 million, a 20% increase from May and the second-highest monthly total behind only the nearly $20.9 million collected in January.

Approximately $2.2 million in revenue was promotional play, leaving $16.1 million in adjusted gaming revenue. That allowed the state to collect more than $3.2 million in tax receipts based on the 20% rate and maintain its per-month tax revenue average of more than $3 million. Tennessee has generated more than $24.3 million in tax revenue in its first eight months of sports betting.

Tennessee will likely reach the halfway point of 2021 ranked fourth among the 19 states and District of Columbia for sports betting tax revenue with nearly $18.9 million, trailing only Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has yet to publish its June numbers, but with a 6.75% tax rate, the Silver State would need more than $102 million in revenue to move up from fifth.

Overall, the Volunteer State looks to be settling into a range between $170 million and $185 million in monthly handle — June marked the fourth time handle landed in that $15 million window. That, of course, is likely to change come the fall with NFL and college football wagering available over the course of an entire season for the first time as well as the NFL embracing legalized wagering after making FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars — all sportsbook operators in Tennessee — official betting partners.

Photo: Aleksandrs Muiznieks / Shutterstock