Tennessee sportsbooks reach more than $200m in wagers thanks to March Madness

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March Madness helped Tennessee sportsbooks experience a reversal of fortunes during March, taking more than $200m in bets compared to the state’s first month-on-month decline in February. 

And with two new operators launching in the state, Tennessee’s market took a significant step in its maturation process, according to analysts from PlayTenn.

According to the Tennessee Education Lottery, bettors placed $205.9m in wagers in March, up 16.8% from $176.3m in February, even if it fell short of the record of $211.3m set during the NFL playoffs-boosted January. 

March’s wagers produced $16.1m in adjusted gross income, up 23.8% from $13m in February and only topped by January’s $21.8m. The brisk action in March yielded $3.2m in state taxes.

“Tennessee is beginning to normalize after that initial burst, but March is proof that the state is still very much in a period of significant growth,” said Jessica Welman, lead analyst for PlayTenn.com. “Locals have been quick to embrace sports betting, and operators have invested heavily in the market. That has made up for what has been a somewhat rocky road in the state.”

With March’s bets, Tennessee sportsbooks have now generated $905.8m in wagers since November’s launch, falling just shy of becoming the quickest US state to reach $1bn in lifetime handle.

“Even with the early knockout of Tennessee, the state’s lone representative in this year’s NCAA Tournament, March Madness was still a huge draw,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayTenn.com. “It has been an interesting ride so far in Tennessee, but the foundation of the market remains strong.” 

But the success hasn’t come without issues, including the TEL’s decision in March to suspend Action 24/7, which was then reinstated a week later with a court-ordered injunction. 

Coincidentally, while Action 24/7 was momentarily suspended in March, two new operators launched. William Hill and TwinSpires joined DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action 24/7 in Tennessee, adding two recognizable brands.

While Tennessee does not release data on individual operators, analysts at PlayTenn.com believe that the three leaders, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, are in a neck-and-neck race for the market lead. And it’s too early to tell whether either of the two upstarts in the state can gain significant market share. 

“William Hill and TwinSpires have the potential to shake up the market a bit, but it will be difficult for either of them to displace any of the top three operators in the market,” Russo said. “Still, it is a sign of an increasingly robust market that new operators are launching, and we expect more to come before the kickoff of the 2021 NFL and college football seasons.”