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Tennessee Bettors Stake $27.4m in First Week of Legal Wagering

Figures released by the Tennessee Education Lottery, the organization in charge of the state’s mobile gambling licensing and regulation, show that the industry has hit the ground running, with punters betting $27.4 million in the first seven days.

November 1 was the first legal day of mobile sports betting in the state, and bettors had no shortage of options, with services available from big names such as BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, as well as the state’s local brand Action247.

On the first day alone, the handle was $5.1 million after payments and adjustments, including the 10% fixed payout rate. The revenue totaled $800,000, and licensees paid tax of $160,000 due to Tennessee’s 20% gross revenue levy.

As mentioned, across the first week, a total of $27.4 million was bet, producing revenue of $2.5 million and taxes of $509,000.

The vast majority of the tax revenue, 80%, will be going to the Lottery for Education Account, which is the main recipient of lottery revenues; 15% of it will go to local governments within Tennessee, while the final 5% will go to the state’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Rebecca Paul Hargrove, the President and Chief Executive of the Tennessee Education Lottery, said that the regulator is focused on creating and supporting a “responsible and competitive sports wagering program”. She commented that the numbers are “encouraging,” and the money will help them “protect the consumer, promote fairness in sports, and regulate” the industry. She also highlighted that it is set to be a “crucial” source of funds for state education, local government, and problem gambling services.

Legalized mobile sports wagering became possible after the state legislature passed a bill in April 2019. Governor Bill Lee then passed the bill into law a month later.

Clearly, residents of Tennessee are supporters of the gambling industry. The sports betting figures follow on from record-breaking lottery postings from the first quarter of the fiscal year. There were revenues of $492.8 million for the three months ending September 30, the highest since the lottery was created in 2004.

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