Tennessee Ready For Sports Betting

The state of Tennessee legalized sports betting in May 2019, but an official launch date has been pushed back several times. Now it appears that legislators are targeting going live on November 1, and the state took a huge first step earlier this week.

The Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery held a special meeting on Wednesday night, reviewing three applications that had previously been submitted. BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all received a conditional license to offer sports betting in the state.

The Sports Wagering Committee met for more than three hours on Wednesday night and they took a close look at each application from the biggest operators in the industry. A final decision is expected to be made on October 5, allowing these three companies to launch betting on November 1.

Since Tennessee legalized sports betting in May 2019, there have been six other states to offer wagering. A number of these states have been in the Midwest region of the United States, providing plenty of competition for Tennessee.

Sports betting has been a long time coming in Tennessee, but it appears that the state is ready to take the next step in November. Tennessee will launch mobile-only sports betting though, as retail sports betting has not been legalized.

Strange Rules/Regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee has adopted some interesting rules and regulations for their sports betting industry, and it might limit the amount of operators that enter. High tax rates and an unprecedented hold rate are just a few of the underwhelming laws that were passed by Tennessee lawmakers.

The hold rate imposed by lawmakers is set at 10 percent, which has a significant impact on the sports betting industry. Sportsbooks will be forced to adjust the lines that they offer to bettors, or they will be looking at a significant amount of revenue.

Sports betting operators are also being charged a $750,000 licensing fee, which is one of the highest rates in the industry. Along with a high licensing fee, sports betting is also taxed at a rate of 20 percent.

Most states that have recently legalized and launched sports betting have put in rules and regulations to encourage new operators to enter the market, but that isn’t the case in Tennessee. Operators are still likely to apply for a license, but it will come at a heavy cost.

Missing Out on Huge Run of Sports

Tennessee has taken so much time to launch sports betting that there has been plenty of revenue left on the table. Not allowing residents to wager for almost 18 months is a major problem, but the state also missed out on a great opportunity over the last few months.

Other states around the country have posted record-breaking numbers in August, and the same is expected in September. The entire sports betting industry was nearly shut down from March through May, but things have turned around in a hurry.

If Tennessee is able to launch sports betting on November 1st, the state will likely see some big numbers thanks to the National Football League. The Tennessee Titans are one of the most popular teams in the state, and they will still be in the middle of their 2020 regular season in November.

The Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League will be another popular betting choice in the state as will Tennessee Volunteers football and college basketball. Even though Tennessee missed out on a lot of revenue, look for the state to make up for that in a hurry.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.