Bettors wager $131.4M in first month of legal sports betting in Tennessee


A mobile football game app is displayed at a Buffalo Wild Wings, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in Las Vegas.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Bettors in Tennessee wagered more than $4 million a day on average in the first month of legal sports betting.

According to the Tennessee Education Lottery, which oversees the licensing and regulation of online sports wagering in the state, betters wagered a total of $131,444,523 in November. TEL reports betting operators in November paid out $118,219,615 of winnings.

Licensed sports betting operators paid $2,363,918 in taxes to the state last month. Sports betting is considered a “taxable privilege” in Tennessee, meaning any sports betting operator in the state must pay 20% of their adjusted gross income in taxes each month.

“Our first month of sports wagering in Tennessee comes at a unique time in the world, let alone the sports world,” TEL President and CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove said. “November’s figures include adjustments and indicate potential. It is only one month in an unpredictable and extraordinary year, making it difficult to begin extrapolating out from this single month.

“As this new industry in Tennessee evolves, we will continue to work with licensees and registrants in support of a responsible and competitive sports wagering program.”

By statute, 80% of the tax collected each quarter will go into the Lottery for Education account, 15% will go to the state’s General Fund to be remitted to local governments on a per capita basis and 5% will go to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to oversee grant programs for problem gambling treatment services.

TEL officials reported on Nov. 16 that $27.4 million was wagered in Tennessee in the first eight days of November and $5.1 million on the first day.

Tennessee state law permits wagering on sporting events via the internet, mobile device or other telecommunications platforms. Customers must be at least 21 years old to play and physically located in Tennessee at the time a wager is placed.

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