Tennessee Sports Betting Handle Sees a Decline in January

Sportsbooks made just over $36.3 million in revenue — a month-over-month decline of 22%.

Ethan Matthew - News Editor at Covers.com
Ethan Matthew • News Editor
Feb 24, 2023 • 10:39 ET • 4 min read
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After hitting highs in December, legal sports betting in Tennessee came back to earth to start 2023.

The Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) reported a $410.7 million handle last month, nearly a 7% drop compared to December.

From the $410.7 million in wagers, online sports betting sites kept $41.4 million. With that, the 10% hold for operators breaks the state’s three months of the number increasing.

After deductions, sportsbooks made just over $36.3 million in revenue — a month-over-month decline of 22%. Compared to 2022, January was still a strong month for sports betting in Tennessee, as the state's 2023 handle signaled a 6% rise and its tax bill also came in 20% higher.

ZenSports coming to Tennessee

Earlier this month, KeyStar Corp and its newly acquired company ZenSports applied for a betting license in the Volunteer State, making them the 14th sportsbook if accepted.

ZenSports has an extensive portfolio consisting of sports betting, NFTs, and esports and had a license to operate in Nevada.

“Tennessee is the perfect first state for us to launch ZenSports in,” said KeyStar CEO Mark Thomas, who later called the Volunteer State “one of the fastest-growing states for sports wagering”. 

NFL betting data expenses

On February 6, SuperBook and Betly announced that NFL’s exclusive partner for league data is acting unreasonably in their terms of usage.

Tennessee requires operators to use official data to settle wagers, meaning that Genius Sports (the exclusive partner with the NFL) can charge an expensive fee for its use. While the larger sportsbooks don’t seem to be pushing for a change in the rule, the smaller operators would benefit from more approachable terms.

This is not the first time these companies complained about the issue. Earlier this year, SWAC pushed the parties to try and find an agreement. The council recommended an open hearing where each party gives their side and SWAC will make a final determination.

SWAC currently has the template term from Genius Sports and the contracts signed by other sportsbooks with Genius Sports regarding this data. The council is also figuring out whether having a judge will be helpful since Tennessee’s decision could affect every sports betting state in the U.S.

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