During the decades of darkness when regulated sports betting was a genuine long shot wager for the American market, everyone knew that Americans truly loved wagering on sporting events. One need look no further than the thriving black market that existed relatively openly across the country during the prohibition years.

While most people assumed that regulated sports betting would eventually become successful in the US, almost no one could have foreseen exactly how popular it would actually be. Take what’s happening in the state of Tennessee, for example. With about 6.8 million residents, Tennessee is the 16th most populated US state. (By way of comparison, New Jersey has about 8.8 million people.) But being a mid-sized state did not stop Tennessee from clocking in the biggest first month handle of any of the newly launched US sports betting markets.

During the course of November, the denizens of “Good Old Rockytop” plunked down $131.4 million in legal wagers. Those wagers put $13.2 million worth of revenue into the hands of the state’s four licensed operators, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and 24/7 (a locally run operator). Of that $13.2 million, about $2.4 million went back into state coffers.

In a press release trumpeting the success of its regulated sports betting scheme, Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Paul Hargrove described the situation saying, “Our first month of sports wagering in Tennessee comes at a unique time in the world, let alone the sports world. 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.”

In short, there’s probably not a market in the United States where regulated sports betting won’t succeed. And with state tax revenues dwindling due to the pandemic, more US States are likely to look at regulated sports betting as means of filling those budget gaps.


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