Tennessee’s sports betting volume declined to its lowest level since the first month of legalized wagering in the state. May’s modest month-over-month drop in wagering from April is an expected result during what is the traditional offseason for sports betting, and the decline is in line with a nationwide trend of declining revenue over the last two months, according to PlayTenn analysts, which tracks the Tennessee gaming market.
“There is no avoiding a summer slowdown, especially in states like Tennessee where football has an outsized importance to sportsbooks,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayTenn.com. “For the most part, though, sportsbooks in the state have been innovative enough in keeping bettors engaged with the NBA, hockey, baseball, and other sports, to blunt the dips.”
Sportsbooks took in $160.9 million in wagers in May, according to official data released Wednesday morning. That is down 6.7% from $172.4 million in April, and the state’s lowest handle since November 2020. May’s bets produced $15.4 million in gross gaming revenue, up from $14 million in April. Adjusted gross income hit $13.7 million, which yielded $2.7 million in tax revenue for the state.
With May’s win, Tennessee sportsbooks have now generated $109.9 million in gross gaming income, surpassing $100 million in revenue in just seven months.
Compared with the other major U.S. markets that have already reported May data, Tennessee’s month-over-month decline was steeper than New Jersey (up 8.9%), Indiana (up 7.6%), Colorado (up 1.9%), Iowa (down 2.9%), and Michigan (down 6.0%), but on par with Pennsylvania (down 6.7%). In April, Tennessee’s handle dropped 13.6% from March, outperforming all but New Jersey among the 10 largest markets.
“Playoff appearances by the Memphis Grizzlies and Nashville Predators undoubtedly helped in May,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayTenn.com. “But with early exits for both franchises, sportsbooks will have to look outside the state to generate interest until football season begins, other than NASCAR’s Ally 400. The Olympics later this summer could help give sportsbooks a boost.”
Tennessee’s sportsbooks have been trying to capitalize on the Tennessee Titans’ acquisition of star receiver Julio Jones, which sparked interest in futures betting. Meanwhile, the race for market supremacy has only heated up, with BetMGM and FanDuel going head-to-head to top the market.
In May, FanDuel topped the market with $56.9 million in wagers, producing $6.5 million in gross gaming revenue. BetMGM, which has topped the market in lifetime handle since launching in November, was second in May with $56.8 million in bets, yielding $5.1 million in GGR. DraftKings was third with a $39.6 million handle and $3.0 million in revenue.
“FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM are the three largest online sportsbook operators in the country, so it isn’t a surprise to see the three of them jockeying for position in Tennessee,” Russo said. “Open markets that are hotly contested among the top operators have universally been the rising tide that floats all boats.”
For more revenue information, visit PlayTenn.com/revenue.
About the PlayUSA.com Network:
The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches produce daily original reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.
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