Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee has seen its slow summer sports wagering performance extend into August, however, analysts have offered some positivity by suggesting that a surge could come to fruition through September.

Bettors placed $144.5m in wagers during the 31 days of August, matching July’s 2021 low ahead of the year’s busiest four-month stretch

According to data released by the Tennessee Education Lottery and Sports Wagering Advisory Council, the pace of betting remained at $4.7m per day in August which remained even with one month earlier.

Gross gaming revenue dropped to $13.2m from $15.2m in July. August’s revenue produced $10.1m in taxable revenue, which yielded $2m in tax revenue.

“After an up and down summer, it would’ve been encouraging to see some growth in handle ahead of what is a crucial period in the industry,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayTenn

“No sport motivates bettors like football, though. And a surge in betting this fall will put an end to the slower summer months.”

Only a handful of college football games were played in August, none of which featured local interest. The NFL schedule was even more spartan, limited to preseason games, including three with the Tennessee Titans.

However, in 2020, a year marred by the shutdown of major sports for months, 60.2 per cent of the money wagered legally in the US was placed from September through December. In 2019, 50.8 per cent of all legal wagers were made during this time.

“This is the most important time for the industry, but we still don’t know for certain how bettors in Tennessee will engage over a full football season,” noted Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA

“It seems like a safe bet that wagering on football will likely represent a greater share of Tennessee’s annual handle than the national average.”

Tennessee also saw a shakeup in its mix of operators in August with Barstool Sportsbook’s launch coming just ahead of the NFL season. Regulators also approved a new social sports betting brand, Wagr, which is expected to launch during the current NFL season.

“College football and the NFL aren’t just important in terms of the wagers they generate, they also represent the greatest opportunity for sportsbooks to grow their customer base,” Russo added. 

“The result is aggressive promotions from established operators, and new operators scrambling to launch before kickoff.”