Legal sports betting in Tennessee is just over one month old, but it is already seeing plenty of growth. The Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery made an announcement earlier this week adding a new sportsbook, and it is a popular and familiar name in the industry.
Churchill Downs Incorporated has received a license to operate its BetAmerica/TwinSpires sports betting app in the state. Churchill Downs has been looking to expand in recent months, and they chose a state that was close to home.
In addition, 12 different vendors were awarded sports betting licenses by the Tennessee Education Lottery this week. There is no limit to how many online sportsbooks can receive a license, but there is a long process that each operator must go through before being selected.
Churchill Downs has also announced that it will be transitioning away from BetAmerica and going with TwinSpires in the future. This rebranding will affect a number of states that already have a Churchill Downs-owned sportsbook up and running.
Tennessee Has Great First Month
There were just five online sportsbooks ready to launch on Nov. 1 in Tennessee, but those five sportsbooks helped the state set new records. In November, total betting total accounted for more than $131.4 million, which is the best first month in industry history.
Tennessee launched sports betting at the perfect time, as the NFL and college football seasons were underway. In addition, all five sportsbooks were available from Day 1 as opposed to launching them in stages.
A strong start is a great sign for the market, but adding new operators will help push the numbers as well. Now Tennessee will look to break its own monthly record in 2021.
Midwest Continues to Grow
Not only did Tennessee launch sports betting in 2020, but both Illinois and Michigan did as well. Those three states joined Iowa and Indiana as sports betting markets in the Midwest, and that part of the country has seen tremendous growth.
Illinois has emerged as the top sports betting market in the Midwest, followed by Indiana. The early numbers for Tennessee indicate that it could become a major force as well, but there is still a long way to grow.
Online sports betting has been the most popular form of betting in all of the Midwest states except for Michigan. Michigan is expected to launch online gambling at some point this month, making it an even bigger market.
Titans Driving Sports Betting
The Tennessee Titans of the NFL have helped to drive sports betting so far in the state, but that could be coming to an end soon. The Titans were champions of the AFC South Division this season and began the playoffs on Jan. 10.
Tennessee was a 3.5-point underdog in their Wild Card Round matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, and a loss could slow the growth of the Tennessee sports betting industry. The Titans advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game a season ago, but they will have to do it as an underdog once again this season.