Tennessee Moving Step Closer to Legal Sports Betting


It has taken Tennessee a long time to move forward with the launch of sports betting, but a major step was taken earlier this week. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. Sports Wagering Committee held a special meeting on Wednesday night, and they reviewed three applications. 

BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings were the three sports betting operators that had submitted applications for a sports betting license, and all three operators were granted conditional approval. The committee spent more than three hours taking a look at the applications before making a decision.


One supplier application was also approved at this meeting, along with 26 vendor applications. Tennessee has a detailed application process, and that has taken the state a long time to launch sports betting. 

Sportsbooks still have to clear one final hurdle before they can begin offering sports betting in the state. The committee will take a final vote on October 5 before granting permanent licenses. 

November 1 Start Date

It has taken the state a long time to nail down an official launch date, but it was revealed that November 1 is now the target date. There was hope that Tennessee could launch sports betting before the start of the 2020 NFL season, but the state missed that mark.

If the state is able to launch by November 1, sportsbooks will be able to offer NFL betting for at least two months of action. This should help the state of Tennessee get off to a strong start.

High Holds/Taxes Included

One of the reasons Tennessee has only seen a limited number of operators apply for a sports betting license is because of some rules and regulations adopted by lawmakers. For one, the licensing fee is a whopping $750,000, and the tax rate is set at 20 percent. The 20 percent tax on sports betting revenue is one of the highest in the country. 

Tennessee lawmakers have also adopted a 10 percent hold for sportsbooks, which is an unprecedented hold rate in the sports betting industry. The national hold average is right around 7.5 percent, affecting how much a sportsbook can make.

This high hold rate will also affect the odds and betting lines set by operators, which could slow down the growth of the industry. 

Plenty of Teams to Drive Betting

The state of Tennessee is not viewed as one of the best markets for professional sports in the country, but there are more than enough teams to help drive sports betting. Bettors will likely be limited to betting on professional teams, and the city of Nashville will provide most of the opportunities. 

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators are two of the most popular teams in the state, and there will be plenty of time to bet on each team if the November 1 launch date is hit. The Titans will still be completing the 2020 NFL season, and the Predators should be starting the 2020-21 season shortly.