The state of Tennessee has launched the first online-only sports betting market in the US.
On 1 November, sports betting went live in the state of Tennessee with the launch of several high profile sportsbook operators including DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM and the local Action247.
The state’s sports betting launch came after the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), which will act as the market regulator, confirmed on Friday that operators can take bets from customers aged 21 and over from anywhere within state lines.
On Friday, prior to the launch of the market, the TEL President and chief executive Rebecca Paul Hargrove said: “This Sunday will represent the culmination of an enormous amount of work and due diligence to bring online-only sports wagering to Tennessee, the only state in the nation to do so. As the regulator, today also represents the beginning of a new stage as we establish and support a responsible and competitive program here.
“We will continue to work with all licensees, registrants and applicants to protect the consumer, promote fairness in sports and regulate this new Tennessee industry that provides critical funds to the state and local governments.”
FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM launch
On Sunday the four sportsbook operators DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and the local brand Action247 launched their online sportsbook products in Tennessee. DraftKings and FanDuel both announced they would be launching their sportsbooks in the state on the same day.
Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America said: “As DraftKings Sportsbook continues to expand across America, we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to launch our No. 1 Rated Sportsbook product in Tennessee
“Judging by the rabid fanbases following the local pro teams and the powerhouse college sports teams, we’re certain that Tennesseans will be among of the most engaged skin-in-the-game sports fans we’ve seen. We can’t wait to serve Tennessee with the unrivaled DraftKings experience.”
Prior to launch, Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group, said: “We know how passionate sports fans in the state of Tennessee are and we are no different, but our true passion is all about our customers. We are excited to offer a sports betting app experience that brings fans closer to the game with a number of unique sports betting opportunities, promotions and offers right in the palm of their hands.”
BetMGM, which is operated by Roar Digital, the GVC Holdings and MGM Resorts joint venture, also launched on Sunday. Chief executive Adam Greenblatt said: “We’ve been eagerly working with regulators in Tennessee to make this momentous launch a possibility and look forward to introducing the state’s passionate fan bases to the excitement of betting on sports with BetMGM.
“Our relationship with MGM Resorts enables BetMGM users in the Volunteer State to earn rewards, from hotel suites to dinners at award-winning restaurants, all while engaging in the excitement of our cutting-edge sports betting experience.”
The local operator, Action247 also launched on Sunday and will have to compete with some of the biggest names in the US gambling market as more operators go live.
Sports betting in Tennessee
In late May 2019, Tennessee became the fourth state to legalize sports betting. Governor Bill Lee allowed the state’s sports betting bill to pass into law without his signature, despite being opposed to the expansion of gambling.
Under the legislation, operators will have to pay a licensing fee of $750,000 and will be taxed 20% on their gross revenue. The regulations also call for the mandatory use of official league data.