Tennessee Sports Betting Review – The Launch of Online Only Sportsbooks
Sports' betting is pushing across the United States. The number of states to open retail sportsbooks and launch online betting apps has grown steadily. Tennessee is one of the most recent states to allow legal sports bets. However, the path to the final approval was difficult.
There are also some other unique differences that Tennessee sports fans should know. One is the age restriction, and the other is that all bets must be made online with a licensed sportsbook app. Let's look at how we got to the pending November launch, plus which sportsbook apps will be the first available in Tennessee.
Tennessee Sports Betting Overview
The scheduled launch of Tennessee sportsbooks took a great deal of work and ultimately a financial compromise by lawmakers on sportsbook tax regulations. Let's take a quick look at the history and how this tax debate affects Tennessee sports betting.
A year after the original U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned the federal ban on sports gambling, Tennessee put forth legislation to make sports wagers legal in the Volunteer State. However, the passing of Senate Bill 16 turned out to be the easy part.
The eventual legislation is one of the most restrictive and sportsbook expensive in the nation. Tennessee's sports betting law requires a $750,000 ante-up registration for a sportsbook just to get a skin in the game.
Before that check can be written, the sportsbook must post a $50,000 non-refundable application fee. Sure, the 50-grand will be credited to the $750,000 registration fee, but the $700,000 balance is due within 10-days of an accepted application.
There is also the issue of the 20 percent tax rate sportsbooks have to pay on revenue. This rate is the second largest number by a state to legalize sports bets behind only Pennsylvania.
Originally, SB 16 also slapped a 15 percent hold rate on gross sportsbook revenue. Eventually, the 15 percent rate was dropped to a more manageable10 percent, but it is still at the top-level for states opening their doors to sportsbook operations.
We're still early in the Tennessee sports betting story, so things may change. But, the cost of these higher rates could be funneled down to bettors via higher juice. The framework for legal sports betting started with the writing of the Sports Gaming Act in 2019.
The Tennessee legislation created a nine-member Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC). The SWAC is entrusted with oversight responsibilities to help the Tennessee Education Lottery regulate sports betting operations.
Besides the higher fees and taxes, Tennessee's lawmakers also set the minimum age for sports betting at 21 or older. Another important part of the Sports Gaming Act is what type of sportsbook is permitted in Tennessee.
Most states launched physical locations initially. There were some who allowed online sports betting as part of the original launch. Nearly all required an online sportsbook app to have ties to a retail sportsbook. These retail locations were invariably in existing casinos.
Tennessee skipped over the retail sportsbook step and jumped right into mobile online sports betting. Currently, that is the only way to make a legal sports bet in Tennessee. While the cost of launching a sportsbook in Tennessee is viewed as more prohibitive than other states, there are still profits.
As we inch closer to the November 1 launch date of the approved sportsbook apps, it's also important to note that Tennessee has not placed a limit on the number of sportsbook apps that can operate legally.
This might increase competition to help subdue the trend for the sportsbook to try to compensate for higher costs by pumping up the juice to the bettor. As we look to the three sportsbooks ready to launch in a few weeks, there is a common thread.
The three who are primed to take the first legal Tennessee sports bets are three of the largest and most successful in the U.S. Let's take a look at these three, plus a fourth sportsbook with an international sports betting pedigree.
Tennessee Sports Betting Apps
The higher costs of getting on the books in Tennessee may be a hurdle that smaller sportsbooks are unwilling to take at this juncture. It was not a problem for DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill and BetMGM.
These three highly successful U.S. sportsbook apps are set to go on November 1. One of a reported dozen applications from the Tennessee-based sportsbook startup Action 247 is on hold pending a denial of Action 247's request to have the $750,000 fee delayed.
Notwithstanding the sportsbook apps pending approval, let's look at the four competitors who primed to take advantage of the November launch date. Three are officially set to open up when the gun sounds, with the fourth app highly probable as well.
DraftKings Sportsbook App
DraftKings' new account welcome bonus for Tennessee sports fans is a $1,000 package. The offer is split between two options. New accounts can take advantage of both. The first $500 is a matching deposit bonus.
After your first deposit, DraftKings will match that amount up to $500. Once you make a deposit, you can also bet up to $500 on your first bet and that bet is risk-free. If you happen to not win, DraftKings will credit your account the amount of the bet up to the $500 limit.
There is also a $25 free bet that doesn't require a deposit that you should take advantage. DraftKings' website and mobile app have some special features bettors find appealing. There is a unique betting carousel available for every account.
This is an excellent personal tool for tracking your own betting trends and following favorite teams. DraftKings posts all the game day odds for major sports. There are also regular odds posted for more obscure sporting events such as rugby.
The DraftKings odds board also posts betting lines for sports like lacrosse, snooker and swimming. NASCAR fans will find an exciting list of race day odds for every NASCAR event.
DraftKings has been a major competitor in nearly every state that has opened the door to online sports betting. One reason is the huge customer base DraftKings has built with their daily fantasy sports contests.
DraftKings' mobile and desktop versions integrate well. The horizontal scroll follows specific game information. Across the horizontal bar are game odds and betting lines. This is one of the more user-friendly game search setups.
Each sport can be sorted in alphabetic order. Bettors also appreciate the ability to scan current and past bet slips quickly. In each state where DraftKings has launched, they have steadily built a strong reputation. Tennessee sports fans should expect more of the same.
FanDuel Sportsbook App
FanDuel is one of the most popular sportsbook apps in a number of states with legal online sports betting. They have an excellent welcome bonus package for all new Tennessee account registrations. Registering for a FanDuel sportsbook account is free.
The welcome offer has been doubled to a possible total of $1,000 in free money. The original offer for new account registrations was a $500 risk-free first bet. The risk-free bet bonus still exists.
However, the amount that FanDuel will guarantee risk-free has been doubled to $1,000. The first bet doesn't need to be $1,000. Whatever the amount up to $1,000 is guaranteed risk-free if the bet is not a winner.
FanDuel has been one of the most successful sportsbook apps. One reason is the excellent transition between desktop and mobile. The correlation between each platform is one of the best.
It makes it very convenient when setting a betting slip at a personal computer and then monitoring these bets from a mobile device. It also makes in-play betting on the go easier.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel brought a large number of daily fantasy sports customers on board with their sportsbook app launch. FanDuel made transitioning between these two accounts easy as well. The list of traditional odds is also easy to find on FanDuel.
You can search under any particular sport, including golf, racing and tennis. FanDuel also has a dedicated page to future bets. You can view and bet on odds for things such as division winners, projected champions, and total wins for an upcoming season.
FanDuel has established itself as a sportsbook app leader at every opportunity. They land at or near the top for total sports bet handle in nearly every state. We expect FanDuel to continue this outstanding level of success in Tennessee.
BetMGM Sportsbook App
BetMGM is a prominent fixture in the Las Vegas sports betting market. The brand name is key to trust in the sports betting industry. BetMGM is the sports betting arm of MGM International. The original app, PlayMGM, was successful.
However, developers keenly saw places for improvement. Those improvements make BetMGM one of the most fluid and user-friendly sportsbook apps available. Roar Digital designed BetMGM's sportsbook website and mobile app.
The London-based digital agency is known for outstanding web design and strong digital marketing plans. BetMGM's sportsbook app is a clear example of both. When the Tennessee sports betting operations open, new account registrations are rewarded with free money.
BetMGM's welcome package includes a 100 percent match on first deposits up to $500. There is only a two-time play-through requirement before these bonus monies are released as cash.
If you're attentive, you can also find special promo codes to take advantage of additional bonus offers up to $1,500. BetMGM is a clean platform that works equally well with desktops or mobile devices.
Page changes are smooth, and the game listings with odds are accented in bold. This makes finding the game and the bet you want fast and easy. BetMGM's sportsbook app for Tennessee will post all the traditional odds.
Depending on how BetMGM deals with the juice question, there will still be some excellent teaser bets. Like most sportsbook apps, BetMGM offers in-game wagers. However, the current regulations for sports betting in Tennessee have brought into question how viable in-play bets will be.
William Hill Sportsbook App
William Hill is a London-based betting company with an international reputation. The renowned European sports betting operation started to build their U.S. presence by linking with a number of casinos to coordinate physical retail sportsbooks.
While William Hill gained a trustworthy reputation handling the sportsbook windows at physical U.S. locations, they were developing one of the strongest apps in the industry. William Hill will offer new Tennessee accounts a welcome bonus.
Once you complete a free registration and make your first deposit, your first bet is a guaranteed no-risk bet up to $500. One important aspect of William Hill being a U.K.-based company is they often post more bettor appealing odds.
This could be critical in off-setting the possible tendency to increase the juice on Tennessee sportsbook lines to compensate for the high tax rates. There is no guarantee this will happen, but bettors should research and compare the odds across multiple sportsbook apps.
Besides bettor-friendly odds and a stellar international reputation, William Hill has one of the best betting platforms in the industry. It is extremely user-friendly, with crisp page transitions. The William Hill sportsbook blends smoothly between website and mobile app.
William Hill is building a U.S. following as one of the most popular sportsbook mobile apps. Their casino connections may also make them a prominent factor if or when Tennessee expands to open retail locations.
The international sports betting industry is well aware of William Hill's 85 presence. William Hill is strong on security and a stalwart in customer service. Tennessee sports fans will soon be able to access to the William Hill sportsbook app.