Today will be like no other in the Volunteer State, as domestic sports betting apps are scheduled to be rolled out to mobile devices by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TEL) at 8:00 AM.
Four sportsbooks have already received licenses from the TEL to commence Tennessee sports betting operations today – DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action247.
The first three are major players in the domestic sports betting market. Action247, however, has limited its operations exclusively to Tennessee.
Tech corporation Flexential has been approved as an official vendor to assist with the state’s sports betting app rollout and will provide tech support, cybersecurity, and data protection.
“Online sports gaming operators need secure, highly available facilities for their applications to ensure safe transactions, maximum uptime and internet availability for end customers,”
Tom Myers, Regional Vice President of Flexential
Flexential will also be central to the functions of the data service center and will ensure smooth operations for today’s debut and onward.
Their focus is removing any potential for lag time because any hiccups on these Tennessee sports betting apps will cause for a poor user experience and will decrease the chance of the customer returning in the future.
Flexential is also focused on ensuring that all current mobile smartphones and tablets are supported, including Apple’s iPad, and iPhone, as well as popular Android-powered devices.
They are the first to receive such approval in TN, and they bring a successful track record along with them, with operations already in place with the Nevada Gaming Commission, and in Colorado’s burgeoning sports betting scene.
Sports betting in Tennessee was originally made legally in May of 2019, and state lawmakers have been creating regulatory language since that time.
Tennessee has historically had a conservative stance when it comes to in-state sports betting or gambling and has never allowed a domestic casino to be built within its borders.
Now, TN will pioneer domestic online gambling in the southeastern United States by being the first to offer online gambling on NFL Football, NCAA Football, and other major athletics occurring around the country.
Unfortunately, because betting on sports is limited to state-regulated apps, there won’t be any brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Nashville any time soon, but that could change if legislators see room for growth in that sector following a fiscal year of online tax revenue collections.
Speaking of revenue, Tennessee regulations require a flat 10% hold on all sports betting profits in order to secure a license to operate a sportsbook within the state.
Most other states require 6% or less, meaning that betting lines in TN may be less advantageous than in other regions.
The adjustment will likely come in the form of additional juice, or vigorish, attached to betting odds. Since sports betting odds are designed to keep the action even on both sides, sportsbooks’ profit margins are slim, requiring them to take action on a multitude of lines to make money.
In order to operate in the black, TN sportsbooks will need to keep more of the juice, which means that bettors will be required to risk a greater percentage against the house than in other regions.
The inevitable impact of this added vigorish is that bettors will seek out more favorable lines at offshore sportsbooks.
These international sports betting sites aren’t held to the same standard that Tennessee sportsbooks will be, and they don’t have to pay any state taxes either.
Only time will tell how much of an impact that Tennessee’s 10% hold will have on their domestic sports betting intake. If the numbers don’t match the fiscal projections, the state legislature may have to go back to the drawing board and try again.