It used to be that, to bet on sports, the only option available was to head to Nevada and the casinos there (and, in particular, Las Vegas). Since 2018, however, that has begun to change. In fact, the sports betting industry in the States of America are welcoming the newest addition to the fraternity, the state of Tennessee, as their state-sanctioned online sports betting products went live at midnight on Sunday morning.

Making Their Mark

Right at the crack of midnight after all the trick-or-treating of Halloween night, there were four sports betting operations who gave Volunteer State gamblers a treat of their own. FanDuel went live with their product online first but, while they were offering odds on the Week 8 NFL slate of games (including the Tennessee Titans versus the Cincinnati Bengals), they were staying away from the “live action” betting of college football that was active on the West Coast.

BetMGM became the first operation to offer a “live action” bet as they picked up some of the college action soon after midnight. They also offered some proposition (or “prop”) bets on the Titans/Bengals matchup. DraftKings was next to enter the fray and, on Sunday morning, Action 24/7 opened their doors for business.

The betting in Tennessee online is being offered over a couple of options. Potential players can log onto any of the four operations through a laptop to make their wagers or they can utilize the mobile based option for Android and iOS. One problem seen was that Action 24/7 was unable to get their iOS based mobile option going, missing out on some action through that method.

A Massive Change in Only Two Years

The introduction of Tennessee into the sports betting industry in the U. S. is a massive change compared to two years ago. In 2018, only Nevada had an active sports betting industry (although three other states – Delaware, Oregon and Montana – were grandfathered in and allowed to offer sports betting). A decision by the U. S. Supreme Court would change all of that, however.

The 2018 decision by the SCOTUS in Murphy v. NCAA broke down the walls that kept the states from offering sports betting. Under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1993 (PASPA), only the four states mentioned in the previous paragraph could offer sports betting. New Jersey challenged this law, stating that the federal government had traditionally left the legality of sports betting to the individual states and that PASPA infringed on Tenth Amendment rights.

The SCOTUS agreed, declaring the entirety of PASPA to be unconstitutional by a 6-3 vote, ending its impact on sports betting across the U. S. New Jersey was one of the first states to open a sports betting operation, both live and online (online gaming had been allowed by a 2011 Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel decision). Since that time, there have been a total of 17 states that have joined in, with Tennessee becoming the 19th state to officially open sports betting inside their borders.

Because there are no casinos in the state, Tennessee is unique in the fact that they only offer an online option for its citizens. There are also some other restrictions on the betting options. For example, prop bets can be done on professional sports, but they are prohibited on college sports. Overall, the potential for sports betting, not only in Tennessee but in the entirety of the States, is a bright one.

Morgan Stanley, a financial services and investment bank that analyzes industry potential, sees a possible $15 billion market in the States by 2025 if all 50 states were to get involved. Although it is a smaller state, Tennessee’s take from sports betting may help the state’s coffers, especially as more Tennesseans become familiar with the product.

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