NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In a short time, sports betting has become a multi-billion dollar booming business for Tennessee’s economy.

In 2022, $3.8 billion were wagered in sports betting. That’s up 41% from 2021.

Figures show that $68 million was collected in privilege taxes — that’s a 67% jump from 2021.

The Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council said the money collected from the privilege tax is split between three projects:

  • 80%: The Hope Scholarship
  • 15%: Local government for infrastructure projects
  • 5%: The Department of Mental Health for responsible gaming initiatives

In Tennessee, there are 12 online sports books and 28 vendors offering online sports betting.

“Sports betting is really something that requires a lot of interest in whose playing and what’s happening,” said Mary Beth Thomas, executive director of the Sports Wagering Advisory Council. “Most people play with that, they want to know what all is happening. It’s more of a longer process that’s part of watching sports.” 

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Thomas said Tennessee’s betting numbers may be so high because it’s not just state residents who are throwing their hat in the ring.

“You can’t wager across state lines,” said Thomas, “If you want to place a wager in another state, you have to be in that state, and we don’t have a lot of states that offer sports betting. Virginia does.” 

She noted that there are about 100 pages of regulations vendors need to follow, including guidelines on monitoring responsible gaming.