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Tennessee saw $131M in Nov. sports bets; $2.4M tax revenue

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's new online-only sports betting program saw $131.4 million in gross wagers last month, yielding almost $2.4 million in privilege taxes for the state, officials said Wednesday.

According to a Tennessee Lottery news release, sportsbooks made $118.2 million in gross payouts in November, the first month of sports betting in the state.

Eighty percent of the tax revenue goes into an education account that mostly funds post-secondary scholarships. Fifteen percent goes toward local government needs and 5% funds gambling problem treatment programs.

Legislative backers have said Tennessee sports betting could yield $50 million in tax revenue annually.

"November's figures include adjustments and indicate potential," Rebecca Hargrove, Tennessee Lottery CEO, said in the release. "It is only one month in an unpredictable and extraordinary year, making it difficult to begin extrapolating out from this single month."

The Nov. 1 kickoff of sports betting came more than a year and a half in the making.

Sports betting barely passed in spring 2019, and Republican Gov. Bill Lee let it become law without signing it due to his opposition to more gambling in a state without casinos. After the law took effect that summer, plenty of legwork followed for the lottery, which was tasked with coming up with rules and vetting operators and others looking to get into Tennessee's industry. Now, the lottery regulates how sports betting is carried out.

So far, Tennessee Action 24/7, FanDuel, BetMGM and DraftKings have approval for Tennessee sportsbooks. Others have since applied. 

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A large portion of the betting comes from the poor and many times minority communities. Where is the outcry from BLM and other groups? Voluntary wealth transfer from the poor and lower middle class to the upper middle class and the wealthy! Where are all the social justice warriors?

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