William Hill Launches Tennessee Sportsbook
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey
Company officials told the Action Network that William Hill had planned to launch ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, typically the most-bet upon annual sporting event in the country. A Christmas morning recreational vehicle explosion in downtown Nashville damaged the city’s digital infrastructure and delayed William Hill’s launch.
Instead, William Hill’s Tennessee sportsbook launches on the second day of the 2021 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is underway at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Tennessee William Hill bettors can also wager on the full NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the nation’s perennially most bet upon tournament sporting event.
Tennessee Sports Betting Expansion Continues
William Hill joins four other live sportsbooks:
FanDuel and DraftKings, largely because of ongoing marketing and promotion blitzes that began with their flagship daily fantasy products in 2014, are typically the two highest-grossing sportsbooks in each market they operate. MGM’s sportsbook app has also marketed extensively in Tennessee and nearly a dozen other states. Action 24/7 is the nation’s first “local” sportsbook operator and only serves players in Tennessee.
Tennessee’s 2019 sports betting law prohibits retail sportsbooks but allows an uncapped number of online entrants. The state has some of the nation’s highest tax rates as well as a hold percentage mandate that has stalled further market participation.
However, other high-grossing sportsbook brands such as Penn National’s Barstool Sports have expressed interest in the state. Tennessee is home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, NHL’s Nashville Predators and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies as well as multiple high-profile college programs including the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.
Tennessee sports betting handle, gross gaming revenue and tax revenues have increased each of the past three months since its November 2020 launch. The four sportsbooks combined for a state-record $21 million in January revenue on $211 million in total bets, the seventh-highest handle total of any state during that month.
William Hill Extends Reach
Even before Thursday’s launch, William Hill sportsbooks were available in more states than any other legal betting option.
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Caesars acquired William Hill in 2020, creating one of the world’s most prominent sportsbook brands. Eldorado Resorts acquired Caesars before the William Hill acquisition, rebranding itself under the Caesars name.
The combined William Hill-Caesars is among a flurry of gaming company mergers and acquisitions since the Supreme Court struck down the federal wagering ban in May 2018. Among the highlights: Paddy Power-BetFair parent company Flutter Entertainment acquired FanDuel; Penn National acquired Barstool Sports; Twin River acquired (and renamed itself) to Bally’s; and DraftKings went public via a special purpose acquisition company.