Best US Sportsbooks · Weekly Update

August 4th, 2021 Weekly Report

In this week’s legal sports betting news, Connecticut's pending launch of legal sports betting moves forward with the Department of the Interior’s review of new tribal gaming compacts. Both Tennessee and Virginia posted a strong betting handle in June while the District of Columbia expanded legal retail sports betting at the end of July.

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Connecticut remains on track to launch legal sports betting in the next few months. The target date remains Sept. 9 to coincide with the start of the new NFL season. That date now lies in the hands of the Department of the Interior (DOI).

The DOI has 45 days to review and approve the new compacts between Connecticut and the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes. These new compacts pave the way for legal sports betting throughout the state.

The Mohegan Tribe is partnering with FanDuel for its sports betting platform. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe will work with DraftKings to launch its retail and online sports betting operations.

Once the DOI reviews and approves the new compacts, it could still take several more days before they are official. They will need to be printed in the Federal Register which could add some additional time to complete the process.

Meanwhile, the state is still going through the regulatory process to finalize all the betting rules. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is currently working on the draft.

Once that process is finalized, the proposed rules will need to be approved by the General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee. The next committee meeting has been scheduled for Aug. 24. Hopefully at that time, the committee will be in a position to approve the set of betting rules.

On top of this, the Connecticut Lottery has yet to name its official partner as a third source of legal sports betting in the state.

Since this process is independent of DOI approval, the Lottery could be in a position to launch legal sports betting ahead of the two gaming tribes.

There is a board meeting set for Aug. 15 to hopefully finalize this process. Given state rules, BetMGM and Caesars have been ruled out due to their association with commercial casinos. Whichever operator is chosen, state law will also allow daily fantasy sports (DFS) as part of the launch.

Rob Simmelkjaer is the Chair of the Connecticut Lottery Board. He recently stated:

“The Connecticut Lottery is hopeful to get something done in the next couple of weeks and have an announcement.”

Hinting towards that decision, he added:

“They are a very well established company that has been very successful in a number of states around the country when it comes to both sports betting as well as other sorts of gaming.”

The short list of finalists is made up of four potential operating partners. Industry analysts have identified PointsBet and FOX Bet as having the inside track.


Both Tennessee and Virginia have taken unique approaches to legal sports betting. Since neither state has land-based casinos, the entire industry is online through mobile sportsbook apps.

Tennessee launched legal sports betting on Nov. 1 of 2020. Virginia was up and running in late January of this year. As two relatively new legal sports betting markets, each state’s monthly results are being closely tracked.


Recapping the month of June, Tennessee’s betting handle increased following three-straight months with a decline. The betting handle is a measure of the total dollar volume of wagers placed.

The Tennessee Education Lottery oversees legal sports betting in the Volunteer State. It reported that the total betting handle for June was $174.5 million. This was 8% higher than May’s handle of $160.9 million.

May happened to be the lowest monthly handle since last November’s launch. The state record was set in March of this year with a total betting handle of $209.5 million.

The increase in June’s handle led to $16 million in revenue for the state’s sportsbook operators. This translated to $3.2 million is state taxes. The total tax collected in May from sports betting revenue was $2.7 million.

Tennessee is in the process of turning the regulation and oversight of legal sports betting over to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC). The goal is to move to a more traditional regulatory model as opposed to the state’s Lottery.

This change would put Tennessee more in-line with top-10 legal sports betting markets in the US. The SWAC is also looking to increase the number of sports betting operators by three. They would join industry heavyweights such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM.

Other issues up for review include the mandatory 10% hold rule and the 20% tax rate. Both of these issues have impacted the state’s competitiveness against neighboring markets.


Virginia also bucked industry trends when it came to June’s results. The summer lull in sports has led to lower betting handles in a number of states. July could get a boost from the Summer Olympics but the big upturn will be in September when football returns.

As the state’s fifth full month of legal sports betting, June’s handle was $234.9 million. This reflects a modest 3.5% increase over May’s handle of $226.9 million.

However, sports betting revenues did not follow suit. While the total revenue for May was $15.7 million, that figure dropped 4.9% in June to $14.9. The drop in revenue impacted state taxes as well. The state collected $2.27 million in June. This was 4.5% less than May’s $2.4 million figure.

Collectively, sportsbook operators posted a 9.37% hold in the month of June. The hold is the difference between the money paid out on winning bets and the money collected on losing wagers plus the standard 10% commission or juice.

Virginia’s tax on legal sports betting revenue is set at 15%. This has resulted in $7.8 million in tax contributions since the late-January launch. The total betting handle for that same timeframe is $1.32 billion. State operators have taken in $49 million in total revenue.

The biggest operators in the legal US sports betting industry are all live in Virginia. Led by FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, there are a total of seven top-tier operators. Other legal books include BetRivers, William Hill/Caesars, WynnBET and Unibet.

Even more operators have plans to join this list in time for football season. This includes Golden Nugget, Bally’s and Barstool Sportsbook.


Legal sports betting in the District of Columbia is tied to the DC Lottery. The primary sports betting operator is GamebetDC.

As part of laws governing the industry, retail operations are permitted in local bars and restaurants. GamebetDC has set up self-service kiosks in well-known establishments throughout the District.

Starting on July 30, patrons at establishments such Ben’s Next Door, Lou’s City Bar, Takoma Station Tavern and Dirty Water had access to these legal sports betting kiosks.

Local sports personalities such as Brian Mitchell, Fred Smoot and Santana Moss were part of the opening day celebration.

Retail establishments offering the betting kiosks will receive a 5% commission on the betting handle from GamebetDC. There is also a 1% commission tied to the cashing of winnings.

The total amount of money wagered on sports in June throughout the District was $19.5 million. This was an increase of 42.3% against May’s total betting handle.

The big winner as far as operators are concerned was William Hill, as part of Caesars Entertainment. The retail and online sportsbook tied to Capital One Arena accounted for $1.6 million of the total $2.2 million in revenue.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author’s expertise here.

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