Sports betting booms in TN for NCAA Tournament

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Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - An explosion of sports betting is expected in Tennessee this week as people across the state strap in to watch the Big Dance.

Millions of sports bettors hope to see green as the NCAA College Basketball Tournament tipped off Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day.

Since online sports betting became legal in Tennessee in Sept. 2018, $2.3 billion has been wagered, according to data from PlayTenn.

PlayTenn reports Tennessee’s pulled in $35 million in tax revenue from sports betting.

Eighty percent of it goes to funding scholarships and grants for students, according to PlayTenn. In addition, 15 percent of it goes to local governments to work on roads and other infrastructure while the other five percent goes to fighting gambling addiction.

“When we checked to see that Tennessee was one of the few states that had it going, it definitely solidified our choice,” Ryan Baldinger said.

Baldinger said he and his friends make a trip each year for March Madness, and this year, they settled on Nashville.

“Seeing I’ve got two kids now and he does too, [we look forward to it] a lot, a lot,” Baldinger’s friend, Dave Glotfelty said.

They’re going to spend the weekend being two of the millions of people getting in on the betting action, straight from betting apps on their phones.

“I definitely dabble a little bit,” Dylan Odonnell, who went out in Midtown to see his alma mater Providence play, said. “Made a pact with some of my friends that we were going to bet on every single game for March Madness.”

The thrill of a quick payout from the often-unpredictable tournament puts Tennessee at no pace for a record-breaking year of sports gambling.

The March Madness tournament is the state’s most significant sports betting event, aside from the Super Bowl.

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