Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Action 24/7’s President Tina Hodges to the newsmaker line to discuss their creative and personal approach to online sports gambling.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our very good friend, the president and founder of Action 247. On the web at Action247.com. A Tennessee-based sportsbook. Tina Hodges. Good morning, Tina.
Hodges: Good morning! How are you?
Leahy: Well, great. Congratulations. I think you’ve been operating now for it’ll be what, a year in November? Is that right?
Hodges: Yes. This is the first full football season with legal sports gambling in Tennessee.
Leahy: We’re excited about that. Of course, you sponsor Dr. K’s Game Day Picks every Friday at 7:30 a.m. He’s very excited about this coming year. What sort of things do you have going on in action247.com this football season?
Hodges: Yes. We have had so much fun going across the state and meeting all of our players. We had a huge turnout last night at several events. One was right here in Nashville Boombozz in East Nashville.
The UT Alumni Association had a big watch party. And we were down there with those guys. We have a new customer special going on right now where we will match your first $400 deposit. Use the deposit code, Action 400, and we will match up to $400.
Leahy: That’s a great deal. I mean, $400? Wow! It’s interesting, a lot of people are online using a sportsbook to track football games and other sporting events. It has become very much a mainstream activity. What I like about Action 247.com is it’s Tennessee-based. It’s for Tennesseeans. That is a big deal to me.
Hodges: That is so special to me that we are the only Tennessee-owned and operated sportsbook. No other Tennesseeans have applied for a license yet. So we’ll hold that title for quite a bit longer, I think. But it’s been fun.
It’s been great. Most of the time when we meet people and they say I never knew there was a Tennessee-owned and operated one, I’ll download it now. I’ll switch right now. And so it’s just a matter of getting the word out.
Leahy: Tennesseeans are very proud of being from Tennessee. Of course, they track all the various sporting events. Last night at your watch party, you had the Tennessee Volunteers playing against what was a Bowling Green and they got beaten pretty handily, right?
Hodges: Yes. Yes. About 32 points.
Leahy: Well, you would know you would track how much they won by because that’s what this is all about. (Hodges chuckles)
Hodges: Yes. Yes. Yes. I think the people who bet on that had wanted them to win by more than 35. But I’m a Vols fan. I grew up and my family had season tickets. Grew up near the stadium and went to school there. So a win is a win and I’m just super excited for them.
Leahy: The NFL, there’s a lot of things that people can look at and participate in sort of gaming opportunities in the NFL. It’s not just like who’s going to win, who’s going to lose. What are the other things that people can wager on?
Hodges: That’s right. The NFL is a little different in Tennessee than college sports because, in professional sports, we are allowed to offer prop bets or proposition bets. And those are bet on an individual player.
So you could say, I think this player is going to pass for this many yards or Derek Henry is going to run for this many yards. In college, we can’t have those wagers on individuals because they’re not professional athletes. And so there are a bigger variety of things that you can wager on at the NFL.
Leahy: Yeah. I like that because I’m kind of a statistics geek on these sorts of things. And I like tracking the performance of individual folks. It’s a little bit like fantasy football, except there’s more on the line shall we say sometimes.
Hodges: It is. There are a lot of people who I’ll say are in their 30s and 40s now who grew up sort of playing fantasy football because that was a different type of wagering.
And it might have been legal before traditional sports wagering was legal. And so they understand that. They understand players and specific stats for that player. And so they like placing those bets.
Leahy: You know, another thing about Tennesseeans, they love the underdog. And you are competing in a huge industry of very large multinational companies with big spokespeople out there.
But here in Tennessee you, the UT grad, are the UT person. You’re the one who’s the spokesperson. I think that adds a little bit of specialist to Action 247.
Hodges: I think so. We’ve had a lot of people make the same comment. As I said, we have a huge team. About 100 people across the state that are going to bars and restaurants almost every night of the week, every weekend, for sure, hosting watch parties and registering people, giving out T-shirts and beers and all sorts of stuff.
And all of the restaurant and bar owners that we meet say, you know what? I’m a local business owner, and I want to help you because you’re a local business owner. And people don’t think of a sportsbook. They hear MGM, and they think, oh, it’s an international hotel chain that has a sportsbook.
So when they realize that there’s a locally owned company with a call center right here in Nashville with kids that just graduated from NCSU sitting in those chairs answering the phone, they’re really excited about it.
Leahy: Now you said something interesting there. Is there a real job? A lot of our young college graduates might be interested in this. Is there a real job to go to a bar or restaurant on game night and promote Action 247? Is that a real job?
Hodges: Yeah, absolutely. We are hiring. We have so many events and we have tons of staff, but we could always use more. And it is super fun. Talk about a fun way to meet people. We find a bar or restaurant, we show up an hour before kickoff.
We walk around, meet and greet all the people. If you download the app, we buy you a free beer and get you a T-shirt. We have tons of cool T-shirts right now. You can go on action247.com and click merch, and you can look at all the T-shirts.
Leahy: We yeah, I see it right there. Action 247.com. Hit Merch. But now this is interesting because I didn’t know how prolific Action 247 was out in the community, going to the bars and restaurants on game nights.
It sounds like the perfect job for a sports nut who’s looking for something to do that they like and that they care about. I don’t think any of the big companies are doing anything like that.
Hodges: I have not seen anyone here. I’ve not seen anyone doing it. I just think it’s important for us to meet our players face to face. And when you ask someone for their business most of the time, they say yes and they’re happy to meet you.
You can walk them through their first bet. We always give them their first bets free, and we always give them deposit matches. We show them hand to hand exactly how to use it. And they really appreciate it.
Leahy: That’s a very interesting approach to the business because the other sort of the larger entities that are involved in this is very impersonal, shall we say? You just go on the site and you do whatever they require for you to place the wager.
But in this case, the people here in Tennessee who are doing these ways, know your team. There’s a personal connection there. I think it makes it a lot more fun.
Hodges: Yes, absolutely. It absolutely does.
Leahy: Are there any other big actions that are planned by Action 247 in the near future?
Hodges: Yes. I want to make sure that people understand, especially our listeners, that are new to sports gambling because it’s just been legal for nine months. It’s very new. And some people might not be comfortable placing that first bet.
And we have an awesome free-to-play site. It’s the same website, action247.com, and you click on a free-to-play. We have a $100,000. free to play NFL game going on. We have a $100,000 college game.
And every week we’re going to have three games. So you can log on, get used to what the terminology is, what is over, what is under, what do these lines mean? And you can start making some picks and get more comfortable with what the screens look like and things like that.
I think that’s fun as an alternative for people who are new. And then when you want to make that first bet you are already on the site. You can download the app and go ahead and place a real money wager on those bets.
Leahy: What a great, innovative idea. I’m looking at it. Go to action247.com and just scroll down in the lower right. It says, Free to Play. You can see it there. Tina Hodges with action247.com. Thanks so much for joining us today. Come back again soon.
Hodges: Thank you.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Tina Hodges” by Tina Hodges and photo “sports betting” by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar CC BY 2.0.