Churchill Downs has plans to launch sports betting in the state of Tennessee by the Super Bowl, which would give the state five mobile apps in time for the big game.
On Wednesday in Nashville, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation met to approve Churchill Downs and its BetAmerica-branded platform for operation in the state. An authorization for launch hasn’t been given yet. Regulators plan to meet again later this month. BetAmerica is live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
Kambi Group, a tech supplier for the industry, will be one of CDI’s partners in the state. Kambi has already been approved for involvement in the industry. GAN, another supplier that CDI will work with for its platform, has not yet been approved by the TEL.
In addition to CDI, the TEL signed off on 12 new vendors on Wednesday.
Outstanding are approvals for WynnBet and William Hill, which applied around the same time as CDI. It doesn’t appear those books will be live in time for the Super Bowl, but March Madness would be a bet.
Those sportsbooks that will be live by the game wouldn’t mind if the Tennessee Titans make it in, though the books are operational in other states with popular teams. The Titans won the AFC South and will play Baltimore in a wild-card game on Sunday.
The Tennessee Lottery reported more than $130 million in wagering handle from the month of November, the first month of the activity. Regulators will release numbers from December later this month.
ZenSports and peer-to-peer wagering
Another pending sports betting application in Tennessee belongs to ZenSports, which is a traditional online/mobile sportsbook but with another component that is a bit of a twist on sports betting.
The platform seeks to eventually offer what is called peer-to-peer sports betting. The site would charge a fee of some kind on wagering done in markets created by its customers. This is a similar vertical to online poker, where gamblers compete against each other instead of the house.
The TEL discussed the model briefly on Wednesday, basically delaying the topic to a future meeting and likely behind-the-scenes discussion. ZenSports could offer online gambling in Tennessee in a traditional way, before possibly doing peer-to-peer in the future.
TEL Chairwoman Susan Lanigan admitted that she’s “ignorant” on peer-to-peer sports betting.
“I certainly would need a lot more information,” she said, while alluding to the need for the lottery’s legal counsel to take a look. The TEL is tasked with being the regulator of sports wagering, and the group has to follow the 2019 Sports Gaming Act.