Churchill Downs Gets Tennessee Approval
Churchill Downs has been given the green light to enter the newly launched Tennessee sports betting market.
A new name will enter the Tennesee sports betting market in Tennessee, as Churchill Downs Inc (CDI) has this week received approval to launch a mobile betting platform in the Volunteer State. The news was revealed during Wednesday’s special meeting of the body responsible for sports wagering in the state; The Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) Corp.
In addition to Churchill Downs, eleven vendors also received approval for sports betting in Tennessee during the meeting. As part of the state’s rules and regulations, there are no restrictions on the number of licenses that may be issued for sports iGaming websites, but licensees and suppliers must meet the suitability requirements.
The approval followed news released earlier this week from CDI that it will be switching from the BetAmerica brand to TwinSpires Sports. The change of name is expected to occur before the company launches its online sportsbook and iGaming platform in Michigan later this month, pending regulatory approval.
According to a press release issued earlier this week, all online and retail sportsbooks currently operating in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Colorado will switch branding to TwinSpires during the first half of 2021.
CDI has been using the TwinSpires brand in its online pari-mutuel betting operations since 2007. The brand has a strong reputation in the gambling industry, boasting around 150 years of wagering experience for handicapping races and providing excellent customer experiences at classic events such as the Kentucky Derby.
Other well-known betting brands, William Hill and WynnBET have also applied to enter the Tennessee sports betting market. Both are hoping to receive approval quickly and launch their platforms in early 2021. Approval from the TEL is expected in late January.
Tennessee Starts Strongly
Just before Christmas, the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) posted numbers from the first month of iGaming being active in the state. The November numbers included totals for sports betting taxes and wagering. Across the whole of November, the state’s gross wagers came in at $131,444,523, including gross payouts totaling $118,219,615. Additionally, Tennessee’s privilege tax was $2,363,918. The numbers for December will be released later this month.
Tennessee is unique when it comes to legal gambling in the US, as it is the first state to have a mobile-only sports betting market. The state has no casinos, and historically Tennessee has been anti-gambling. Sports betting was approved in 2019, and the TEL is the regulator of sports betting.
The first legal bet was placed in the Volunteer State on November 1, 2019. The first day generated $5.1 million in handle and$3.4 million in payouts. In addition, $349,000 was raised in tax revenue. Four operators launched on the opening day; DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and the local Action 247 sportsbook, who are based in Nashville.
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