How Many Tennnessee Sports Betting Operators Will Go Live By Super Bowl?

Posted on January 7, 2021

A fifth operator received approval to launch sports betting in Tennessee with potentially more on the way by the Super Bowl.

The Tennessee Education Lottery approved Churchill Downs to launch in the state pending standard final checks. The approval was technically for the BetAmerica brand, through Churchill announced this week it would retire that brand and use TwinSpires instead.

There are still three pending TN sports betting applications:

  • William Hill
  • WynnBET
  • ZenSports

The Lottery plans to hold another special meeting in late January to consider those applications, CEO Rebecca Hargrove said. Operators want to be live if possible for Super Bowl betting but they might not all make the cut, she added.

“We think one can certainly be complete in time for the Super Bowl,” Hargrove said of the three applicants. “We need a whole lot more information from the other two in order for them to be ready for the Super Bowl.”

The Lottery also approved 12 vendors Wednesday.

Can TN sports betting continue hot start?

Hargrove again called for everyone to temper their expectations after Tennessee’s sports betting market exploded with a record first month.

Tennessee’s four sportsbooks combined for $131.4 million in handle, setting the national record for the best launch month by handle. Sports betting revenue was $13.2 million with $2.4 million paid in taxes to the state.

Hargrove mentioned handle can be a “very fluid number,” though November shouldn’t be far off December. The hometown favorite Tennessee Titans played four games last month while the NBA launched right before Christmas. There’s more NFL betting to be had in the Volunteer State as well with the Titans playing the Baltimore Ravens in a Wild Card game Sunday.

Confusion over peer-to-peer betting

It’s unclear at this time whether ZenSports will be allowed to offer its peer-to-peer betting services alongside its standard sportsbook.

ZenSports offers a P2P marketplace where players can set their own lines and take bets from others. The company has a standard sportsbook product as well and the launch into Tennessee is not dependent on regulators allowing P2P, ZenSports CEO Mark Thomas told LSR.

After a basic explanation, multiple members of the Lottery and the Sports Wagering Advisory Council still sounded confused about P2P sports betting in TN.

“Yeah, I don’t know how you monitor or regulate,” Chair Susan Lanigan said. “Anyway, again I’m ignorant when it comes to it. It sounds risky just in the way you described it but obviously something we need to learn more about.”

The plan is for Lottery staff to provide more information on P2P and pool betting before the next meeting to decide if regulators want to allow it.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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