Churchill Downs Approved for Tennessee Sports Betting

Churchill Downs Approved for Tennessee Sports Betting
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Tennessee will have another mobile sports betting operator — Churchill Downs Inc.’s BetAmerica/TwinSpires.

The announcement came during Wednesday’s special meeting of the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) Corp.

Twelve vendors were also approved for sports betting in Tennessee during the meeting. There are no restrictions on the number of licenses that may be issued for interactive sports gaming operations, but licensees and suppliers must meet suitability requirements.

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The approval comes a day after CDI announced it will be transitioning from the BetAmerica brand to TwinSpires. The branding change is expected to take place before CDI’s online sportsbook and iGaming launch in Michigan later this month, pending final regulatory approval.

Retail and online sportsbooks operating in Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will also rebrand under TwinSpires during the first half of 2021, according to Tuesday’s news release.

CDI has used the TwinSpires brand in its online pari-mutuel wagering business since 2007. CDI boasts nearly 150 years of wagering history for handicapping races and providing unique customer experiences at the Kentucky Derby.

William Hill betting site and WynnBET have also applied to enter the Tennessee sports betting market and are hoping to launch early this year. Approval from the TEL could come later this month.

A Strong First Month in Tennessee

On Dec. 23, the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) reported November (first month of interactive sports wagering in state history) totals for sports betting taxes and wagering. From Nov. 1-30, the state’s gross wagers totaled $131,444,523 with gross payouts at $118,219,615. The state’s privilege tax was $2,363,918.

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December totals will be announced later this month.

Tennessee is the nation’s first mobile-only sports betting market. There are no casinos in Tennessee, a historically gambling-averse state that approved sports betting in 2019. The TEL serves as the regulator of sports betting in the state and does not serve as an operator.

The market opened on Nov. 1 and on the first day had $5.1 million in handle, $3.4 million in payout and $349,000 in tax revenue, according to the TEL committee. All four operators launching that day — BetMGM sports, DraftKings, FanDuel betting and Nashville-based Action 247 — reported record first-day handles in Tennessee.