Churchill Downs Inc. Coming to Tennessee
The Tennessee Education Lottery announced on Wednesday that it has given preliminary approval for a new sportsbook to launch in Tennessee.
Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming is the company that could be the next to launch a TN online sportsbook in the Volunteer State.
Churchill Downs Inc. is based out of Louisville, Ky., which makes the launch in Tennessee smart in terms of location. The state of Kentucky has yet to legalize sports betting, and CDI has been looking to expand in recent months.
Tennessee does not have race tracks, but Churchill Downs Inc. does own and operate a horse racing track near the Tennessee border. This will help the company gain popularity in the Volunteer State.
There are still a number of final steps that need to be taken before CDI is ready to offer sports betting, but it is expected to launch at some point this spring. Churchill Downs has paid the $500,000 bond to the Tennessee Education Lottery, which allows that group to continue to move forward with the licensing process.
One of the final requirements will be for the state to approve the player account management system that will be used by Churchill Downs. That system is operated by GAN Limited.
Twelve other vendors were approved for sports betting licenses at the meeting, but Churchill Downs was the only sportsbook operator. There are currently just four online sportsbooks in the state, but that number is expected to climb in 2021.
There have been some other applications submitted to the Tennessee Education Lottery, but that group has moved slowly when looking to issue licenses. Tennessee is the first online-only sports betting market in the US, but the state set new industry records with an impressive first month.
Total sports betting handle for the first month was over $131 million, which was the best first month ever recorded. That number still falls well short of some of the biggest markets in the US, but it is an encouraging start for the state.
Churchill Downs Inc. Making Changes
Churchill Downs will likely enter Tennessee under the BetAmerica brand, but that will be changing soon. Churchill Downs will be rebranding both the sportsbook and iGaming under the TwinSpires platform in an effort to make even more growth in both industries.
The first rebrand will be happening in the state of Michigan as Churchill Downs is expected to launch both online sports betting and online casino this month. The rest of the properties will be rebranded over the next five months.
TwinSpires is the most popular brand when it comes to horse race betting, and that should give Churchill Downs more exposure as it looks to offer sports betting in more states. The name Churchill Downs is well-known in the horse racing industry, but it has a long way to go to compete with some of the top online sports betting operators.
BetAmerica already offers online sports betting in Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but it has struggled to stay competitive.
Check back for more TN sports betting news and the latest sports news in The Volunteer State.
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