Moment of Zen: New Sportsbook Launches in Tennessee

Moment of Zen: New Sportsbook Launches in Tennessee
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Two weeks after state regulators approved the sports betting license for ZenSports Tennessee, the operator officially became the 13th operator to go live in the Volunteer State.

ZenSports co-founder Mark Thomas made the announcement online Thursday morning.

While the company has been around for a few years, Tennessee marks ZenSports’ first official foray into U.S. mobile sports betting. Last October, KeyStar Corp. bought ZenSports, and eventually, Thomas became KeyStar’s CEO.

Tennessee has been a target market for ZenSports for the past couple of years.

“The Tennessee sports betting market is one of the top 10 in the country… We expect ZenSports to grow and flourish in Tennessee for many years to come,” Thomas said.

To celebrate the kickoff in Tennessee, ZenSports plans to host a launch party at the Corner Pub in Nashville on Friday night. Attendees may get additional bonuses and other prizes for registering for an account and making bets.

The company has no plans to stop in Tennessee. Thomas said the company will look to expand next year into as many as five states, which company leaders are still working to determine.

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Plans for Peer-to-Peer Approval Later

For now, ZenSports plans to offer only traditional sports betting markets through its proprietary platform to players in Tennessee. However, the company has a peer-to-peer wagering marketplace in the works. Another great addition to the best Tennessee sportsbook apps for bettors.

Peer-to-peer means bettors can propose their own wagers and amounts and post them in the marketplace for another gambler, who can accept part of the amount or the entire wager.

In Thursday’s statement, Thomas said the company plans to seek approval for peer-to-peer from the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee later this year.

ZenSports would not be the first company to offer peer-to-peer in the state. Last year, the SWAC approved a license for Wagr, which also offered that service. However, Wage officially surrendered its license in Tennessee last month. SWAC Executive Director Mary Beth Thomas told BetTennessee that the operator notified state officials it would relinquish its license before Yahoo acquired it in April.

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Changes Coming to Tennessee Sports Betting

ZenSports’ arrival in Tennessee comes as the state is about to make major changes to how it taxes operators.

Starting next month, the state will levy a 1.85% tax on the handle, or amount wagered, each month. That will replace the 20% tax lawmakers set when they passed sports betting in 2019.

Tennessee will become the first state to tax by the handle rather than revenue.

The handle tax was one of the provisions in Senate Bill 475 the Tennessee General Assembly passed in April, and Gov. Bill Lee signed into law last month. The new law also amends the annual licensing fee for operators based on their annual handle.

The Council will hold a meeting next Thursday to approve emergency rules that must be implemented because of SB 475.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.