Tennessee panel OKs 5th online sportsbook operator

A Tennessee panel conditionally approved a license for a fifth sportsbook operator Wednesday under the state’s online-only sports betting program.

Churchill Downs drew approval from the Tennessee Lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee, joining FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings and Tennessee Action 24/7. Tennessee sports betting began Nov. 1.

Churchill Downs’ sportsbook, BetAmerica, is rebranding as TwinSpires. Some steps remain before Churchill Downs’ Tennessee launch, said lottery CEO Rebecca Hargove.

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Another meeting planned late this month will give more applicants the chance for possible approval and launch before the Super Bowl, Hargrove said.

State lawmakers narrowly passed sports betting in spring 2019 for people 21 and older who are physically in Tennessee while betting. Republican Gov. Bill Lee let it become law without his signature, citing concerns over an expansion of gambling in a state without casinos.

The law took effect in July 2019, but left many regulatory specifics up to the lottery, the sports betting regulator.

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