ZenSports Applies for Sports Betting Licenses in Tennessee and Virginia

Posted on: November 30, 2020, 01:40h. 

Last updated on: November 30, 2020, 02:44h.

ZenSports, which seeks to establish its sports betting marketplace in the United States, has filed for licenses Tennessee and Virginia.

ZenSports cofounder and CEO Mark Thomas, seen here at the Balkan Gaming Expo in 2018, announced that the sports betting company has applied for licenses in Tennessee and Virginia. (Image: ZenSports/Facebook)

Company cofounder and CEO Mark Thomas said that the company will seek approval to offer its online marketplace, which is like a sports betting exchange, where players can set bets and take action on them from other players.

We are amenable to only doing market-making and bookmaking ourselves in states where peer-to-peer isn’t yet allowed,” Thomas told Casino.org. “We’re pushing to allow for as many of our features as possible. But we have the capability to turn on/off as many or as few features as need be.”

In its peer-to-peer model, ZenSports charges a fee in lieu of the vig or juice sportsbooks place on odds. Thomas has said its fee is substantially lower than what other sportsbooks charge. However, Tennessee’s sports betting rules require sportsbooks to maintain a 10 percent hold, a figure higher than most sportsbooks’ margins.

If approved for peer-to-peer, Thomas said ZenSports would be able to adjust the fees in order to meet the state’s requirements.

Currently, four sportsbooks operate in Tennessee. They are Action247, BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Besides ZenSports, Churchill Downs’ BetAmerica, William Hill, and Wynn Resorts have also reportedly applied for a license in the state.

Up to A Dozen Licenses Available in Virginia

Like Tennessee, sports betting in Virginia will be online only.

The state approved sports wagering as part of the expanded gaming law that is also allowing casinos to operate in select Virginia communities. Casinos likely won’t open for some time. However, the Virginia Lottery expects to approve sports betting apps perhaps as early as January.

Unlike Tennessee, though, Virginia will cap the number of sportsbooks that can operate. However, the law gives the lottery some flexibility there. The lottery must approve at least four licenses for sports betting applications and no more than 12.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Lottery acknowledged it received 25 applications prior to its Oct. 31 deadline. It did not release the names of the applicants.

“The high level of interest by national and international sports betting operators validates Virginia’s efforts to strike an appropriate and responsible balance in its regulatory program for legalized sports betting,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall in a release.

Besides ZenSports, another sports betting company that has confirmed its application is Wynn.

About ZenSports

US-based ZenSports has offered its marketplace internationally for two years and promotes the use of its own cryptocurrency for bets. Thomas has said operating in the US is a major goal for the company.

In August, the company announced an agreement with Strategic Gaming Management that gives ZenSports an option to buy the Big Wheel Casino in Lovelock, Nev. In addition, it also offers an option to operate the sportsbook at Baldini’s in Sparks. With that deal, ZenSports applied for a sports betting license in Nevada, which would allow it to operate its marketplace.

In September, the company closed on a round of seed funding. It received nearly $1.5 million with a valuation of $8 million..

Besides Tennessee and Virginia, ZenSports also has been eying the Colorado sports betting market.