Churchill Downs, Incorporated (CDI) plans to launch its TwinSpires sportsbook in Tennessee this March.
The company made the announcement during a fourth quarter results conference call on Thursday, Feb. 25.
This means Tennesseans could have a new book available as early as March Madness.
TwinSpires targets Tennessee launch for March
This state-related news came amid discussion about the company’s national expansion and growth potential in 2021.
Tennessee will be the fifth state in which TwinSpires is operational – behind New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan.
CDI says it intends to launch the sportsbook in the Volunteer State sometime within the next month, though it didn’t reveal an exact timeframe.
Undoubtedly, the company would like to launch before one of the most wagered on sporting events in March, the NCAA Championship.
TwinSpires brand merger
TwinSpires has long been associated with pari-mutuel wagering, Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
Sports betting, on the other hand, is a new industry for the brand.
The venture gained footing in 2020, when the onset of COVID-19 severely hindered the profitability of CDI’s brands.
Many of its casino properties lost significant revenue and were forced to operate at reduced capacity during the last year.
Additionally, the 2020 Kentucky Derby, which is generally a $181 million annual event, ran with no spectators for the first time in history.
Consequently, the pandemic became a major catalyst for the evolution of the company.
CDI felt the pressing need to generate alternative forms of income to foster prolonged market sustainability.
This is where TwinSpires came in.
The lower overall customer acquisition rates achieved by leveraging TwinSpires’ Kentucky Derby connection was a primary reason for rebranding.
TwinSpires saw a substantial increase in online horse wagering with brick-and-mortar racetracks closed. The online sports betting industry saw a similar uptick in profitability, making it a natural progression for the brand’s development.
When discussing company growth strategy during the conference call, CDI noted economical market reinvestment and exceptional customer service as two primary areas of focus going forward.
TwinSpires prepares to enter the Tennessee fold
Four sportsbooks are currently operational in Tennessee:
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) approved three additional operators in January:
- William Hill
TwinSpires was the first operator to receive a rubber stamp in the state’s second round of conditionally-approved licenses.
Each brand must finalize specific aspects of the licensing process before being officially cleared for a Tennessee launch. There has been no explanation as to what TwinSpires’ particular holdup may be.
Judging by today’s announcement, however, the company seems to be nearing the finish line.