First, there were straight bets on sports – moneylines, spreads, etc. Then came parlay bets, adding some new excitement to the market. As sports betting continues to evolve, increased exposure to peer-to-peer betting platforms is being found, an indication of the continued evolution of the industry. ZenSports isn’t the only one getting involved, but it has big plans for the future. It just took a huge step forward by receiving tentative approval to set up shop in Nevada.
NGCB Greenlights ZenSports
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has signed off on a request by ZenSports to access the Nevada gaming market. The board has given its unanimous support for the company to operate Lovelock’s Big Wheel Casino, as well as a sportsbook at Baldini’s Sports Casino in Sparks. The approval is only part of the equation, though, as the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) still has to approve ZenSports’ license. That approval might be a little more difficult.
ZenSports is already seeking licenses in other states, but has put those initiatives on hold as it wants to secure its entry into the Nevada market first. The startup, like Smarkets and Prophet, gives sports bettors the ability to wager against other bettors, instead of placing bets through a traditional sportsbook. However, currently, peer-to-peer wagering isn’t legal in Nevada. ZenSports is also big into cryptocurrency and has an API that works with Bitcoin, as well as its own SPORTS digital token. With peer-to-peer sports betting and cryptocurrency still off the table in Nevada, unless you’re a multibillion-dollar resort, the NGC might be more hesitant about issuing the license.
Nevada’s Gaming Scene is Changing
It’s also highly possible that the NGC doesn’t think twice. ZenSports is buying the two properties from Strategic Gaming Management, which has already received preliminary support. The purchase will close once the state gives its final approval for the ZenSports mobile sports betting app, which could happen when the commission meets on August 19. If it does, ZenSports is going to raise the bar on how Nevada sports bettors view their pastime.
Chatter about online gaming coming to Nevada has been growing and, according to ZenSports founder and CEO Mark Thomas, interest on the part of other operators in using the company’s solution is increasing. The introduction to the two land-based properties is just a way for it to get its feet wet, and Thomas is optimistic that, perhaps as soon as next year, peer-to-peer betting and cryptocurrency payments will be authorized.
Thomas asserted after the NGCB gave its initial approval this past Wednesday, “This industry has had a lot of large incumbents for a long time. I think it’s ripe for disruption and I think a startup like us is a perfect company to come along and do that and make some waves.” He added, “A handful of states are let’s do peer-to-peer right now. In other states (like Nevada), we need to go through that process. We’re very comfortable that we will eventually get that approved in Nevada and many other states as they see the comfortability of how we’re still the licensed operator of peer-to-peer and resolving all bets.”
This is only the beginning of a story that is going to take the next decade to be written.