The Nevada gambling watchdog approved the startup company ZenSports as the latest casino and sports betting operator in the Silver State. The startup company gained the regulator’s approval with a narrow vote of two to one, allowing it to operate the Big Wheel in Loverock casino ninety miles northwest of Reno. Apart from the gaming venue, the company will run the sports betting section at Baldini’s Sports Casino but without owning it.
ZenSports will have to return to the regulator two years from now to discuss a potential renewal of the two approvals. The startup aims to bring something fresh to the sports wagering industry in the state as it intends to launch cryptocurrency-funded and peer-to-peer sports betting in 2022. Both of these services are presently prohibited in the Silver State, so further approval from the local regulator will be necessary.
ZenSports intends to roll out its sports wagering product across the entire state via a mobile application. Additionally, the startup is purchasing the Big Wheel in Loverock Casino from Strategic Gaming Management, the owner of Baldini’s. The casino is home to 48 slot machines but lacks a sports betting section.
Some Commissioners opposed the move, arguing that ZenSports lacks the experience and funding to operate the casino and sportsbook. One example is Commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey who opposed the licensing and insisted the startup should improve its application. Commissioner Solis-Rainey argued that the company lacks the resources to adequately staff as it has only one employee with considerable experience.
Commissioner Steven Cohen expressed some uncertainty that the company deserves the license but decided to grant his approval after all and give a chance to the new firm to prove itself. Commissioner Cohen said he was concerned about ZenSports’ financing but was nonetheless comforted by the fact the company is not in any debt. ZenSports launched on the European market back in 2019.
ZenSports Plans to Focus on the US Market
The company made the tough decision to close down its operations in ten markets on the Old Continent so that it can fully focus on expanding to the US. Mark Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of ZenSports, whose background is in software and real estate, confirmed that the firm’s funding is indeed under $1 million but it intends to raise more. Around $90,000 of the $250,000 invested in ZenSports came from pai gow poker and craps winnings. Thomas is confident the company will experience no problems in raising more funds in the future.
John Moran, who chairs the Nevada Gaming Commission, asked ZenSports’ CEO what would his company offer to customers so that it can differentiate itself from the competition and carve a niche for itself in Nevada’s saturated gambling market. Thomas responded his company has invested a lot of time and effort into crafting a mobile app that performs smoothly and leaves users with the impression they are on a social network. The Chief Executive cited cryptocurrencies and peer-to-peer betting as two main aspects that will differentiate ZenSports from other operators.