An unidentified sports betting company is mulling Nashville as its US headquarters and could bring as many as 800 jobs to Tennessee’s capitol city.
The Nashville Business Journal reported the mystery sportsbook operator is mulling a $40 million investment to build 120,000 square feet of office space. Identified as “Project Forge,” the company is also considering Denver and Tucson, Ariz. as its US headquarters.
To be precise, the unknown gaming company is expected to bring 807 jobs to its US home base with an average annual salary north of $97,000. That means competition among the cities will be fierce. Last week, the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) signed off on $14 million in incentives to woo the company, which is believed to be based in the UK.
Mobile sports wagering is live and legal in Arizona, Colorado and Tennessee with the first two among the fastest-growing markets in the industry. Tennessee is currently mulling a controversial proposal to switch to a 1.85% tax on a handle from its current 20% levy on sports betting revenue.
Speculating on the Mystery Company
Today, there are a dozen operators licensed to offer mobile sports wagering in Tennessee. Those are Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, Betly, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, Hard Rock, SuperBook, Tennessee Action 24/7, and WynnBET.
Of that group, only BetMGM and FanDuel have ties to UK-based firms. BetMGM is 50% owned by Entain while FanDuel’s parent company is Flutter Entertainment. Both have established US headquarters – BetMGM in New Jersey and FanDuel in New York.
Specific to Entain, that company likely doesn’t need a larger physical footprint in the US because aside from BetMGM, it does the bulk of its business in Europe and Australia, among other ex-US jurisdictions. Regarding FanDuel, there’s been no talk of the company searching for a new main office in the US.
Some experts believe that leaves Bet365 as the firm likely behind “Project Forge.” Bet365 is based in the UK, has some operations in the US and an office in the Philadelphia area.
On CNBC’s 2022 survey of top states for states for business, Colorado ranked fourth while Tennessee placed sixth. Colorado placed first in the workforce category — undoubtedly a consideration for any company evaluating a move there.
However, Tennessee bested Colorado in the cost of doing business, infrastructure and overall economy categories. The two states tied for access to capital and education, but Tennessee placed 29 spots better in terms of cost of living.
Colorado has a corporate tax rate of 4.40%, which is below the 6.50% in Tennessee, according to the Tax Foundation. Both states’ unemployment rates are below the 3.5% national average.
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