Online gambling in Tennessee is now legal. Sports betting in the Volunteer State was launched in the fall of 2020.
Tennessee gambling laws permit betting online and on mobile apps. There are currently no plans for retail sportsbooks to open, as Tennessee sports gambling laws have been created to regulate only the online sports betting market.
Online sports betting was legalized in Tennessee when Gov. Bill Lee allowed the Tennessee sports gaming act to become law without his signature in May 2019. Lee was initially opposed to any form of gambling being expanded in the state. However, he relented and decided to go along with the will of the Tennessee state legislature.
Following that decision, the countdown for sports betting Tennessee began. The Volunteer State is now one of the few Southern states with legal sports betting and the only one with online wagering options.
To stay legal when gambling online in TN, these sportsbooks below are licensed by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation:
All of the above sportsbooks offer numerous betting options, with DraftKings running the world’s most famous daily fantasy sports contests. All have TN mobile sports betting apps that enable bettors to gamble on the go. Using geolocation, the sportsbook apps can pinpoint your exact location to ensure you are within state lines when you are playing and make sure you are betting legally in the state.
Gov. Bill Lee was adamant that he didn’t want any physical casinos in Tennessee. There is currently no physical casino in Tennessee. Therefore, it became the first state in the country to legalize an online/mobile-only sports wagering industry, with sweepstakes casinos operating on the sidelines. Additionally, Lee wanted the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) to regulate the industry instead of creating a new body from scratch.
As there are no physical locations for bettors to visit in Tennessee, online-only betting discussions weren’t difficult. Lawmakers did not have to overcome obstacles such as in-state businesses and employers exerting pressure on policymakers. In the end, when many experts felt that betting would never be legal in Tennessee, the state moved forward.
Following the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which removed the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada, many states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have enjoyed success from legal online gambling.
The Tennessee online gambling laws were put together fairly quickly. Rep. Rick Staples, a Democrat from Knoxville, filed House Bill 1 in 2018. Then new TN laws 2019 emerged, which gradually moved through the legislative process with only some minor obstacles before reaching Lee.
The bill was approved in the House by a margin of 58-37, and a vote in the Senate followed with a 20-12 margin. However, it wasn’t entirely plain sailing. Some lawmakers were stringently opposed to gambling in all forms. Ultimately though, most elected officials agreed that the timing was perfect for introducing sports betting along with the tax revenue it would bring in. It was noted that tax revenue was already around due to illegal wagering channels, so it would be prudent to bring in measures to regulate the industry.
Some lawmakers who were opposed to Tennessee gambling suggested an amendment to ban wagering on Sundays and on major holidays. This amendment would have made it extremely challenging for the regulated sports betting market. It was voted down during the legislative process’s committee stage and never made it to the final gambling law.
The Tennessee sports gaming act has been in effect since July 1, 2019. However, the TELC spent a long time finalizing the regulations. These regulations are what we see today as online wagering officially started in Tennessee on November 1, 2020.
The TN sports betting law is the single online-only model in the United States to date. Consequently, betting occurs exclusively via the internet.
Here is a breakdown of figures for licensing and taxes:
Regulators and lawmakers in Tennessee created rules about how sports wagering would look in the state. Additionally, they implemented what some describe as a strange hold provision, which is not used anywhere else in the United States.
This provision creates a required 10% hold on all bets received pushback from industry professionals. The result is bettors experiencing worse pricing and fewer sportsbooks in Tennessee.
The bill created the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation Sports Wagering Advisory Council. This Tennessee lottery board comprises nine members appointed by a mixture of the governor, the Senate speaker, and the House speaker. All members must live in Tennessee and have some experience in law enforcement, the sports industry, or accounting.
Regulators are required to submit an annual report to the governor on how betting sites and the sports betting industry is progressing in Tennessee.
You must be at least 21 years of age to bet in Tennessee legally. Additionally, you must be physically located within state lines. Bettors have the opportunity to register for accounts remotely through mobile devices.
Anybody associated with a sports league or organization is prohibited from betting, including some state officials.
There are some restrictions on the types of bets you can place in Tennessee. In-game prop bets on collegiate sports are illegal in Tennessee, in addition to wagers on injuries and penalties. Regarding responsible gambling methods, sportsbooks are required to implement minimum problem gambling safeguards in place. State law means all betting sites must have a process that allows bettors to limit their gambling session on any platform.
Bettors must have the ability to fund their online accounts via debit/credit cards, electronic bank transfers, e-wallets, or any other payment methods that regulators have approved.
Is bingo legal in Tennessee?
Bingo is only legal in Tennessee as a form of charitable gambling. There are no commercial bingo parlors in Tennessee, so you cannot play for real money.
Are there casinos in Nashville?
There are no physical casinos in the state of Tennessee. If players are looking for some live casino action, they will need to travel over the border to Mississippi. Tennessee law means all gambling in the state is done online.