Tennessee Gambling & Sports Betting News

The latest on the gambling industry and sports betting

Sports betting is legal in Tennessee. With no retail sportsbooks planned, betting will be entirely online in the Volunteer State. You’ll be able to use apps or websites to bet on pro sports, college games, and sports from around the world.

PlayTenn.com has everything you need to get started with sports betting in Tennessee, including detailed reviews and overviews of how to bet on the biggest sports in TN.

Gambling launch dates

Tennessee Titans

Last updated: February 2020

Tennessee is making progress towards launching the first online sportsbook in 2020, but it is slow going. The public comment period on proposed regulations wrapped after hundreds of people submitted suggestions. Now it is up to the regulators to take that feedback and come up with a finalized set of rules that address some of the more contentious parts of the first draft.

The latest meeting resulted in some progress towards final regulations, but the group will need to meet again in the spring to keep ironing out potential problems.

After that, the next step is to actually open up the licensing process. Regulators have 90 days to respond to an application as well as licenses to dole out. That means quite a bit of paperwork and processing, so it will likely be close to football season before the first TN sports betting app starts taking bets.

TN betting legal basics

Legal SPorts Betting

The state legislature passed a law in May 2019 that would allow for legal online sports betting in the state.

Gov. Bill Lee allowed the bill to become law without his signature, which started the clock for legal sports betting to get going.

As stated above, the law is unique in the United States, as it doesn’t make any provisions for retail sportsbooks, which are physical locations where you can place a sports wager. However, there are an unlimited number of licenses for online sportsbooks available in the state. Anyone that passed regulatory muster and ponies up the licensing fee can operate in Tennessee.

That should create a robust marketplace for sports betting in the state and could potentially lead to some new and unique operators in the space.

Is Gambling legal in Tennessee?

Bill H1 was passed in the spring of 2019, though not without controversy. This set up a licensing framework for online sportsbooks. It does not contain any provision for retail sportsbooks, or any other form of gambling.

H1 passed both TN houses by a small margin. Gov. Bill Lee did not sign the bill. Acknowledging that the house votes represented the people, he stopped short of using his veto. The bill went unsigned, becoming law by default as the deadline was passed. Bill Lee used the opportunity to state his continued opposition to casino gambling.

There are some notable differences to bills in other states. Namely that live (in-play) betting will have to use official data feeds provided by the major leagues. additionally, there will be no in-game or prop betting on college athletics.

The licensing fee is relatively modest, while the tax rate is on the high side.

  • A $750,000 annual license fee
  • 20% tax rate on gross revenue

To legally place a wager, you need to be 21+ and physically located within TN state lines. You will not be able to bet using a VPN from outside the state.

Tennessee sports betting FAQ

What is the legal age for gambling in Tennessee?

You must be 21 to place a sports bet, once it’s legal.

Is online sports betting legal in Tennessee?

Yes. Bill H 1 became law in the spring of 2019. This set out a licensing framework for mobile sports betting sites  along with tax, license fees and rules concerning odds feeds and college sports.

The first sportsbook apps are expected to be live in mid-2020.

Are there any retail sportsbooks in TN?

No. Bill H1 did not contain any provision to set up retail sportsbooks.

Can I play DFS contests for real money in TN?

Yes. Daily fantasy sports contests, where you pick line-ups of players and compete against others for real money, are explicitly legal in Tennessee. These were formally allowed in 2016, when Governor Bill Lee signed Bill 27-2.

Deposits for players are restricted to $2,500 a month and the minimum age for players was set at 18.

Do I have to be a Tennessee resident to place a sports wager?

No, you do not. You simply need to be located in the state to use a Tennessee sports betting app.

Generally, know your customer protocols for US betting apps require you to be an American citizen, however. That’s likely to be the case in Tennessee.

Are online casinos or poker sites legal in Tennessee?

Bill H 1 did not include casino games or poker. There are options for both of these available under sweepstakes gambling laws. These sites let you play with a virtual currency called ‘sweeps coins’. You can exchange what you win for dollars and cash out.

Does Tennessee have horse race betting?

Sort of. There are no racetracks nor is pari-mutuel wagering expressly legal in Tennessee, despite recent bills to get a law allowing it on the books.

However, advanced deposit wagering (ADW) sites like TVG, Bet America and Twin Spires. They give you access to the pari-mutuel betting pools at tracks throughout the US. Tennessee does not regulate or oversee these races in any way. However, most are under the jurisdiction of regulated US horse racing markets.

Resources

Which brands are expected to launch online sportsbooks?

At the time of writing the licensing process is underway. The first TN online sportsbooks are expected to go live in 2020. With 7 million residents and a rich sporting history, Tennessee is a big enough market to attract the heavy-hitters of the betting industry.

Here is a list of brands which are expected to bid for licenses:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FOX Bet (FOX Sports / Stars Group)
  • Bet365
  • William Hill
  • BetAmerica
  • Caesars
  • BetMGM
  • 888

When the brands launching are confirmed, you’ll find out first here at PlayTenn.com. This will include more detailed information on how to get the best sign-up bonus from each site.

How to download a betting apps

The website versions of online sportsbooks work well on desktops. If you are using a mobile device, you’ll typically have to download an app in order to bet. To get started, head to the sportsbook website on your phone, and follow the prompts. iPhone users will be directed to the App Store. If you are using Android, you’ll need to download directly from the brands’ websites.

You can read our full guide on mobile betting here. 

Once you have the app on your phone, you’ll need to register an account. The process is simple. The site will need your name, e-mail, and date of birth. You will also be asked to provide the last 4 digits of your social security number. No backup documents are needed unless your account is flagged for a security check.

How to fund your account

Funding your account brings a lot of choices. Which you choose depends on how comfortable you are using your bank cards online.

The wording in the Tennessee law seems to indicate that credit cards may not be an option for TN bettors. However, there will be several cash-initiated deposit options including:

  • PayPal
  • PayNearMe
  • ACH
  • Bank transfers
  • Debit card

Always choose a licensed sportsbook

The offshore sports betting industry exists in legal loophole – and has very little in the way of supervision from the host countries. These books buy a license in the Caribbean and will accept US bettors. Other than tricky (non-standard) deposit methods, they work in a similar way to the TN legal ones.

The problems occur when you have a dispute.

If an offshore book refuses to honor a big win, you have no recourse. In the past, books have simply disappeared, taking bettors bankrolls with them.