Welcome to PlayTenn! You have reached the premier source for information about Tennessee sports betting.
Sports betting became legal in Tennessee in May 2019 and launched Nov. 1, 2020. Though it has taken more than a year, multiple sportsbooks have their apps loaded and ready to go.
Here’s more on the latest news, updates, and, best of all, bonus offers that are yours to take advantage of as a new Tennessee sports bettor:
Last updated: June 3, 2021
Tennesseans have wagered over $1 billion on sports since the launch of online sports betting in November.
This makes Tennessee the quickest state to reach $1 billion in bets, happening in just six short months.
The Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) is taking the next steps toward becoming the official sports betting regulator in Tennessee. Gov. Bill Lee signed the proposal into law on May 27, and the SWAC recently held a meeting to discuss hiring an executive director.
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The good news for online sportsbook operators is that there are no in-state casinos or racetracks these organizations have to partner with in order to access the TN sports betting market.
Here’s a look at the first sportsbooks that opened up online sportsbooks in Tennessee:
Now that online sports betting is live, you’ll be able to access the apps from your desktop computer or your phone.
If you want to access via your computer, your computer will likely ask you to add an extension from GeoComply in order properly geolocate.
GeoComply is considered the top company when it comes to geolocation technology. The company works with every regulated market in the United States, so you should feel confident your computer will be safe and secure with the GeoComply extensions.
If you want to bet on your phone, more often than not, you will need to download an app to bet. The reason you can’t just pull out your cell phone and bet on your browser is that your device cannot geolocate to the degree necessary in order to meet regulatory requirements in most US markets.
What does it take to geolocate? Services like GeoComply use your IP address, your phone’s internal GPS system, and nearby cell phone towers to determine precisely where you are.
Since the laws for sports betting limits wagering to within the Tennessee borders, there are systems in place to ensure that no one can spoof locations using things like a VPN. With accuracy being paramount, it is possible those on the very edge of the state line may be mistakenly read as not in the state. However, regulators and operators would much rather have a false negative than a false positive, so they err on the side of caution.
Basically every Tennessee online sportsbook has an Android app available to download directly from its website. The Google Play Store does not allow gambling apps, so don’t bother searching in there for the sports betting app you want to install.
Instead, go directly to the website of the app you are looking for and, most of the time, there will be a big button or notification letting you know to click on it to allow the download to begin.
You may receive some prompts from your phone about allowing third-party downloads. If you want to go ahead and change your settings in advance:
If you do not change settings in advance, a series of pop-ups when you try to download from a sports betting site that will lead you through the same menus as well.
Unlike Android, the Apple App Store allows gambling apps to be listed. However, not all TN online sportsbooks have betting apps that are listed in the Apple App Store. There is a solution for iPhone customers though, also from GeoComply.
Some sports betting sites do not have an Apple app, but iPhone users need only download an app from GeoComply called GeoGuard. What this app does is provide the level of geolocation necessary to make betting with BetRivers on your phone’s browser possible.
Once you have the apps downloaded on your phone, you’ll notice several of them look and feel fairly similar. Most Tennessee sportsbooks use a simple, three-column setup.
Live betting (also known as in-game betting) will be new to most TN sports bettors, which involves betting on games already underway. It adds to the game excitement while you watch. Betting lines automatically adjust as the action unfolds. Tennessee law requires in-play betting uses data supplied by the pro leagues.
Cash-out betting is another new feature, which allows you to redeem a bet early. The action in the match (or matches for parlays) will determine the price you are offered to cash your bet in early.
The massive coverage of sports will really impress you. This include motorsports, golf, tennis, soccer and even geo-specific sports like rugby, cricket, or cycling.
With the sports betting apps regulated by the TEL, there should be no issues with payments. If any sort of problem does arise, customers can report problems directly to the Tennessee Lottery.
In other states, the books accept credit or debit cards, PayPal, and bank transfers. In Tennessee, credit cards are not a payment option, but the other standard options are available.
The current regulations state that all transactions and deposits on sports betting sites need to begin with a cash transaction. That includes things e-wallets like PayPal, prepaid cards, and debit and ACH transactions.
There really is not a state like Tennessee when it comes to sports betting. Its unique status as a state with minimal gambling options means it is largely dealing with new territory for TN bettors and lawmakers.
The results so far are that the proposed regulations are rife with problems. The good news is that very little of the problems with regulations are codified into law, so there is still time and potential for these issues to get resolved.
Before going into detail about proposed regulations that might happen, let’s run down what is already in the law when it comes to Tennessee sports betting.
When it comes to the basic elements of the Tennessee sports betting laws, these are the important numbers to know:
Compared to other states, the licensing fee is on the low side of things, while the tax rate is on the high side of things. Especially considering it will be an online-only marketplace.
Here is how all of the money generated by sports betting taxes and licenses is distributed to the state:
Moreover, the TEL has to put together an annual report looking at how this 5% of sports betting tax dollars is being used to curb problem gambling in the state. That report will go to the governor as well as the speakers of the senate and house.
The report will include itemized lists of how the money is spent, as well as progress reports on addressing problem gambling issues.
Those Vols fans and backers of the Vanderbilt Commodores, be aware that there are some limits on what you can bet on regarding college sports. Some states ban betting on college games altogether, while others will not let people bet on state teams or events taking place within the state.
Tennessee sportsbooks will offer odds on college games, but one thing you will not find is any in-play prop betting. In-play betting, which offers updated odds after basically every play, is a very popular form of wagering that will be available on a limited basis in Tennessee.
Additionally, there are no prop bets on individual performances by college athletes nor will there be any bets related to possible injuries of players.
If in-game wagering sounds fun to you, be aware there are other limitations, but these will impact sportsbooks themselves more than you as a bettor.
Tennessee betting regulations stipulate that any book that offers in-game wagering has to use official data to power those bets. That means sportsbook operators will either need to work with the leagues directly or use the services of an approved data partner like Sportradar to power those services.
Tennessee sports betting is officially live, and plenty has taken place to get us to this point. Here is a look at key dates in Tennessee sports betting history:
The Sports Wagering Advisory Council held its first meeting as sports betting begins the transfer of regulatory power from the Tennessee Lottery.
Nationwide revenue reports for January through May revealed that Tennessee produces more tax from sports betting revenue than all but three other states.
Tennessee’s seventh sports betting app, WynnBET, hit the market on April 30 – almost four months after its sportsbook was officially approved in the state.
After months without a launch, Tennessee finally got a new operator on March 11. William Hill became the fifth app to go live in the state.
About a week later on March 19, TwinSpires launched as well, just in time for March Madness. The Tennessee market now has six betting apps to choose from.
Sports betting went live in Tennessee at 12:01 am on Sunday, Nov. 1. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Action 24/7 all launched throughout the early hours of the morning, offering countless boosts and promotions.
WynnBet, BetAmerica, and William Hill are the next three operators in line to join Tennessee.
On Oct. 5, the TEL held a meeting and announced they conditionally approved a fourth sportsbook operator, Nashville-based Action 24/7. The sportsbook is currently the only local brand to receive a conditional license.
The TEL also stated three other operators applied for licenses, but did not release the operator’s names.
On Sept. 23, the TEL announced that they had conditionally approved the first three sportsbook operators to launch in the state on Nov. 1. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM were all conditionally approved as sports betting operators.
In the history of Tennessee sports betting, Aug. 18 and 19, 2020 will be remembered as the day we finally started making real progress towards launching the first sports betting apps in the state. After two days of meetings, the TN Lottery announced they had four completed operator applications they were currently vetting. Moreover, they plan to have those apps up and running no later than Nov. 1.
Another interesting development from the meetings was how the lottery would handle sportsbooks that did not maintain the 10% hold requirement. The fine for not meeting the mandate is a mere $25,000, but the board did say that they would consider suspending and even potentially withholding license renewals from egregious violators.
The other thing ironed out regarding the hold mandate is how it would be measured. The group considered daily or weekly accounting, but settled on operators averaging out a 10% hold across a calendar year.
The TN Lottery finally approved something, but it isn’t an operator license application. The group did approve the first four sports betting-related licenses in the state, tapping four vendors for approval. These licenses come at a much lower cost than the $750,000 needed for operators, which might explain why those applications are coming in but operators are still on the sidelines.
Despite the application opening up two months prior, TN Lottery reported at its June meeting that there were still no completed sports betting operator applications. The state had three partial applications, but one of them was reticent to finish the paperwork, triggering the 10-day countdown to pay the full $750,000 licensing fee. TN Lottery denied the operator’s request for an extension.
In mid-April, the Tennessee Lottery Board met and approved finalized regulations that will govern the sports betting industry going forward. Those finalized regulations settled on a 10% hold mandate for all operators, which goes against the recommended 5% of the Advisory Council. Two days later, the Lottery released the paperwork for potential operators to apply as a licensee.
As the town of Nashville started shutting down over COVID-9 concerns, both the Advisory Council and the TN Lottery Board managed to meet and make progress on proposed regulations for the sports betting industry. Around the same time, lawmakers also introduced legislation that could potentially give the Advisory Council more control over the industry. At the time, the bill’s authors expressed concern the TN Lottery Board might be overstepping the power afforded to them by the law.
After a pair of meetings that addressed many concerns about the proposed regulations, lawmakers and other interested parties expressed concerns about the state of the regulations. As a result, the advisory board will meet once again to vote on and discuss the latest draft of regulations.
The 45-day public comment period produces over 300 comments criticizing the first round of proposed TN regulations. The advisory board has roughly a month to come up with a revised draft.
Months passed as the lawmakers tasked with appointing members of the Sports Betting Advisory Council. It is November by the time the 10-person panel is set. Thankfully, they get to work quickly and a first draft of regulations appears shortly before Thanksgiving.
After a month with no action, Gov. Lee returned the bill to the legislature without his signature. While he did not veto it, it passed into law without his approval. With his decision, Lee included the following message:
I am returning the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act (HB0001/SB0016) to the General Assembly today without my signature. My full statement is below: pic.twitter.com/iolgR8G6J0
— Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) May 24, 2019
Rep. Rick Staples files a bill in the House to legalize sports betting in Tennessee. Concurrently, a similar bill is introduced in the Senate.
Sports bettors in Tennessee need to be at least 21 years old in order to wager. Online sportsbooks will need your date of birth and a partial Social Security number to verify your age before allowing you to bet.
No, if you are not within the state lines of Tennessee, you are not be allowed to wager on TN betting sites.
However, you also do not need to be a Tennessee resident in order to take part in a Tennessee online sports betting. Anyone who is at least 21 years old and within state lines is eligible to bet online.
Online sportsbooks utilize geolocation technology to determine whether or not a bettor is within the state. On your computer, sportsbooks and geolocation providers like GeoComply use your IP address and a geolocation plugin to verify your location. If you are using a betting app on your phone, the app utilizes things like your phone’s GPS functionality and nearby cell phone towers to locate precisely where the bettor is.
The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) regulates and oversees all sports betting within the state.
Like all income, gambling winnings are subject to taxation and should be reported on your tax return. Be advised, you will not necessarily receive a W-2G gambling tax form from sports betting operators unless you trigger a certain threshold of winnings. For most sites, that amount is $5,000.
The $5,000 threshold is the number the majority of sportsbook use to trigger tax paperwork since that is the amount where casinos and sportsbooks are required to start withholding 25% of winnings for tax purposes.
When it comes to college sports betting in Tennessee, some things are on the table and other things aren’t.
You’ll be able to wager on collegiate sporting events as part of a parlay or with a spread or moneyline bet. You will not be able to do any in-game prop betting around college sports, nor will there be any prop bets based on an individual college athlete’s performance.