Tennessee residents and visitors aren’t yet able to enjoy casino games at state-regulated casinos. The present legal situation means that there are no live casinos in Tennessee, and only very limited online options available.
However, online sports betting is coming soon. Many hope this may herald the start of more comprehensive regulation. In other words, the day of legal online casino games in Tennessee.
Casino games come in broad categories. These include table games, such as blackjack, roulette and all the other games you can play on the green felt.
Slots are a separate category, with several types of games included within it. Add in video poker, bingo, keno and novelty type titles, and you have thousands of options.
This page gives you an overview of the plethora of casino games available in Tennessee. Below, you can find out where to enjoy both free and real money casino games online.
We cover the different types of games more in-depth, with separate sections comparing live and brick-and-mortar gaming, plus the new breed of live dealer casinos.
Free and real money online casino games in Tennessee
Without state-regulated casinos, the options are limited for those in the Volunteer State.
Two online casino sites allow you to play using sweepstakes gambling rules: Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. Both are US-based and operate legally in 49 states using sweepstakes gambling laws, including in Tennessee.
If you want to enjoy casino games for free, then we recommend the state-regulated casinos in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
These sites won’t allow you to deposit or play for real money unless you are within their state lines. What they do offer is a range of casino table games you can play in demo mode. Then, you can check out a variety of titles without risking a penny. Most games are slots, although you’ll find table games, keno and video poker games, too.
You will not be able to keep count of your wins or losses in these demo online casino games. Chips reset each time you join a table.
For live casino gaming, you’ll need to cross the state lines into Mississippi, Arkansas or travel east to the tribal Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.
Casino games: Main categories
New casino games come about every year. At the same time, some go out of style or are superseded by more exciting versions. What you’ll find is that some games within each broad category stand the test of time.
Below, you’ll find a summary of the main types of casino games found at online (including the sweepstakes casinos available in Tennessee) and live casinos.
Blackjack is the single most popular table game and has a history dating back 300 years or more. The idea is to beat the dealer by getting close to 21 without going bust.
There are many variations in rules, plus brand-new games based on similar concepts, like Free Bet Blackjack. Blackjack games often have side bets with the potential for big windfalls.
Roulette has several kinds of wheel. The US version has a single and double zero, while the European version has only a single zero. Some live casinos are introducing a third wheel with a third triple zero.
Betting on where a ball lands in a spinning wheel has captured the imagination of players. Many have subsequently tried using complex betting systems, although, over hundreds of years, nobody has yet beaten the house.
Casino poker variations
Casino poker games are played with cards against the dealer, with many variants in this category. What they have in common are the poker hand rankings to determine the winner and payouts.
Examples include Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker, Let It Ride, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Casino Hold ’em, Full Flush Poker and Mississippi Stud. These games sometimes share progressive side bets in live casinos. If you are lucky enough to get a royal flush, you could be the recipient of a huge progressive jackpot.
The most popular casino dice game is craps. This game has two distinct rounds, the come-out roll and the points round. You’ll keep on winning, as long as nobody rolls a 7. With complex betting, including a lot of prop bets on both single and multiple rolls, craps tables are often the liveliest areas on the casino floor.
Baccarat has the lowest house edge of any table game. It also has the advantage of being simple to play (no strategy card necessary). It is no surprise that this game has become the favorite of high-rollers.
Choose “player” or “banker” on each deal. The deal rules may be complex, although a dealer handles them. Smart players avoid the tie bet in baccarat, as this has a significant edge in favor of the house.
There are thousands of great slot machine variations, both online and at live casinos. These range from simple electro-mechanical devices, where you line up bars or sevens, to expansive multimedia games with interactive bonus rounds.
Many recent slots have themes around celebrities, movies and TV shows. Some have progressive jackpots linked with other games or between casinos. The biggest of these can pay life-changing money to the lucky winners.
Video poker has made its way from bar tops to online casinos. With perfect strategy, this game has a low house edge compared to slots and many table games. You’ll be dealt five cards, and get to choose how many to hold before you draw again.
Variations include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker (and variants) and multi-hand games where one deal gets repeated up to 100 hands.
Bingo and keno
The drawing of numbers or balls relates to bingo and keno games. The rules are different and come with many variations. Online versions offer themes, with jackpots and side bets.
Casinos continually innovate, and many games they come up with don’t fit neatly into any category. Examples include Sic-Bo, Wheel of Fortune-type wheels, and online games based loosely on game shows.
You can also try your hand at Slingo (slots combined with bingo) and virtual betting games, too.
Online casino games vs. brick-and-mortar games
Online casinos give you a wide choice of slots and table games to enjoy from either your desktop computer or mobile devices.
Many slots have been developed for online casinos and can’t be found on live casino floors. These include the 50+ slot titles you will find at the legal sweepstakes casinos. Many of these are close copies of famous live games.
The main difference, other than a more substantial choice, is that live casino games are naturally slower.
You’ll need to wait for other players to act, and for the dealer to shuffle cards in a live casino. By contrast, online games are dealt instantly.
Also, stakes are smaller online. Live casinos often give their games a $5 or $10 minimum, which is more on weekends. Online equivalents don’t have the overhead of a live venue, which will allow you to bet for just 50 cents a time.
Live dealer online casino games in Tennessee
When casino legislation eventually comes to TN, live dealer games may become available. These are hugely popular at casinos in regulated states and internationally.
The concept is simple: Dealers work in studios with tables set up in front of cameras (views from above, and the front). This lets you see the games unfold as if you were sitting at a table in a live casino.
Betting is done via a software overlay on the video stream. You drag and drop chips and click buttons to make decisions on the hand. You then settle bets via the software as soon as the hand is over.
While slower than online casino software-based games, these games are more realistic, and also more social than those legacy games. Some are spread with one hand and many players (you can choose whether to bet or fold, and the hand will continue for those who do bet). Other games have tables of seven players.
Here are the games we expect in a future Tennessee live dealer online casino:
- Casino poker variants
Wrapping up: Tennessee will have to wait for casino games
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has already stated his absolute opposition to casino games in Tennessee. While future legislation is possible, this may be some way off.
In the meantime, some options are available in TN. You can play legally at sweepstakes casinos, exchanging your “sweeps coins” for dollars and cashing out if you win. Also, you can enjoy online casino games for free in demo mode, using the online casinos based in regulated states. Lastly, you can seek out live casino games in a neighboring state.
One thing is for sure; when casino games do eventually come to Tennessee, you’ll have a lot of options. There are thousands of slots and hundreds of table games available.