With no current state legislation for online casinos, slots fans in Tennessee must look further afield for their entertainment. While there are some legal options for enjoying online slots, the classic casino game titles we know and love are not yet online.
Our guide covers both free and real money casino slots for players in Tennessee. You’ll find out more about those legal options via sweepstakes casinos.
After that, we look at future, state-regulated live and online casinos in the Volunteer State. We examine the different types of slots, as well as some popular slot games.
Finally, we share practical tips for depositing, enjoying bonuses and the effects of progressive jackpots.
Tennessee real money slots at sweepstakes casinos
Two fully legal, US-based and increasingly popular real money online casinos are currently available in Tennessee.
They operate using sweepstakes contest laws, which span 49 states. While the idea sounds complex, it is proven to work and is entirely legal in Tennessee without significant changes to the state statutes.
Sweepstakes casinos work by using virtual currency called “sweeps cash.” You use this to play slots and the limited number of casino table games available. You can then convert what sweeps coins you win into dollars and withdraw real money.
The legal workaround is that you can’t buy sweeps coins. Instead, you buy “gold coins,” which are for entertainment only and have no redeemable value.
Chumba Casino or LuckyLand Slots subsequently gives you “free” sweeps coins to enter their contests. Those contests involve spinning on slots.
You can even get sweeps coins free. Simply sign up at Chumba (via a no-deposit bonus), send a letter to an address available on both sites, or take part in contests via social media.
Slots at these casinos offer brilliant designs. There are a lot of close copies of popular live casino slots, although never quite close enough to trigger a lawsuit. Some of these slots include big progressive jackpots, while others have a traditional feel with three reels and a single win-line.
You can find out more in our guide to sweepstakes casinos in Tennessee.
Types of real money slots that could come to Tennessee
If and when regulated casinos arrive in Tennessee, we would be treated to a variety of slot games.
If your preferred experience is three-reels and a single line up of bars or cherries, then you are in for a surprise.
Technology advances and big, curved screens make the latest titles feel immersive with interactive bonus games and life-changing progressive jackpots.
Here are the general types of slots you’ll find in both line and online casinos:
- Three-Reel Electro-Mechanical Slots: These classic slots continue to have a lot of fans, and some live versions still have levers as well as buttons. Lineup 7s for big wins, double (or more) those same wins with wild symbols. Many games have bonus wheels or picks bonus rounds, e.g., Top Dollar or Wheel of Fortune.
- Five-Reel Mechanical Games: Not all mechanical slots are retro. Some classic games like 88 Fortunes and James Bond have new mechanical variations. Classics in this category include the early quick hits, where special scatters trigger jackpot prizes.
- Basic Video Slots: While the first generations of five-reel video slots were a huge leap from the mechanical games, they appear basic compared to recent titles. Games, like Lobstermania, introduced second-screen bonuses (usually involving picks), wild symbols with multipliers and colorful themes. Many basic video slots are still classics; these include Cleopatra, Buffalo and Wolf Run.
- Multimedia Slots: New slots tend to have huge screens, multiple bonus games and sometimes four types of progressive jackpots. Expect expanding wilds, growing reels and all sorts of crazy bonus features. Many new games in this category are themed around bands, TV shows or movies.
Thousands of games are currently available with new titles coming out every week. Therefore, there’s a lot to look forward to for when online slot games do finally make it to Tennessee.
Popular real money slot games
Within the plethora of slot categories is a long list of titles that have stood the test of time. If you can’t wait for these games to come to Tennessee, you’ll almost certainly find them in casinos in Mississippi, or at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.
Classic slot games
Many slots come and go within a few years, making these examples the best of the best from the last few decades:
- Wheel of Fortune: When IGT first introduced Wheel of Fortune, the mechanical bonus wheel was a significant innovation. This three-reel slot triggered a spin with a special symbol on the middle of Reel 3. There are now multiple variations of this game, some with electronic wheels, others with wild multipliers and even online-only versions. It has progressive jackpots, too.
- Wolf Run: This early video slot has been copied many times over, but the solid-game play and Native American wildlife theme has never been matched. The highlight is a free spins bonus where your wins get multiplied. Covering the reels with symbols showing wolves silhouetted against a glowing full moon can lead to some epic wins.
- Texas Tea: With a second-screen bonus game involving prospecting for oil, this is an entertaining slot focused around a tycoon with a big hat. At the time it was introduced second-screen games were rare. There are now sequels, including one with a pinball-type bonus feature.
- Cleopatra: Ancient Egyptian history provides a lot of opportunities for slot studios to innovate. Cleopatra is a game that started it all. This includes voiceover effects, wild symbols and multipliers. The highlight is a free spins bonus game. New versions with enhanced graphics and more complex gameplay have been released over the years.
- Buffalo: This aristocrat title features native wildlife and the iconic shout of “buffaloooo” when you win with the high-paying buffalo symbols. While the original is still available, this game has enjoyed many updates. Popular live casino titles include Buffalo Gold, Buffalo Grand and Buffalo Stampede.
Real money slots in Tennessee: Taking advantage of casino bonuses
When online casinos appear in any state, there is healthy competition between them for the attention of players. This gives you a chance to take advantage of their marketing budgets, which are delivered as bonuses in order to give your slots bankroll a boost.
Should online casino slots come to Tennessee, you can expect a mix that includes many of the following types of bonuses:
- No-Deposit Bonuses: In other states, casinos offer free play for simply registering. These offers are typically in the $20 to $30 range.
- Matched Welcome Bonuses: To encourage deposits, casinos will often match your first deposit with bonus funds 1-to-1. There are playthrough requirements to clear these bonuses.
- Loyalty and Point Collection Schemes: All casinos like to reward their regular players. A common way is to give points for real money slot play, which you can exchange for bonuses later.
- Reload Bonuses: Everyone needs to top up their account once in a while. If your casino does not offer a bonus on your new deposit, it risks you playing online slots elsewhere.
- Promotions: Standing offers are popular, with many casinos giving game-specific bonuses on different days of the week. You can also look out for casinos that offer a lot of short-term or one-off promotions.
- Free Spins: Many casinos give free spins on popular slots as a bonus. This promo can be as part of a welcome package, or when a casino introduces a new game.
Depositing at real money slot casinos
An essential aspect of regulated casinos is that the state government ensures that licensed operators protect players’ funds.
By taking the risk for players away, mainstream banking methods are available for deposits and withdrawals. In the regulated states, you can only make deposits within state lines.
The fastest way to get your money on board is to use your credit or debit card, which works just like making an online purchase.
Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted cards, with Amex and Discover welcomed by some online casino brands.
Bank transfers make a secure alternative. There are two ways that people deposit at slot sites via their bank.
ACH transfers are known as e-checks, which is the electronic equivalent of writing a paper check.
Alternatively, you can use bill pay at bigger banks. This makes depositing at a casino just like paying your utility bills.
If you prefer an extra level of security and do not mind paying a small fee, then you can use an electronic wallet. PayPal is the best known, while others in this category include Neteller and Skrill.
Finally, you can utilize cash (PayNearMe and similar), money orders and old-style bank wires to make casino deposits.
Real money slots and progressive jackpots
One of the reasons players are attracted to casino slots is the shot at a huge progressive jackpot.
However long the odds of hitting the “big one,” having a chance adds an edge to every spin.
Progressives can be significant. The biggest live slot progressives are more than $10 million. You will find some seven-figure jackpots in state-regulated casinos.
The question is whether players get value, or whether the “cost” of contributing to the jackpot outweighs the benefits.
It’s true that the prizes come from players. Each spin sees a smaller percentage removed from regular line hits (or bonus games) to be added to the big prize. Over time, this will add up, but whether an individual player would notice the difference is debatable.
What playing slots with progressive jackpots does is allow you the chance to dream big. After all, you can’t imagine what you’d do with all that jackpot money until you allow yourself a chance to win it first.
For most players, the payoff in terms of smaller regular slot wins is worth it. The added excitement of hitting a significant win, however, is what makes progressive slots so appealing to other players.
Free online slots in Tennessee
While we wait for real money slots to come to Tennessee, there is nothing to prevent you enjoying them online for free.
You could play at the previously mentioned sweepstakes casinos. You can also enjoy a better selection of games in demo mode at the regulated casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In many cases, you can play these without registering. Each time you play, you’ll start with a new stack of play chips. Your chip count doesn’t carry over, so you can’t keep score between sessions.
What you can do, though, is try out a lot of slot games. Some are online versions of classic live games, while others are for online-play only.
Wrapping up: When will online slots come to Tennessee?
Legal online slots are already here via the sweepstakes casinos.
These US-based casinos use sweepstakes laws and operate legally in 49 states. Their slots are new and colorful, but are essentially copies of popular live games, not the originals.
With sports betting online coming soon and horse racing bets already allowed in the Volunteer State, there is hope that future legislation will lead to regulated online casinos. While this may be a ways off, the success of casinos in other states, along with the tax revenue they generate, could help move things forward.
In the meantime, you can enjoy both real money and free online slots from home, or travel to neighboring states to play for real money in live casinos.