Tennessee Online Casinos
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has made his view on casinos clear. He believes this form of gambling is destructive. Thus, he has no plans to regulate live or online casinos.
This is in contrast to other forms of gambling. In May 2019, online sports betting in Tennessee became legal and regulated. Betting on horse races, lottery games, daily fantasy sports (DFS) and limited charity gambling are also legal in the Volunteer State.
In addition, Tennessee visitors and residents can enjoy slots and other casino games online at legal, regulated sites, such as Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. These sites use sweepstakes gambling laws to provide games and are becoming increasingly popular.
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The alternative choice for casino gaming fans in Tennessee is to cross state lines in order to visit the closest live casinos in a neighboring state.
You’ll find a complete reference guide for live and online casino gambling in Tennessee in this article.
First, let’s look at the legal landscape and the possibility of state-regulated online casinos in the future.
After that, we’ll cover the current legal sweepstakes options, the different types of casino games available and the best live options in surrounding states.
Will Tennessee Legalize Online Casinos?
It is highly unlikely that a bill including casino gambling will be brought forward while Lee remains governor.
Gov. Lee refused to sign Tennessee’s recent sports betting bill, although he did not use his veto after the bill claimed the majority vote in both the Senate and House. However, Lee’s outspoken comments about the risks of casino gambling closely reflect the lack of live options in Tennessee.
With over 10 Tennessee sports betting apps and websites currently licensed, there is some hope for an online gambling expansion in the future.
The launch of online sports betting went well, and tax revenue has been significant so far, making a future gambling bill more possible. The success of online casino rollouts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey also factors into Tennessee’s potential.
Based on recent comments, Gov. Lee would veto any bill, which means the legalization of online casinos is on hold.
Tennessee Online Casinos: Sweepstakes Casinos
Two casinos and one online poker room already operate legally in Tennessee. These US-based sweepstakes sites also operate in 49 states. These sites are Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots and Global Poker.
All three operate under state sweepstakes gaming laws. Instead of playing casino games and slots for cash, you use “sweeps cash or “gold coins.”
While gold coins are play-for-fun money, sweeps coins can be exchanged for dollars, allowing you to cash out your winnings into real money. To comply with sweepstakes laws, you can’t buy sweeps coins directly. Instead, the casinos give you some for “free” when you buy gold coins.
This virtual currency is a workaround for existing sweepstakes laws, and it has been an effective method since coming online in 2016. You can deposit using your bank cards and withdraw via a bank transfer.
Most of the games at these legal online casinos are lively, colorful slots that feature engaging animations and graphics.
Each game is unique to the sweepstakes casino. If you’re familiar with live slots, you’ll quickly spot that their themes and gameplay have been “borrowed” from popular live slot titles.
You will also find blackjack, video poker and a single bingo title.
Chumba Casino gives players $2 (in sweeps coins) for registering. Both Chumba and LuckyLand then give you $10 worth of sweeps coins for your first purchase of $5 of gold coins.
Types of Online Casino Games
Whether you play at sweepstakes casinos, out-of-state live casinos or prefer to wait for Tennessee-regulated options, countless choices are available when it comes to casino games.
The most popular type are slots, which feature thousands of titles. There are also table games at online casinos, which now have live dealer options and hundreds of software-based titles. Meanwhile, other popular casino games include keno, bingo, video poker and virtual betting.
Popular casino game categories
Here are the popular options within each of these categories:
- Online Slots: You’ll be amazed by how many online slots exist. Some are live casino slots adapted for online use, while others are custom-made for online casinos. Expect traditional three-reel slots, five-reel video slots and many interesting variations involving expanding reels, multimedia and TV/movie tie-ins. Some online slots have massive — even life-changing — progressive jackpots.
- Table Games (software type): Blackjack, roulette and casino poker games now also have many variations. Some of these involve side-bet changes; others will switch up the rules. Table games include baccarat, craps and sic-bo.
- Live Dealer Table Games: Online casinos stream games from studios and allow players to bet on the outcome in real-time. This format is hugely popular, with social and interactive aspects that software-based games just can’t match. Roulette, casino poker games, baccarat and blackjack are the most common types.
- Bingo and Keno: Quirky themes and interesting variations of the hitting-the-numbers format is a sure sign of Bingo and Keno’s growing popularity over recent years.
- Video Poker: This bar-top favorite works well online. You’ll find the more volatile bonus poker variations, multi-hand games and the staples like Jacks or Better or Joker Poker competing for your attention online.
- Virtual Racing and Novelty Games: When there isn’t a live race, you can now bet on software-generated races. Some of these games cross over into motorsports or soccer. In this same category are game-show-like casino game titles.
Closest Live Casinos to Tennessee
If you live close to the state lines, take a trip to Kentucky, Missouri or Mississippi to enjoy casino games. Here are the casinos near Tennessee:
- Alabama: Tribal casinos, which are legally “electronic bingo halls,” offer slot games similar to Class 2 machines. There are three such casinos in Alabama, plus a racino, though no table games can be found.
- Arkansas: This state combines its casinos with horse racing tracks. There are five venues featuring slots, table games and limited poker.
- Kentucky: You’ll find nine casinos here, which are associated with Kentucky’s harness and thoroughbred racetracks. Each location features slot-like historical horse racing (HHR) machines, where outcomes are based on past horse races.
- Mississippi: The Magnolia State is perhaps your best bet for casinos, with 35 venues providing more than 30,000 slots and table games. Many well-known national brands, such as Hard Rock, Ameristar and Harrah’s, are found here.
- Missouri: You’ll find a long list of riverboat casinos in Missouri. There are 13 in total — again including many national brands. In total, these locations contain almost 20,000 slots and 465 table games.
- North Carolina: Harrah’s Cherokee is close to eastern Tennessee. Casino giant Caesars Entertainment runs this tribal casino resort, which offers thousands of slots, table games and a poker room.
- Virginia: East Tennessean’s can now take advantage of Virginia’s first casino, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, located just across the Tennessee border.
One neighboring state that did not make this list is Georgia, which doesn’t offer any casino gambling.
Alternative Forms of Gambling for Tennessee Residents
With casinos limited to the sweepstakes brands, you’ll need to look for alternative ways to gamble in Tennessee. Here are some ideas:
- Online Sports Betting: Sports fans can double down on the typical season excitement by staking money on their favorite team. Sites like Caesars Sportsbook TN, DraftKings TN and BetMGM in Tennessee will give you access to singles bets and parlays on pro and collegiate sports, plus many national and international matches.
- Daily Fantasy Sports: Sites like FanDuel TN and DraftKings Sportsbook have been around for a while. They were made legal in TN in 2016. You can pick lineups and enter various contests for real-money prizes at these popular sites.
- Horse Race Betting: Another option that is fully legal in TN is to take part in the pari-mutuel betting pools at tracks around the US. Sites such as TVG legally accept bets from Tennessee residents.
- Lottery: As of 2004, the Tennessee state lottery allows its players to participate in state scratch-offs, drawings and prizes, as well as drawings from intra-state pools, such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Wrapping Up: Online Casino Gambling in Tennessee
As things stand, no plans exist for regulated online casinos in Tennessee.
For this to happen, there needs to be a change of governor. Success with online sports betting and success with online casinos in other states would strengthen the case for new legislation.
You can already play online slots and limited casino games online from Tennessee. Sweepstakes casinos use sweepstakes contest laws to operate. By using “sweeps coins” instead of dollars for the games – and making each game into a mini-contest – they operate legally in 49 states.
While the slot and game selection are somewhat limited, there are many high-quality games available.
With live casino gaming available across state lines, the only other options in TN are daily fantasy sports, horse racing and the lottery.