Tennessee Responsible Gambling Policies

Despite historically offering few opportunities to gamble, Tennessee hosts a decent range of services for problem gambling. These include facilities at the University of Memphis, as well as a program with the Department of Mental Health.

With the recent expansion of gambling in the form of online sports betting, support for problem gamblers will need to cover this new method. Guidelines from states that already have licensed mobile sportsbooks will show us how it works.

This page covers responsible gambling in Tennessee in-depth and focuses on the new ways to gamble via desktop computer and mobile devices. 

By looking after the small percentage of bettors who do develop problems effectively, helpful sites can make sport betting safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

What is problem gambling?  

The standard way to differentiate problem gambling from recreational gambling involves any harm it is causing, either to the gambler or to others.

While severe problem gambling is an addictive disorder defined by the DSM-5 (the statistical diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals), there are many nonpathological forms. 

Problem gambling is often associated with impulse control issues and commonly associated with alcohol abuse.

The harm from problem gambling often moves beyond the person gaming and moves on to affect family and friends.

Self-assessment of problem gambling

The starting point for determining whether gambling has become a problem is via a self-assessment questionnaire

This quiz asks a series of questions, which cover the emotional side of gambling and the practical effects it may have on work, family and social interactions.

If the gambler answers any of these questions yes, then professional help is recommended. While losing money after a bad gambling session never feels good (even for the best-adjusted gamblers), there is a clear line between this and some of the detrimental effects outlined below.

Here is a sample of the typical questions in a self-assessment:

  • Do you ever hide your gambling from others?
  • Have you ever borrowed money for gambling?
  • Do you ever gamble when experiencing emotional distress?
  • Are you unable to stop gambling once you start?
  • Do you ever “chase” gambling losses?
  • Have you ever lied to cover up your gambling losses?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Do you gamble until your last dollar has gone?

Treatment for problem gambling in Tennessee

Those in need of assistance can turn to an assortment of state and national assistance organizations for advice or treatment on problem gambling in Tennessee.

The central government hotline is part of the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and Other Addiction Services (TAADAS). This organization is part of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. With 40 years of service, you can be sure that experienced help is at hand. 

There are two ways to get in touch with TAADAS:

Another local organization is the Gambling Clinic at the University of Memphis. This clinic has been providing treatment to hundreds of clients since 1997. There are many clinics listed as approved providers of treatment for general addictions or mental health matters. 

The University of Memphis Center lists a lot of ways to get in touch:

National organizations are also available to assist anyone with concerns about problem gambling in Tennessee.

You can call the National Council on Problem Gambling on 800-522-4700 or visit its website at ncpgambling.org for information, including a self-assessment questionnaire.

Online gambling and responsible gaming in Tennessee

Problem gambling assistance in Tennessee must cover online sports betting, along with existing horse race and sweepstakes casino betting.

With 24/7 access to gambling makes keeping gamblers with issues safe a big task. Looking at states which already have regulated, legal online gambling shows that there are some useful and practical tools in place to assist those players that develop problems.

The first thing all Tennessee online gambling sites need to do is make sure the problem gambling information is readily available.

Other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, specify that a prominent link (badge) needs to be at the top of every website and app.

This link leads to a page that contains everything gamblers need to determine whether they have a problem and how to deal with it.

Here is what to expect:

  • Background Information and Self-Assessment: Not everyone seeking problem gambling information will be sure that they have issues (though many may have concerns). Background information and a sample of questions, like above, will be able to clarify matters.
  • Links to Help Organizations: Local and national help organizations should be listed. There should be different ways to contact them, including phone numbers and website URLs.
  • Ability to Set Betting Limits: Website and app technology allows anyone who feels they may have impulse control issues to take action in advance. One easy way to do this is to set limits on bet sizes, the total amount of bet, deposit amounts or even time spent on a site. These boundaries could be daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the site.
  • Ability to Take a Timeout: Short-term timeout periods from betting are a great way to prevent, for example, chasing losses becoming an issue. These are usually shorter amounts of time, from 24 hours to a few months.
  • Self-Exclusion: If you have a more significant problem with gambling, then a better solution may be a permanent or semipermanent self-exclusion period, which can be from one to five years. Depending on the site, the self-exclusion might not expire automatically, which requires your account to be unlocked once the period is over.

Wrapping up: Problem gambling protection in Tennessee

With gambling expansion in Tennessee imminent, the issue of problem gambling will be in the spotlight. 

There is already a variety of state and federal services to advise and assist anyone feeling the effects of problem gambling. These include the gambling clinic at the University of Memphis, and the TAACAP, which is part of the state government.

Online betting will need a new suite of tools to balance 24/7 access. Looking at states that already have online sportsbooks, we see these tools are already in place. They include the ability to set limits (both time and money) or to exclude yourself from gaming sites for a period of time. 

While most people can gamble recreationally without issues, it is vital to look after those who develop problems. Itis important to have a process in place to assist them before gambling behavior does harm to family, friends or the individual.