Legal Tennessee Sports Betting

Tennessee Sports Betting

As one of the newest states to enter into the US sports wagering market, there are plenty of legal Tennessee sports betting options for those that reside in the state. Titans fans and Grizzlies diehards have been placing bets on games for years, easily cashing out their winnings. How is this possible given that sports betting was only formally legalized in Tennessee in May 2019? Well, it’s simple: Residents of the state have been using offshore sports betting sites to place their wagers online! There is often a great deal of confusion concerning the legality of online sports betting in TN, but once you become familiar with the laws that are in place, you will understand why so many sports fans use online sportsbooks.

To better understand legal sports betting in Tennessee, there are federal laws that you should know in addition to the new TN sports betting laws. The federal government is responsible for the current state of sports betting in America, as the overturn of PASPA finally made it legal for each state to determine their own laws and regulations for legal sports betting within their borders. Tennessee took the bait and decided to legalize sports betting only a few hours before the end of the 2019 legislative session, passing HB 1 on to the governor. However, Gov. Bill Lee (R) is a staunch anti-gambling politician, and he refused to sign the bill. However, he didn’t veto the bill, as it had bipartisan, veto-proof support. Thus, HB 1 passed into law by default on May 24, 2019. Generally speaking, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn about the level of effort that the TN state government put into their new gambling law. Further, so you fully understand your land-based and online betting options, we will discuss all aspects of legal Tennessee sports betting.

Is Land Based Sports Betting Legal In Tennessee?

Even with the recent law changes, land-based sports betting in Tennessee still does not exist. This comes down to the state not having any casinos and not wanting to expand too quickly. Until legislators have the desire to permit lottery retailers or other establishments to offer sports betting, Tennessee players will have to stick with the Internet to wager. That said, it’s important to note that HB 1, the bill that legalized sports betting in TN, does have provisions for potential land-based betting in TN in the future. This is because the law gives each local municipality in Tennessee the right to put casino construction up to a public vote. If TN cities pursue these referendums, land-based casinos – and thus land-based sportsbooks – could eventually open in the state on a city-by-city basis.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Tennessee?

Sports betting in Tennessee is legal through online platforms, both in-state and offshore. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to bet on the Nashville Predators to win a game, a series, or even the Stanley Cup, what you are trying to do is perfectly legal. This all changed when legislators agreed upon HB 1/SB 16. With this, Tennessee became the first state to offer an online betting platform without having any connection to a physical land-based gambling establishment. The law was not signed by Gov. Bill Lee (R), who is an anti-gambling advocate, and it was instead allowed to lapse into law by default (since the TN House and Senate had veto-proof majorities in favor of the bill).

Though the bill only legalizes online sports betting, there is actually a provision that would allow each city in TN the right to have a local referendum on whether or not to build a casino within its borders. If such are approved and built, any of them would be entitled to apply for a license to offer sports betting both over the Internet and on casino grounds in a brick-and-mortar sports betting lounge.

Where To Bet On Sports In Tennessee

If you are looking for a brick and mortar location to bet on sports in Tennessee, you are out of luck, at least for the near term future. Not only are Tennessee sports betting locations non-existent, but the same also goes for casinos. The state chose to only allow for mobile betting, which makes it more accessible across the state; however, no physical lounges exist to foster the industry and camaraderie of gambling. If and when legal Tennessee sportsbooks make the move to land-based options in municipalities that allow casinos to be built in the future, the potential cities where such sportsbooks would be located are:

  • Memphis
  • Nashville
  • Knoxville
  • Chattanooga

Still, you can wager on sports while remaining in the state if you use a legitimate TN sports betting site. You can bet on the Tennessee Titans and all of your other favorite teams from anywhere that you have an Internet connection. The state-licensed sites will surely be good, but they’ll have weighted lines for home teams. However, despite the new TN law, offshore sports betting sites remain totally legal in the state, too. These offshore sportsbooks offer Vegas-style sports betting action without the requisite airfare or hotel stay that betting in Sin City entails. Though there are no places to bet on sports in TN like there are in Nevada, residents oftentimes get more betting options from online sportsbooks located overseas. Additionally, since TN law forbids wagering on collegiate props, those who want the most comprehensive NCAA books for betting on the Vols and other top teams must do so via one or more overseas sports betting sites.

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Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

If you live in TN and want to wager at a physical sports betting lounge, you will have to visit a neighboring state for any kind of betting action. Tennessee does not offer commercial casinos or tribal gaming facilities. The positive side to this is that there are plenty of places to bet across the Mississippi border. Players from cities like Memphis and Nashville will have no problem finding a nearby city where they can play slots and table games in addition to indulging in all the TN sports betting action they wish. An added benefit of wagering in a neighboring state is that Mississippi (the nearest state with comprehensive sportsbooks) has no limits on NCAA betting. And of course, online offshore books offer the same lines you’ll find at the best nearby books, and you won’t have to spend money on the drive or on any room and board!

  • Tunica Resorts, MS
  • Biloxi, MS
  • Greenville, MS
  • Vicksburg, MS

Tennessee Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

Tennessee sports betting has been legalized finally, but overall, the state has strict requirements when it comes to gambling, including the limited charitable gaming available. TCA § 3-17-101 et seq. describes the Tennessee Nonprofit Gaming law which permits nonprofits to hold annual games of chance-based fundraising events. All proceeds must directly benefit the charity, with the law prohibiting 50/50 raffles.

All states have their own definition of “gambling,” but Tennessee has one of the most restrictive in the nation. The law explains why you will not find any casinos within the entire state. TCA § 39-17-501 et seq. defines gambling in the following way:

“Gambling is contrary to the public policy of this state and means risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or any games of chance associated with casinos, including, but not limited to, slot machines, roulette wheels and the like.”

What Teams Can I Bet On?

The sports culture in Tennessee is pretty big, with the state being home to several collegiate and professional teams. Some of the Division I universities include the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee. There are also professional teams in TN representing the NBA, NFL, and NBA. Whether you want to bet on the Titans come Thursday Night Football or the Volunteers during the NCAA Tournament, online sportsbooks will have the betting lines you are looking for (except for NCAA props at state-based online books – you’ll have to use offshore books for those). Though residents are welcome to bet on any team featured on their sports betting site or sites of choice, these are the most popular teams for Tennessee residents to wager on:

College

Belmont University Bruins Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders University of Memphis Tigers
University of Tennessee Volunteers Vanderbilt University Commodores

Professional

Nashville Predators (NHL) Tennessee Titans (NFL) Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)

Horse Racing Betting In Tennessee

Horse racing betting in Tennessee is not illegal, but you will not find any live tracks in the Volunteer State. The state repealed the 1987 Racing Control Act in 2015, which served as the regulatory framework for horse racing. Since being abolished, the state has created a Horse Racing Advisory Committee to research the potential impact of bringing horse racing back to the state.

Horse enthusiasts in Tennessee can still play the ponies using online racebooks. Racebooks allow you to bet on races at Thoroughbred and harness tracks all over the US and select countries in the rest of the world. The same horse bets that you would place at the faraway track in question can be placed online, such as win, place, show, and exotic bets. Online racebooks also have horse rebates and extra bonuses just for signing up. Betting on horses in Tennessee is more fun when you use horse betting sites.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Tennessee

Sports fans can play daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Tennessee as much as they’d like. Former Governor Bill Haslam (R) regulated daily fantasy sports by signing the Fantasy Sports Act of 2016. Tennessee was the third state to regulate DFS contests and create a legal framework governing the pastime. The Fantasy Sports Act requires operators to pay a 6% tax on revenue generated by TN residents and also stipulates that certain consumer protections must be in place. All participants in contests must be at least 18 years old.

Legal Tennessee Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Tennessee?

Yes, online sportsbooks allow you to bet real money on sports in Tennessee. You can bet on the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Masters, and other major sporting events. Real money sports betting sites have instant deposit options so that you can start betting on sports the same day. When it comes time to collect your winnings, methods like Bitcoin ensure that your cash is delivered within hours. Betting real money on sports in Tennessee is the most exciting way to wager.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Tennessee?

Online sports betting in Tennessee is completely safe no matter which method of online sports betting you choose. If you use sites that are regulated by the state government then you can rest easy knowing that state regulators have your back in case something goes wrong. Offshore sportsbooks are also a safe option in that you won’t be breaking any laws and the sites we recommend have a long reputation of serving TN sports bettors and paying out on time.

Will Sports Betting In Tennessee Ever Be Legal?

Without any casinos, it was believed that sports betting in Tennessee would never be more than a pipe dream. However, that dream is now a reality as state-licensed online sportsbooks have been legalized. The operators that will accept wagers have yet to be determined, but you can also bet at offshore wagering sites in the meantime. Once the in-state options go live, you will have more online betting options in Tennessee than you ever thought possible!

Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In Tennessee?

No, there is not a risk of getting arrested for sports betting in Tennessee. This does, of course, depend on where you plan on placing your bets. If using an offshore online sportsbook for legal Tennessee sports betting, law enforcement will have no reason to arrest you. If you were attempting bookmaking or using an underground bookmaker, then you would be subject to legal penalties.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Tennessee?

The sports betting age in Tennessee is 21 years old. Standard to most states, once you are 21 or older you can have your pick of any online sportsbook. Keep in mind that legal sports betting sites are licensed in other countries like the UK where the betting age may be lower. You still need to wait until after your 21st birthday before joining an online sportsbook. The legal age to bet on sports in TN always takes precedence over the age required by the sportsbook.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Tennessee?

Mobile sports betting apps in Tennessee are still on their way. State officials have been slow to launch apps but are in a position to do so sometime in 2020. For now, you can still access online offshore sportsbooks right from your smartphone’s mobile browser. These sites will automatically adjust to fit your device’s screen and give you the same look and feel of an app without having to download anything. This saves you storage space while also giving you the best lines available.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Tennessee?

The best place to bet on sports in Tennessee is from your laptop or smartphone. There is nothing more convenient than being able to bet on the Memphis Grizzlies from the comfort of your own home (or wherever else you happen to be at the moment). You can even put the game on TV or live-stream the main event while keeping your online sportsbook’s window open. Live betting odds let you wager on sports in real-time, too. Even if there were physical sportsbooks in Tennessee, there are exclusive benefits to using online, offshore sportsbooks, like huge bonuses that you can only get when betting online.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In Tennessee?

No, you should not. While it isn’t expressly unlawful to use a black-market bookie, it’s not a good idea. You as a bettor aren’t breaking any laws, but as a bookmaker, your bookie absolutely is. That means that even though you aren’t a target for law enforcement, just betting with a local bookie means you could get caught up in a police dragnet. Further, when betting with a local bookie, there is no legal or financial recourse if that bookie splits town with your winnings or simply refuses to pay out on a big bet. Plus, local bookies don’t offer even a tenth of the action that a state-licensed or offshore online sportsbook does.

Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In Tennessee?

Legally, you cannot bet on sports with your friends in Tennessee. The state does not permit social gambling on any level. Tennessee Code §39-17-501 through §39-17- 509 discusses gambling definitions along with offenses, and there are no exclusions for social gambling. That said, you and your friends can easily join an online sportsbook where you will all be able to choose from thousands of wagering options on TN and US sports each and every week.

When Did Sports Betting Become Legal In Tennessee?

Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2019 when Governor Bill Lee decided not to veto nor sign the measure that would legalize sports betting. In allowing the bill to come into law without his signature, Tennessee was the first state to approve sports betting without the approval of their governor. Additionally, Tennessee was the first state to legalize sports betting in an online-only platform. This is due to the fact that there are no casinos within the state. The industry is expected to launch before the summer of 2020.

How Many Sportsbooks Are In Tennessee?

In an interesting case, Tennessee technically has none or unlimited sportsbooks, depending on how you look at it. With no brick and mortar outlets, residents and visitors are restricted to using the state-licensed online platforms that were approved into law. This works out best for most gamblers anyway but the state also permits the expansion of books being located in gambling establishments, as long as the voters in the town approve the idea.