Online Gambling in Tennessee - All You Need to Know - HowToBet
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Online Gambling in Tennessee

Tennessee is a bit of an oddity in that while online gambling is now legal, there are no in-person betting opportunities. This is largely because the state has no racetracks or casinos.

The state only allows online mobile gambling for sports, horse racing and fantasy sports. Other forms of online gambling such as casino games are still prohibited. The following are some of the ins and outs of Tennessee online gambling and what the future may hold.

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Tennessee Online Gambling: The Facts

  • Legal Tennessee online gambling options: Sports
  • Legal gambling age: 21
  • Who regulates Tennessee gambling? Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC)
  • Legal mobile gambling? Yes for sports. No for casinos.
  • Do I need to be physically located in Tennessee to gamble? Yes
  • Do I need to be a resident of Tennessee to gamble? No
  • Sports avalable to bet on: Pro and college sports, horse racing.
  • What can't I bet on? In play college sports.

A Brief History of Tennessee Online Gambling

tenneesse-gambling
Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee online gambling wasn't always a done deal by any means. When the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports gambling in 2018, Tennessee did not seem to be a very likely choice to become one of the earlier states to legalize sports betting.

This was because Tennessee had traditionally long held an anti-gambling stance. An example of its conservative approach to gambling is reflected in the fact the state didn't even have its own lottery until 2004.

In 2019 Tennessee became the first state to adopt online betting only. As a result, because Tennessee does not have casinos or racetracks, its legal online gambling choices have actually become more than what's available in person. 

As soon as online sportsbooks were approved, major betting websites quickly applied for licences. The first Tennessee online sportsbooks opened for business in November of 2020.

Daily fantasy sports in Tennessee were legalized in 2016 after the state's attorney general had originally ruled such games constituted illegal gambling. The state legislature responded by passing a law legalizing daily fantasy sports and allowing operators to apply for a license.

The same goes for online horse racing with numerous licensed betting sites now available in the state. Horse race betting in Tennessee was banned early in the 20th Century by the Racing Control Act. This law was finally repealed in 2015 and gambling on races returned to the state.

The Impact of Tennessee Online Gambling

The various forms of online betting were instantly a hit in the state and according to state officials gamblers in Tennessee wagered more than $27 million in the first week alone.

The adoption of legalized sports gambling was also viewed favorably by many in the public because of the income it generated for social programs. These include public education, substance abuse programs and mental health services.

Furthermore, Tennessee sports franchises such as the Memphis Grizzlies voiced their support because of the anticipated increase in revenue and fan interest.

With Tennessee legalized online betting in its relative infancy, it's a work in progress and sure to evolve. As such, while the selection of gambling games in Tennessee remains somewhat limited, things appear on the upswing for the possibility of additional betting opportunities.

Online Gambling in Tennessee: The Current Law

Betting on sports is legal anywhere within Tennessee’s borders. You do not need to be a resident of the Volunteer State in order to bet on sports in Tennessee.

Tennessee residents aged 18 or older are allowed to bet on fantasy sports and participate in certain other gambling activities such as buying lottery tickets. However, you must be at least 21 years old in order to wager online for sports and horse racing.

The online gambling options here are fairly limited compared with many other states. For instance, you can't gamble for real money in casino-type games. Similarly, the state does not sanction online poker gambling.

Legal Online Sportsbooks

The Tennessee online sportsbooks in early 2021 were: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Action 24/7. These all have state approval and offer various bonuses and rewards when you sign up.

FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM were the first to be receive approval by the state. Tennessee Action 24-7 is an instate app that is hoping to compete with the larger apps by concentrating on sporting events in the state and appealing to Tennessee bettors with its local flavor.

DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the giants when it comes to sportsbook apps and both offer a plethora of betting options. Both are also very secure sites that are easy to use and navigate.

Ditto for the BetMGM Sportsbook, which has also risen rapidly up the popularity ladder in Tennessee and is famous for its Las Vegas casino reports and expertise. BetMGM offers a wide variety of available sports, straightforward promotions and extra features.

DraftKings

DraftKings offered daily fantasy sports right from the start and then rapidly became popular with Tennessee sportsbook players. Offering an attractive deposit bonus, DraftKings also offers an abundance of exclusive promotions.

It has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top-rated operators in the nation.

FanDuel

FanDuel is also a very popular app in the state with an excellent amount of promotions designed to appeal to bettors of all experience levels. It is particularly known for its parlay bonuses, which allows excellent returns for bettors who like to spread their bets across multiple sporting events.

Fantasy Sports and Horse Racing

Websites for fantasy sports in Tennessee include DraftKings, FanDuel, DraftDay Fantasy Draft and StarsDraft.

DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM all accept bets in Tennessee on horse racing. 

Twinspires and Xpressbet are two more websites that are popular for horse race betting in the state.

Sports Betting in Tennessee

The online betting options in Tennessee are numerous in terms of what sports you can bet on and what kind of wagers you would prefer to make.

Naturally, a lot of the action centers around the teams located in the state itself. These teams include the NFL's Tennessee Titans, the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and the NHL's Nashville Predators.

College sports are also big with the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and Memphis University among the schools located in the state. Various events such as the Liberty Bowl and Southeast Conference tournaments also draw a lot of interest.

As for the sports, you name it and you can probably bet on it.  These include pro and college football and basketball, mixed martial arts, auto racing, the NHL, pro golf, boxing, bowling and soccer.

The following is a brief explanation of many of the various betting options in the state:

Moneyline

This is the simplest wagering option available as bettors just choose a player or team they think will win. If you choose the winner, the sportsbook will pay the amount due. The first part of the moneyline bet tells you who you are betting on. The second part of the bet tells you how much you will get paid out. If it says +110, you get $110 if you bet $100. If it says -110, you must bet $110 to win $100.

Totals

Also known as over/unders, these are bets in which you are wagering on the number of points scored. A bookmaker sets a line for the total number of points, runs or goals to be scored and you bet on whether the total will be higher and lower. This form of betting is particularly popular in college and pro football.

Points Spread

This is one of the most popular of all sports bets as you wager on what you think will be the margin of victory in a game or match. Putting money on the underdog provides you with points while wagering on the favorite does not. If the final result is the same as the line, it's called a push and you get your money back.

Future Bets

Futures are bets on events or games that will take place in the future. For example, before a season even starts you can bet on which team will win the World Series or Super Bowl. These bets involve a lot of factors, including the injuries a team might suffer as the season goes along.

Prop Bets

These are bets not directly linked to which team wins or the overall score. Rather, they are bets linked to what may happen in the game. Examples of this are which player might make the first catch or which team may kick the most field goal. Prop bets are confined to pro sports in Tennessee and not legal in college sports.

Parlay Bets

Parlays are single bets that involve combining two or more bets into one. These usually involve straight-up bets on moneylines, point totals or spreads, but you can also combine futures and prop bets. Although your odds of winning are decreased because you have to make more than one correct bet, the payoffs are higher.

Legal Online Casinos in Tennessee

To put it simply, there are no legal online casinos in Tennessee. Casino games such as slots, video poker, slots and table games including black jack and roulette are not permitted within the state whether you are talking online or physical locations.

As of early 2021, there do not appear to be any signs of things changing soon as the governor has indicated he will veto any law that also includes the addition of any land-based casinos.

Although the state now allows online betting on sports, gamblers can only hope Tennessee politicians will adopt a more progressive stance in the future. But as of now Tennessee continues to have one of the most restrictive policies towards casino gambling in the entire country.

Legal Online Poker in Tennessee

As is the case with casino games, online poker in Tennessee is against the law. What's more, it doesn't appear anything is going to change in the near future with the state continuing to adhere to its traditional conservative approach to most forms of gambling.

The bottom line is if you want to legally play poker your best bet - no pun intended - is to head to nearby states such as Mississippi where betting is available in land-based casinos.

For those who want to circumvent the state's anti-poker laws, there are out-of-state United States poker rooms that welcome players from Tennessee. Make sure the site you use is legally regulated and has licensed online poker operators.

How to Set Up a Tennessee Online Gambling Account

Because the state has a very short history of legal gambling, setting up an account will be a new experience for many Tennessee bettors. Fortunately, it's a relatively short and straight forward process.

Start by choosing one of the sportsbook options and downloading its page. Once the app is loaded, look for the registration button in the top right corner of the display.

This will take you to a screen where you provide your personal information that includes your name, email address, home address, phone number and date of birth. You will also be asked to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number in order to further verify who you are. 

After you are registered, you will be asked to make a deposit into your account. The app will either take you there directly or ask you to click on the deposit icon. From there, you can find the bets you want to make in multiple ways. To place a bet simply push the button on the wager you want to make. 

The sportsbooks will then update a slip on the details of your bet. You can then either complete your bet or add another wager to the bet slip. Additional betting options such as parlays can usually be found on the slip.

Bettors want to make sure their account is secure and difficult to hack. In order to do so create a unique password that is very difficult to guess. If offered by the site, also take advantage of two-factor authentication.

Two-step verification greatly helps secure your account from theft. The first step usually consists of entering a username and password. The second step consists of another form of identification such as a code being sent to your mobile phone. 

Tennessee Online Gambling: Banking Methods

There are multiple choices when it comes to making deposits and withdrawals on online gambling sites that are available in Tennessee. All online gambling sites in the state are expected to provide secure withdrawal and deposit methods.

One way to take care of your banking gambling needs is to use an electronic wallet such as PayPal. Electric wallets are easy to set up, secure and affordable.

Another method is to use payment cards such as Visa, Discover or MasterCard. Similarly, you can use prepaid cards whereby you load with card with funds from your bank and use it with your sportsbook.

An additional option is to use online banking transfers in which bettors can fund their sportsbook accounts directly through their bank accounts. In order to do this you must authorize your bank to make payments to your sportsbook account.

Finally, ACH or e-check is also a viable payment method. An e-check is simply an electronic funds transfer (EFT) that utilizes the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network.

Depositing the funds is easy. Simply go on our sportsbook site and hit the deposit button - if it doesn't take you there automatically.

Because the sportsbooks available in Tennessee are well-established and trustworthy, bettors can rest assured their funds are safe. The speed in which money is deposited and withdrawn can vary, but it is generally fairly fast providing there are no complications.

Withdrawals can take a little longer depending on the method you use.  Electronic transfers will usually occur faster than other methods such as a check or money order.

Most online sportsbooks will have multiple withdrawal options. Another factor in determining how fast money can be withdrawn includes the fees that are charged. Gambler who are willing to pay more will generally receive their payments quicker.

The Future of Online Gambling in Tennessee

There's no doubt Tennessee has come a long way in terms of allowing gambling in its state. From practically having no gambling of all - the state was one of the last to have a lottery - Tennessee in recent years has allowed online gambling for fantasy sports, sports and horse racing.

The future of online gambling remains largely a matter of the political landscape. In recent elections Tennessee has remained largely in the so-called Red State category and Republican legislators have shown little indication they are open to expanding the state's online gambling opportunities.

On the flip side, the gambling that does exist is generating  significant income for the state and this is a positive for all concerned. Now that Tennessee bettors have a taste of online gambling, you can be sure they will advocate for more.

To sum up, the future outlook for more online gambling in Tennessee is cloudy. And even if the state expands its  betting opportunities, they will probably come about slower than in other parts of the country.

Tennessee Online Gambling FAQ

Is online gambling legal in Tennessee?
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It is legal provided you use the authorized established and legitimate sportsbooks. Many in Tennessee assume this is not the case because the state has no-land based casinos and very restrictive laws towards many forms of gambling, but online gambling did become legal in the last two years.

What are the most popular sports to bet on in Tennessee?
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It’s a matter of personal choice, of course, but some are clearly favorites in the state. One is football because the state has its own team called the Tennessee Titans and two college teams (the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt) in the Southeast Conference. Basketball is also big with an NBA team (the Memphis Grizzlies) and lots of in-state collegiate action.

What Happens if you win a sports bet in Tennessee?
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The state’s approved betting sites have various cashier options you can use when you are ready to collect. Keep in mind, however, you must fulfill a few security and banking requirements before your winnings are released. Bettors should keep in mind winnings with Tennessee sportsbooks are taxable.

Where can I bet on sports in Tennessee?
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Betting on sports while using one of its authorized apps is allowed anywhere within Tennessee’s state border. You do not need to be a resident of the state to place a bet in Tennessee. Conversely, if you are not physically located in Tennessee while using an app, you will not be able to place a wager.

About this author

Rick Fortenbaugh author profile

Sports writer in Trenton, New Jersey, for over 35 years. Has covered a full range of sports, including pros, colleges and high schools. Owner of a bachelor's degree to teach history from the College of New Jersey.

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