Tennessee

Tennessee is unique among U.S. states having the distinction of offering more legal online betting options than it does land-based gambling. Its lawmakers have taken the radical and unique move of introducing online sports betting in a state that has no land-based casino heritage. Soon, bettors in the Volunteer State will be betting on sports online.

That said, the state of Tennessee is traditionally quite anti-gambling with no land-based racetracks, casinos, poker rooms or legal sports betting options at all.

Take into account that Tennessee didn’t even have a state lottery until as late as 2003, and you should begin to gain some kind of perspective as to exactly how reluctant Tennessee has been over time to accept legal gambling of any form.

Of course, there are exceptions. Tennessee actually has online betting options for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and most U.S.-based horse racing betting sites accept customers from the state of Tennessee without any legal barriers of any kind.

Legality of Sports Betting VS Gambling

No Casinos, No poker, No sports betting. Tennessee is a traditional anti-gaming state but does gamblers legal DFS competitions, a popular state lottery, horse racing (online and off-track) and charitable gambling.

Sports & Gambling Type
Legal Land-Based
Legal Online
Sports Betting
No
Yes
Casinos
No
No
Fantasy Sports (DFS)
N/A
Yes
eSports
No
Yes
Poker
No
No
Horse Racing
Yes
Yes
Lottery
Yes
No
Charitable Gambling
Yes
No

Tennessee Sports Betting Tax Rates

There is no state tax on gambling winnings in Tennessee.

However, gambling wins over a $600 amount in the state of Tennessee may possibly attract an additional Federal Tax.

We recommend contacting your tax attorney to assess your potential Federal tax liability if you have a big win in Tennessee.

Sports betting Age VS Gambling Age in Tennessee

For all its limited gambling types, Tennessee keeps it simple and applies an across the board age limit of 18.


Sports & Gambling Type
Age
Sports Betting
21
DFS
18
Casinos
N/A
Horse Racing
18
Lottery
18
Charitable Gambling
18

Betting on Sports in Tennessee

Sports betting will very soon be active in the State of Tennessee. No specific date has been set for the beginning of legal sports wagering in the Volunteer State. However, a 2020 third quarter date is expected (unfortunately not the July 2020 date originally touted) and its long been thought that residents and visitors to Tennessee should be able to place a legal wager a week or two before the start of the 2020/21 NFL season in September 2020.

Remember, the Tennessee take on betting on sports is unique – online only, and it could be a blueprint for other states to consider. More on that directly below.

For the time being however, residents and visitors of Tennessee can bet 100% legally on horse racing and enjoy playing DFS real money competitions until legal sports betting becomes a reality very soon.

Tennessee Online Sports Betting Laws

It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that Tennessee Lawmakers finding for legal online sports betting would have been a huge shock. However, that all changed with the Tennessee Legislature adopting bi-partisan support of online sports betting legalization bill HB 0001 in 2019 and State Governor Lee allowed the bill to pass into State Law without his signature. The bill is unique in that it allows for online sports betting only, no land-based sports betting was included in the legislation.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) adopted the following set of sports betting regulations;

  • TELC require an annual payment of $750 000 for a sports betting license
  • The state government will impose a 20% gross gaming revenue tax, and a 10% minimum hold requirement (bettor ‘pay back’ of no more than 90% of all bets taken).
  • Tennessee’s sportsbooks operators will be expected to purchase official data from the major sports leagues in order to accept live in-game wagers.
  • Only Tennessee state residents 21-years-of-age-or-older will be permitted to place wagers.
  • Bets to be permitted on pro sports, college sports, amateur sports (like the Olympic Games or World Athletic Championships etc.) and eSports.
  • Betting only available within Tennessee state lines and protected by geolocation technology.

The following groups of persons will not be permitted to participate in Tennessee Sports Betting once introduced;

  • A TELC employee or member.
  • Any owners, partners, members of the board of directors, officers, or supervisory employees of a licensee, or a professional sports team.
  • Any player or coach of a collegiate or professional sports team, or a member or employee of any governing body of a sports team, league or association.
  • Any person who has the ability to affect the outcome of a sporting event directly (including referees or umpires)
  • Any other category of persons (as determined by TELC) that if allowed to place a wager, could possibly affect the integrity of sports wagering in Tennessee.

Online Fantasy Sports in Tennessee

Federal lawmakers have decreed that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are contests of skill and not considered to be gambling. Subsequently, DFS is therefore immune from all forms of Federal gambling regulation or intervention.

State governments across the United States have been exercising their state rights, and consequently, they have been legalizing DFS and regulating the practice under their respective state laws.

Tennessee’s gaming laws do not restrict real money DFS competitions and DFS sites are free to offer their real money competitions to residents and visitors to the Volunteer State.

In April 2016, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the Fantasy Sports Act into State law. The act specifically legalized DFS and the operators are required to obtain a license from the Secretary of State.

Once licensed, fantasy site operators must adhere to a number of regulations;

  • $2500 per month Deposit Limit for Players.
  • Players’ funds must be kept in a separate bank account and must not be combined with the fantasy site’s operational funds.
  • Players must be at least 18 years old and not hold multiple DFS accounts.
  • Fantasy sites must maintain records of all player accounts for five years.
  • Preventing employees from participating in paid contests and more.
  • Combating problem gambling.

Under these regulations, DFS games for real money are offered in Tennessee without any hinderance from state authorities and the industry is in full-swing.

eSports Online Betting Laws

As previously mentioned, Tennessee Sports Betting Laws are unique, and with that in mind, the State’s Lawmakers also legalized eSports in their legislation with eSports included in the definition of a legal ‘sporting event’;

“Any professional sporting or athletic event, including motorsports and e-sports, any collegiate sporting or athletic event, or any Olympic sporting or athletic event sanctioned by a national or international organization or association…”

What are eSports?

Since multi-player video gaming started in the early 2000s, the game’s players have constantly been conspiring to outscore their opponents.
Now, eSports (professional video game play at-the-highest-level) have cultivated big global betting markets based on the outcomes of the all the worldwide tournaments.
The players battle for glory in games like Dota 2, Rocket League and CS;GO worldwide in a series of networked tournaments. Growing rapidly, the eSports industry crossed the $1 billion threshold early 2019 and keeps growing quickly year-on-year.
When sports betting finally graces your favorite legal Tennessee sports book, look for legal eSports wagering to play a prominent role in your available betting types.

Horse Racing in Tennessee

Under Tennessee racing laws, licensed horse racing and simulcast betting at licensed OTB facilities are all permissible. The state however, does not have any operating racetracks.
The state’s racing industry will soon be overseen and administered by the recently legalized (under bills SB 1908, and SB 346 / HB 814) Tennessee State Horse Racing Commission.

Trackside Betting

There are currently no legal or licensed horse racing tracks currently operating in Tennessee.

Off Track Betting (OTB) in Tennessee

Tennessee has several ‘satellite tele-theaters’ that operate as OTB locations for simulcast betting.

Online Horse Racing in Tennessee

Thankfully, given the limited number of options for online bettors in the state of Tennessee, it is possible to place horse racing wagers online without any fear of punishment under the state’s quite strict gambling laws.
Excellent online odds are available for Tennessee’s online horse racing fans on all the major horse racing venues worldwide and thoroughbred racing venues across the United States directly from their phones, tablets, smartwatches, other mobile devices or home computers.

Visit our Gambling in Tennessee page for more information on online gambling in the Volunteer State

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