Tennessee isn’t a gambling-friendly state. The local politicians are very skeptical about allowing tribal or commercial casinos to offer their services to Tennessee residents and even pari-mutuel betting is banned within the borders of the state. Social gambling and charity gambling regulations are also unreasonably strict, which leaves the state-controlled lottery as the only regulated gambling option available to local real money gaming enthusiasts. As you’ve probably already guessed, Tennessee-based companies aren’t allowed to operate any iGaming sites.
Online Gambling in Tennessee
Tennessee regulations may be extremely prohibitive when it comes to land-based gambling, but that doesn’t change the fact that they simply fail to address the issue of internet gambling due to being extremely outdated. Consequently, while it is clear that participating in live games of chance with real money involved is considered a misdemeanor, it’s next to impossible to say whether this applies to online gaming or not.
No offshore sites’ customers had to face unlawful gambling charges, so Tennessee courts didn’t have a chance to resolve this problem. As a result, most of the local gambling enthusiasts assume that playing on offshore sites is 100% legal and simply play their favorite games. It’s very hard not to give this line of reasoning some credit, as none of them have been harassed by the authorities so far.
Picking the right gambling site is an important first step on the road to becoming a successful and satisfied internet gambler, so you should spend some time researching several platforms before you commit your hard-earned money. If you’re a poker enthusiast, you should focus your efforts on high-traffic sites. Unlike small networks, they are more than capable of hosting 24/7 cash games and large tournaments.
If you’re looking for some casino action, you should compare the available sites in terms of game selection and bonuses. Finally, if you’re a sports betting enthusiast, you should compare the sportsbooks that seem to be interesting in terms of prices, coverage and live betting options.
Casinos in Tennessee
Tennessee (TN) has some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the country and does not have any operating casinos. There are casinos in neighboring states, such as North Carolina, Mississippi, and Missouri, which has some Tennesseans wanting to bring that revenue home. A bill has been proposed that would change the constitution and allow state lawmakers to make casinos legal.
There are, however, some financial issues with the casinos across the river from Memphis, and many voters think that importing those problems within state borders is the wrong way to go.
Whatever course of action the state eventually takes, expect any acceptance of casinos and future growth of casino gaming to take a long time.
Tennessee Sportsbooks & Sports Betting
Sports betting is illegal in Tennessee, and even though lawmakers have openly spoken about the need to look into it as an option, the hurdles of the state constitution and conservative voters mean that any effort to legalize sports gambling will be a slow process.
One thing that might tip the scales in favor of legalization is the likelihood that Mississippi’s casinos, located just 20 miles across the river, will offer sports gambling. If enough bets are placed there, the push to bring those bets back to TN will be strong.
Fantasy Sports Gambling and eSports
In 2016, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said that all pay-for-prize fantasy sports are illegal in TN. Despite this, and the state’s general hard stance against gambling, the legislature passed The Fantasy Sports Act later that year. The law made all daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues legal and regulated by the state.
While a number of states charge large licensing fees for operators, which tends to favor the bigger DFS companies, TN’s law requires a 6% tax on revenue (player fees – player payouts). That makes it a much friendlier state to smaller players in the industry.
Tennessee’s DFS regulations are as follows:
- All players must be at least 18 years old.
- There is a $2,500 limit on monthly player deposits per DFS operator.
- Contests on amateur and college athletics are prohibited.
- Employees of DFS companies are prohibited from playing any contest with a prize greater than $5.
There are no laws regulating eSports betting. As of today, TN treats it like all sports betting, so it is illegal.
Its neighbor to the north is the jewel of American horse racing, but for all Kentucky has to offer when it comes to the Sport of Kings, Tennessee is lacking. There are no race tracks to watch live horse racing in TN, and pari-mutuel wagering hasn’t been legal since the early 1900s.
Horse racing is not illegal. There is harness racing at the Lincoln County Fair each September, and Nashville hosts the Iroquois Steeplechase each May, but gambling on those races is illegal.
There are no off-track betting sites in the state, as all pari-mutuel wagering is illegal. There is also no greyhound racing in Tennessee.
Tennessee Poker Games
One of the biggest names in the resurgence of poker in the last 15 years is that of Chris Moneymaker, who went from amateur player to winner of the World Series of Poker seemingly overnight.
The Tennessee native’s impact on the world of poker has not carried the same weight back in his home state. Poker is illegal and looks to remain that way, so there are no live poker rooms anywhere in the state. Online poker is also illegal.
One of the very few forms of gambling that Tennessee embraces is the state lottery, although they were late to adopt one when compared to other states. The state didn’t sell its first lottery ticket until 2004, after amending the state constitution in 2002 to allow the change. Along with scratch-off games, the following draw games are available:
- Cash 3
- Cash 4
- KENO To Go
- Tennessee Cash
- Lotto America (multistate)
- Cash 4 Life (multistate)
- Mega Millions (multistate)
- Powerball (multistate)
All TN lottery tickets must be purchased in person at one of the 5,000 authorized retailers. All tickets must be purchased with cash. All players must be at least 18 years old.
Bingo is not allowed in Tennessee, even for nonprofit, civic, or religious organizations.
The state does have charitable gaming laws, but those only allow for raffles and cakewalks, where the prize is an actual cake.
And it’s no cakewalk to get a charitable gaming license, even if you are a valid 501(c)(3). You must apply to the General Assembly and get approved by two-thirds of its members. If you are approved, you are allowed to hold no more than one event per year.
Tennessee Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
If you’ve already picked your iGaming site, your next step should be to set-up a gambling account and make the first deposit. Please keep in mind that every new player has to undergo a personal data verification process which might take up to 48 hours. Fortunately, once your account gets a green light from the site’s staff you won’t ever have to go through verification again.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
If you feel like you need a cash out, all you need to do is open the cashier menu and place a request. Payout requests usually take about 48 hours to process – and since most sites prefer to handle transactions of this kind using wire transfers, you should receive your winnings within less than 2 weeks.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Tennessee?
You have to be at least 18 years old in order to register with a Tennessee-acing offshore site.
How do I open an account?
Simply fill out the registration form provided on the site and confirm your identity by sending the site’s staff a photo or scan of your ID. Once you do that, your account should be cleared for real money games.
Where can I open my account from?
You can open your account from Tennessee or any other US state.
From where can I access Tennessee online gambling sites?
Tennessee-friendly iGaming sites can be accessed from anywhere in the United States, but you should keep in mind that playing online games of chance for real money is very dangerous in states like Washington and Utah, as they already have strict anti-online gambling regulations in place.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Tennessee?
You might want to start by reading Section 39 of the Tennessee Code.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
In most cases, credit card payments are the only deposit method available to Tennessee-based players.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Most Tennessee-friendly sites support wire transfers and checks.
Is my money safe?
Your money should be as safe as in a bank if you stick with the sites that we’ve listed here. If you want to try something different, you should research the site in question on your own before you make a deposit. Unfortunately, there are quite a few con artists that are trying to scam inexperienced US gamblers by setting up rogue iGaming sites.
What body regulates gambling in Tennessee?
Gambling in Tennessee is regulated by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.