Gambling in Tennessee
Sports Legal Since: 2019
Daily Fantasy Legal Since: 2016
Casino Will Be Legal: TBD
Poker Will Be Legal: TBD
Lottery Illegal

Guide to Online Gambling in Tennessee: The Best Tennessee Gambling Sites for 2019

Tennessee Daily Fantasy

In April 2016, after Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill into law, Tennessee became the third state to legalize Daily Fantasy. The new law surprised pleasantly all sports fans and overrode Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s negative opinion letter stating that daily fantasy contests were illegal under previously existing Tennessee law. Nevertheless, the legislature approved the bill and nowadays Tennesseans can legally enjoy their favorite daily fantasy contests.

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Gambling Laws in Tennessee

Alike many other Southern states, Tennessee has some of the strictest laws in terms of gambling. Even though back in the 1800s, the state had an extremely successful horse racing industry, those days are over and nowadays Tennessee is not a gambling-friendly state. The only legal forms of gambling are a small list of games, such as bingo used for charity purposes, the state lottery and horse racing betting. Meanwhile, all brick-and-mortar casinos are explicitly forbidden by the law. When it comes to online gambling, the situation is rather difficult as technically it is not mentioned in the law. Nevertheless, the fact that it is not present in the Tennessee gambling laws does not mean that it is legal. The way the law was written suggests that wagering anything valuable for profit is forbidden and thus it could be assumed that online casinos and gambling are illegal. However, in 2016 the state officially legalized Daily Fantasy and nowadays Tennesseans have access to some of the most popular online operators.

Sports Betting in Tennessee

Sports Betting is currently illegal in Tennessee. However, even though there is no coherent information on whether the state will effectively legalize sports betting, a new bill called “Tennessee Sports Gaming Act” has been proposed. According to the bill’s sponsor, state representative Rick Staples, its intent is to allow local governments to decide whether or not they wish to legalize sports betting in their area. The legalization of sports betting could bring new incomes to the state and would definitely boost its economy. The official discussions of the bill are expected to start in January 2019. We will follow the case and will let you know if Tennessee decides to go through with the sports betting legalization.

Online Casinos in Tennessee

As we mentioned in our legal paragraph, most forms of gambling are currently illegal in Tennessee and this includes online casinos. Even though not explicitly stated in the gambling law, online casinos are illegal, and Tennesseans should not have access to them. Nevertheless, due to the fact that casino sites are not mentioned in the law, certain offshore operators are accepting Tennessean players. Bear in mind that none of these online casinos is regulated by the Tennessean authority and the state cannot guarantee the safety of residents, decided to gamble online. Furthermore, there are also no brick-and-mortar casinos in Tennessee and the residents’ only option to gamble is to travel to another state.

Online Poker in Tennessee

All forms of poker are currently illegal in Tennessee. Furthermore, poker is frowned upon in the state and there have been cases of prosecuted poker players. Tennesseans may have access to certain offshore poker sites but playing in any of them is not recommendable. There are no expected changes in the gambling laws of the state and poker is not expected to be legalized in the near future.

Tennessee Online Lottery

Compared to other states, Tennessee legalized lottery rather late. The lawmakers began to consider the idea of the lottery launch in 2000. A public referendum approved the legalization of the lottery and it was officially established in 2003. Run by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, the lottery sold its first ticket in 2004 and has been generating impressive amount of profits ever since. Lottery tickets could be bought from authorized retailers only and cannot be sold online. There is no information on whether Tennessee is planning to launch an online version of its state lottery but considering the state’s strict laws it is highly unlikely.

History of Gambling in Tennessee

Like many other Southern states, Tennessee has strict laws in terms of gambling and generally disapproves such activities within its state borders. Nevertheless, even though rather conservative, the Tennessee gambling industry has gone through certain changes throughout the years. In 1804 the state opened its first official horse race and marked the beginning of a successful industry, which would come to its end in the 1900s. To help you understand the development that the Tennessee gambling industry has gone through, we have prepared a special timeline, where you can find the most significative events of the Tennessee gambling history.

Tennessee Gambling History
1804 The first official horse race is held in Gallatin, Tennessee.
1906 The Tennessee General Assembly passes various anti-betting laws, which bring the end to the horse racing in the state for several years.
2002 A referendum decides on the creation of a Tennessee State Lottery. The residents vote in favor of the legalization.
2003 The Tennessee State Lottery is legalized.
2010 Following a severe flood in many areas of Tennessee, the authorities allow charity bingo and charity raffles as a way to raise funds. All charitable gaming activities are strictly regulated.
2016 Daily Fantasy Sports are officially legalized in Tennessee after Governor Bill Haslam signs the Daily Fantasy bill into law.

Tennessee State Facts

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, Tennessee is the 16th most populous state in the US. The state’s economy is constantly growing and developing, and many large corporations have based their headquarters in Tennessee. In terms of gambling, Tennessee, like many other Southern states has strict laws and bans almost all forms of gambling. To help you understand the state’s policy, we have listed some of the most important facts about Tennessee in the table below:

Facts About Tennessee
Population 6,715,984
Min. Income $1,256.67
Biggest Offline Gambling Location N/A
Gambling Commissioner
Spoken Languages English – 95.2%, Spanish – 2.5%, German – 0.4%, French – 0.3%
Biggest Local Sports Team
Tennessee Tax Authority
Link to the State Law https://www.tn.gov/lawsandpolicies.html
Gambling Winning Tax No Tax
State Website Link https://www.tn.gov/
Famous Local Gamblers N/A

Gambling Age in Tennessee

The Minimum legal gambling age in Tennessee is 18. All residents of the state who are at least 18 years old are allowed to participate in the state lottery, charity bingos and raffles. All casinos in the state are illegal. Underage players may be denied service or even the payment of their winnings. All minors caught violating the law may also be fined and prosecuted.

  • Online Gambling Age:
    The minimum legal gambling age in Tennessee is +18.
  • Alcohol Age
    In order to be legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol in Tennessee, a person must be 21+.
  • Weed Age
    The consumption of marijuana in Tennessee remains illegal for both recreational and medical use.

Responsible Gambling and Addiction Prevention

Even though most forms of gambling are illegal in Tennessee, all affected by gambling problems can find adequate help within the state borders. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can recommend you various specialists and organizations, where you can treat your gambling addiction and problems. Additionally, you can contact REDLINE, the state’s 24-hour hotline, where you can receive confidential help.

Upcoming Regulation and Expected Changes

As we mentioned above, Tennessee has some of the strictest gambling laws. Only a few forms of gambling are currently legal within the state borders and Tennessee’s anti-gambling policy currently remains in power. The legalization of Daily Fantasy in 2016 was a pleasant surprise for all Tennessean sports fans and has proven to be economically contributive for the state. Nevertheless, Tennessee is not expected to change its views towards the online casinos and online poker. There are plans for the legalization of sports betting. The discussion of the proposed bill will begin in January 2019.

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