Tennessee Online Sports Betting Laws
Tennessee is one of the few Southern states that allows sports betting – and its bettors are clearly loving the opportunity. Betting on sports in the Volunteer State is strictly online-only – and in January 2021, a handle of $211 million smashed all previous monthly records.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is Sports Betting Legal in Tennessee?
Yes, Tennessee sports betting is legal and sportsbooks started trading here in November 2020.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee is unique in being the first state where sports betting can only be conducted online.
How Old Do I Have to be to Place a Bet in Tennessee?
In common with most states where it is legal, you must be 21 or older to enjoy Tennessee sports betting.
Choose a sportsbook that offers the sports you want to bet on and the markets you like.
Go through the registration process – you’ll need to give your personal details and provide some form of ID.
Deposit some funds in your new account.
Check out the welcome bonus available for new customers and make the most of it.
Make your first selection and enjoy your first bet.
The first bill designed to legalize sports betting in the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, was introduced in 2018. It went through several amendments before passing through the state house and senate in 2019.
There are no casinos in Tennessee; when the legislation was passed, Tennessee became the first state where sports betting is permitted on an online-only basis.
It was more than another year before, on November 1, 2020, the first legal online sports bet was placed and accepted in Tennessee.
Many of the state’s 6.8 million people immediately took advantage of the opportunity. The total handle for sports bets in November 2020, the first month of taking wagers, was $131.4 million; in December 2020 it was $180.9 million; and in January 2021 it was an enormous $211.3 million. In fact, the state saw its total sports wagering handle surpass $1 billion by the end of April 2021, six months after initial launch.
Because Tennessee sports betting is conducted only online, the only way to bet in the state is by registering with one of the sportsbooks licensed to take wagers.
You must be located within the state boundaries to be able to visit Tennessee betting sites. Make sure you have your geolocation tools switched on to prove your location to your chosen sportsbook.
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation is responsible for the licensing and regulation of online sports wagering in Tennessee. So far, seven licenses have been granted to organizations to run sportsbooks in Tennessee. These are BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, the local Nashville company Action 24/7, William Hill, TwinSpires Sportsbook (Churchill Downs), and WynnBET. All are currently up and running, with WynnBET being the latest with an April 30, 2021 launch.
Yes, your Tennessee sports betting winnings are considered to be taxable income by the IRS.
If your wins meet a reportable threshold, you should receive a W-2G from them in plenty of time to include the figures in your federal tax return.
In common with most states where sports betting has been legalized, you need to be 21 or older to wager in Tennessee.
You can bet with a Tennessee sportsbook only if you are physically located within the borders of the state. If you’re not a resident of Tennessee, that’s OK – but it is still essential that when you place your bet you are in the state.
Professional athletes are not allowed to bet on the outcome of any events overseen by that athlete’s sport’s governing body. Nor are coaches or any other employees of professional sports teams. There are several other categories of individuals who are prohibited from placing sports wagers in Tennessee, including amateur and Olympic athletes (if the wager is based on sports or events in which the athlete participates, and which is overseen by their sport’s governing body).
Betting on college sports events is permitted – but there is a restriction that means no in-game wagers are allowed on college games.
Sportsbooks cannot offer wagers on events in which most of the participants are under 18, which rules out all high school and youth league sports- unless such an event is specifically pre-approved by the TEL as having persons under the age of 18 make up the minority of the participants.
No betting is allowed on pop culture events such as the Academy Awards. Betting is restricted to sporting events.
Betting on politics has not been authorized anywhere in the US. No licensed sportsbook will offer odds on an election at home or abroad.
Tennessee is a state traditionally opposed to any form of gambling – there are no casinos at all within its borders, for instance.
It therefore came as a big surprise when, in 2016, Tennessee became the third state after Indiana and Virginia to specifically legalize and regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).
The legislation required each DFS operator to pay a licensing fee of between $1,000 and $75,000 (depending on annual revenues), and to hand over a 6% tax on all revenue generated in the state.
DFS became a huge success in Tennessee, arguably paving the way for the legalization of sports betting. The daily chance to play on football, basketball, hockey and baseball has proved as popular as ever with fans in the state.
The Tennessee Titans are regulars in the play-offs in recent years and will surely add to their sole Super Bowl appearance in 1999 soon. No fewer than 10 college teams play in Division 1 in the NCAA. Football is massive here – and so is the volume of betting on it.
Now that Tennessee online sports betting is here to stay, the industry has shown a commendable willingness to focus on the need for gambling to be undertaken responsibly.
While the vast majority of bettors treat it as a relaxing, fun activity, for a few people betting can lead to serious financial and emotional problems.
Under the bill that legalized Tennessee sports betting, 5% of all the state’s revenue from gambling goes to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The department’s website lists a host of resources where problem gamblers and their families can get expert help and advice. These include the Redline, a confidential 24/7 Tennessee helpline.
The Tennessee Education Lottery, which is the body that oversees betting in the state, also insists in its rules that would-be license holders submit a responsible gambling plan as part of their application. As a result, all sportsbooks operating in the state have self-limiting options in terms of the amount of money and time people can spend betting on sport.
There is even a Gambling Clinic at the University of Memphis that receives $180,000 annual funding from the state to treat people, train staff and helps to develop tools to address excessive gambling.
Moreover, bettors who use Tennessee sites also have access to:
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): A national organization that provides a national helpline, as well as links and resources for those combating problem gambling.
Gamblers Anonymous: Where gamblers can book meetings, share their common problem and help others to recover from compulsive gambling.
Gam-Anon: A self-help organization for the spouse, family or close friends of problem gamblers.
GamTalk: A 24/7 moderated online peer support forum for those with gambling issues.
Tennessee legislature passes bill legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports.
Tennessee Sports Gaming Act introduced to allow online-only sports betting.
Tennessee becomes the first state to legalize online-only sports betting. Legislation becomes effective on July 1.
First legal online sports bet is placed on November 1.
Tennessee was the first state to legalize online-only betting. There are no bricks-and-mortar locations where you can bet in the state. A full list of online license holders can be found here.
The current active license holders are:
|License Holder||Online Sportsbook Partner|
|Betfair Interactive US||FanDuel|
|Crown TN Gaming||Draft Kings|
|Tennessee Action 24/7||Action 24/7|
|American Wagering, Inc.||William Hill Sports Book|
|Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming, LLC||TwinSpires Sportsbook|
|WSI US, LLC||WynnBET|
Yes you can. In fact, Tennessee sports betting can only be enjoyed online. There are no licensed retail premises in the state where you can bet, so you have to sign up with an online sportsbook to be able to bet on sports in the Volunteer State.
Yes it is. FanDuel is one of only four sportsbooks currently active for Tennessee online sports betting. You can also use FanDuel for Daily Fantasy Sports, which has been legal in Tennessee since 2016.
Yes it is. Tennessee online sports betting customers can use the DraftKings’ sportsbook – it is one of seven licensed in the state, of which only four are active so far. You can also use DraftKings for Daily Fantasy Sports, which is legal in Tennessee.
The only place you can bet on sports in the state is online through Tennessee betting sites. Sports betting is a strictly online-only activity in the Volunteer State – there are no bricks-and-mortar premises where you can wager. So find the sportsbook you prefer and bet online there.