Tennessee Online Gambling 2020

Until recently, Tennessee online gambling seemed like a remote possibility. That is until Governor Bill Lee returned a landmark sports betting bill without a signature. Under state law, the governor’s failure to sign allowed the bill to become law. The first legal online sports betting apps launched in Tennessee on November 1, 2020.

Tennessee has historically been conservative in its stance on legal gambling. For many years, the lottery was the only option available to gambling enthusiasts in The Volunteer State. Currently, Tennessee players have access to online casino gaming through sweepstakes casino sites and sweepstakes poker sites. These include options to play slots online at sites like Chumba Casino, LuckyLand, and FunzPoints, as well as online poker at Global Poker.

Tennessee is unique in that its sports betting legislation authorizes online-only operators to offer sportsbooks in the state. There are no land-based casinos in Tennessee, so the push to allow online sports betting makes sense.

Legal Online Gaming Options In Tennessee

Type Of Online GamblingLegal Status In Tennessee
Online CasinoIllegal in Tennessee
Online Sports BettingLaunched November 1, 2020
Online Horse Race BettingPermitted on licensed and regulated operator sites
Online LotteryIllegal. All lottery purchases must be made at a licensed retail outlet
Daily Fantasy SportsLegal in Tennessee
Sweepstakes CasinosAvailable to Tennessee players
Sweepstakes Poker SitesAvailable to Tennessee players

Tennessee Online Sports Betting Snapshot

Tennessee is staged to become a pioneer for online sports betting. The state’s online-only approach in the absence of land-based casinos is unique among regulated US jurisdictions. While the regulatory landscape in Tennessee will look different from states like New Jersey or Illinois, the online offering will likely mirror those of other states with digital sportsbooks.

Online sportsbooks grow in popularity by the day because they are accessible and fast. If you want to bet on a specific game, you don’t have to coordinate travel to a land-based property in time to place your wager before or during the game.

Players love online sportsbooks because they allow 24/7 access to sports betting. Whether you’re a fan of international soccer leagues or local football teams, you can place bets on your phone while mobile.

Tennessee bettors will no doubt find this positive. The Volunteer State has an NFL, NHL, and NBA team, plus a big NCAA sports fanbase. Now that online apps are live, Tennessee is a prime market for online sports betting with a wide array of sports fans across the state.

Check out our Guide To Online Sports Betting In Tennessee.

Live Tennessee Sports Betting Apps As Of November 1, 2020:

Rules & Regulations

Tennessee already placed certain regulations on sports betting for when it eventually launches in the state. Bettors must be within state lines, which will be verified by geolocation technology. Also, players need to be at least 21 years of age.

Some further rules for Tennessee online gambling will bar certain people from participating in sports betting to lower the risk of corruption. The following groups will be unable to bet on sports in Tennessee:

  • Professional/college athletes and coaches
  • An employee of the Tennessee Lottery (who oversees sports betting in the state)
  • Anyone who can directly impact the outcome of a sporting contest or match
  • An employee of any sports team or league’s governing body
  • Board members, owners, partners, and officers of a license-provider, license holder, or professional sports team.

The state has a few other stipulations surrounding college betting. No prop bets on in-play wagers will be available on college matches. Tennessee bettors will have to stick to professional sports for those wagers.

Tennessee Online Gambling Status

Tennessee historically offered very little in terms of online gambling. However, with the rapid growth of sports betting across the US and the continuing adoption of other online gaming forms in various states, new options are opening up to Tennessee online gamblers.

Here’s an overview of other legal online gambling options in Tennessee beyond sports betting. Also included are those that are not yet legal but could come to the state in the future.

Daily Fantasy Sports

In 2016, Tennessee became the third US state (after Virginia and Indiana) to officially authorize Daily Fantasy Sports. DFS enjoys a solid presence in The Volunteer State. Currently, there are seven operators licensed to run DFS contests in Tennessee:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FantasyDraft
  • SportsHub Technologies, Inc.
  • Two Nine Gaming, Inc.
  • Underdog Sports, Inc.
  • Yahoo!

Daily Fantasy Sports is available to anyone over the age of 18 in Tennessee. DFS players on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are able to log into sportsbooks from those operators now that sports betting is live in Tennessee.

Tennessee Online Horse Race Betting

Tennessee state law neither prohibits nor allows online horse race betting directly. In fact, the state has gone back and forth, legislatively speaking, on whether to allow race tracks and accompanying wagers in the state. The advent of sports betting could spurn more legal action. As of now, though, horse racing in Tennessee remains in limbo.

However, a number of operators offer online options to Tennessee bettors looking to wager on races around the world.

Tennessee hosts no race tracks within its borders, so many horse racing enthusiasts turn to the online space.

Sites like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica are the most popular online horse race betting destinations. All three (and a few others) can be found in Tennessee. These sites support races from all over the US and beyond, so even though Tennessee is devoid of race tracks, racing fans can still enjoy placing wagers.

See our comprehensive Guide To Online Horse Racing In Tennessee.

Tennessee Online Casinos

Although legal online casino gambling for real money is illegal in the state, there are some other options for legal gaming in Tennessee. These are legal gaming options that give Tennessee bettors the change to play slots and table games online for cash prizes.

Players in Tennesse have access to online gaming at these sites:

  • Chumba Casino
  • Global Poker
  • LuckyLand Casino
  • FunzPoints

Sweepstakes Casino Sites

In the absence of a legal online casino presence, Tennessee players may encounter sweepstakes casino sites.

These sites offer a variety of online casino games like slots, blackjack, and roulette. Players purchase in-game currency (which costs real money) called “coins” or similar. Those coins can be used to play casino games, but cannot be redeemed for cash. The sweepstakes model comes in with “sweeps coins” or “sweeps cash.” Whenever you purchase in-game currency, you’re given a small allotment of sweeps currency, which can be redeemed for cash prizes.

Sweepstakes sites offer a mail-in option, which allows players to receive free sweeps cash via mail-in request. This is what allows sweepstakes casinos like Chumba Casino or LuckyLand to operate legally, even in states with strict online gambling prohibitions.

These sites can be a fun alternative to real-money casino gaming especially in states like Tennessee that bar online casinos. But you should use them with caution in The Volunteer State due to vague legislation.

Sweepstakes Poker

Sweepstakes poker sites use the same model as their sweepstakes casino counterparts. In fact, the same company that runs Chumba Casino also owns Global Poker, the most popular sweepstakes poker site.

The idea is the same: players can purchase coins to use in poker games, and each purchase also gives the player a small amount of sweeps cash. Mail-in offers allow players to redeem free sweeps cash.

Like similar casino sites, sweepstakes poker can be an excellent alternative to full-fledged online poker rooms.

Online Casino And Poker In Tennessee

Online casinos are illegal in Tennessee alongside online poker.

The two often go hand-in-hand when legislation is drafted. But currently, Tennessee shows no signs of intent to legalize either online poker rooms or casinos. The state remains opposed to online gambling in these forms.

Notably, online sports betting can often pave the way for new regulations surrounding online casino and poker rooms. If Tennessee is successful in its online-only sports betting push, lawmakers could become more amenable to other forms of online gaming.

Online Lottery

Tennessee has strict rules in place with regard to lottery sales. Players cannot purchase tickets online.

Instead, lottery players in Tennessee are required to purchase tickets and draw games at a licensed retailer. Further, you can only purchase lottery tickets with cash. No debit or credit purchases are permitted.

The Tennessee Lottery does have a mobile app, though it is purely informational. It can help you find a licensed retailer. But you’ll have to actually make an in-person visit to purchase any lottery products.

The state and its legislators have given no indication that online lottery sales are a prospect for the future.

Tennessee’s Online Gambling History

Online gambling in The Volunteer State has a short history that has grown busier in recent years. Tennessee’s story begins at the federal level, then picks up in 2016 and beyond with significant developments.

Online Gaming On A Federal Level

To put it mildly, the US federal government has been wishy-washy in terms of online gambling legislation. Under the Federal Wire Act of 1961, the government prohibited all forms of online gaming.

2011 brought hope for a reversal of that stance when the US Department of Justice indicated that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting. That declaration wasn’t the end of it.

In the years following, various administrations and organizations reversed and re-reversed the decision so many times, it’s become a bit of a mess to track. In 2018, the Justice Department under the Trump administration retracted the 2011 opinion, and the Wire Act went back to covering all forms of online gambling.

After, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Justice Department are caught in a tug-of-war regarding The Wire Act, and nobody is quite sure which side will come out on top. Bottom line: the federal stance on online gaming is confusing, and it’s likely to stay that way as the government fights internally over what The Wire Act covers.

This back-and-forth has little impact on Tennessee, however, because the state still bars online gaming in its own laws. Any legitimate federal reversal would need to be followed by state-specific laws before online gaming could reasonably become a reality in Tennessee.

Tennessee’s Sports Betting Push

Tennessee gave its first indication that it would welcome sports betting in 2016 when it became the third state to officially authorize Daily Fantasy Sports. DFS legalization isn’t always a harbinger of regulated online sports betting, but a combination of federal shifts and Tennessee laws made that the case for The Volunteer State.

In 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. This left the decision to legalize sports betting to individual states. Many, including Tennessee, have already acted to regulate and launch online sportsbooks.

In 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee allowed the state’s sports betting bill to become law without his signature. The Tennessee Lottery will oversee sports betting under the bill. The state launched online sports betting by November 1, 2020.

For now, Tennessee seems laser-focused on sports betting. State lawmakers have given no indication that they intend to legalize other forms of online gambling like casinos or poker rooms. In addition to sports, Tennessee players have access to online casinos in the form of sweepstakes casino sites and sweepstakes poker.

Live Gambling In Tennessee

Tennessee is a bit of an oddball compared to other states with a gambling presence. With no land-based casinos, sportsbooks, or race tracks, the state has embraced online sports betting without any brick-and-mortar properties.

Rather than move to build properties or allow casino/race track operators to expand into the state, Tennessee effectively jumped ahead by regulating online sportsbooks. This could mean a great variety for players because online operators won’t need to spend time negotiating partnerships with land-based casino owners before they can launch.

Tennessee Gambling Quick Facts

Is lottery legal in Tennessee?Yes, but you cannot purchase tickets online. Retail-only
Does Tennessee have racetracks?No
Does Tennessee have casinos?No
What is Tennessee’s minimum gambling age?21 (18 for lottery and Daily Fantasy Sports)
Who regulates gambling?The Tennessee Lottery
How can I gamble in Tennessee?Online sportsbooks, lottery tickets, Daily Fantasy Sports, online horse race betting, sweepstakes casinos and poker sites

Casino Options For Tennessee Gamblers

Tennessee’s conservative stance on gambling looks like it will hold for the foreseeable future, at least in relation to land-based gaming. Even if the state chose to allow gambling, it would be years before a casino could be licensed, built, and opened within state lines.

Tennessee may have no land-based casinos, but fortunately, a number of neighboring states have properties that are easily accessible to Tennessee residents willing to travel a short distance. Here’s a rundown of land-based casinos close to Tennessee:

CasinoCityState
Hollywood CasinoTunicaMS
Sam’s Town Casino ResortTunicaMS
Horseshoe CasinoTunicaMS
Gold Strike Casino ResortTunicaMS
Fitz Casino HotelTunicaMS
1st JackpotTunicaMS
Harrah’s MetropolisMetropolisIL
Century CasinoCaruthersvilleMO
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino ResortCherokeeNC
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & HotelMurphyNC
Kentucky Downs RacetrackFranklinKY

Tennessee Lottery Overview

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation runs the Tennessee Lottery. Players can enjoy a variety of instant tickets and draw games for a chance at big prizes.

Tennessee’s lottery games can only be purchased in-person at a licensed and authorized retailer. For more information on any of the games below, you can head to the Tennessee lottery games page.

Instant Games

The Tennessee lottery offers a large portfolio of lottery instant games. They range in price from $1 to $30, and many feature prizes up to $1 million.

Tennessee Powerball And Mega Millions

These games draw twice weekly, and winners get a piece of a huge jackpot, usually exceeding $100 million.

Lotto America

This twice-weekly draw game has a prize that regularly reaches more than a few million dollars.

Cash 4 Life

There’s a winner every night in this game. The top prize? $1,000 a day for life.

Tennessee Ca$h

Win hundreds of thousands of dollars in this game that draws on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Keno To Go

Keno To Go has a drawing every five minutes with a top prize of $100,000. The game is a bit more complex than other draw games, so take a look at the how to play page before you get started.

Cash 3 And Cash 4

Cash 3 and Cash 4 feature top prizes of $500 and $5,000, respectively. They offer morning and evening drawings almost every day of the week for maximum chances to win.

Horse Racing In Tennessee

Though it has no race tracks within state borders, Tennessee racing enthusiasts can still wager on horse races.

For those willing to travel, the Kentucky Downs race track in Franklin, Kentucky, is the nearest physical race track. Otherwise, online betting is available via TVG, TwinSpires, BetAmerica, and other providers.

There have been some attempts to revive the racing industry in Tennessee, but progress is stalled. As of now, there’s no clear-cut answer as to whether Tennessee will bring physical horse races to the state any time soon.

More Information On Tennessee Gambling

Tennessee Gambling FAQ

Is it legal to gamble at land-based casinos in Tennessee?

No. Fortunately, it’s impossible to break this law because there are no casinos or even race tracks in Tennessee. The state does not allow any brick-and-mortar gambling institutions.

Tennessee gambling enthusiasts will need to travel to a nearby state like Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, or North Carolina to find a land-based casino.

Does Tennessee have legal online sports betting?

Yes. However, online sportsbooks launched on November 1.

Tennessee is unique in that it will allow online sports betting operators to launch in the state without being tethered to a land-based casino. Sportsbooks will be online- and mobile-only.

Can only Tennessee residents play at its online sportsbooks?

You will not need to be a Tennessee resident to participate in sports betting in the state.

Anyone within state lines (verified by geolocation technology) and over the age of 21 will be able to place a wager. When you sign up for an account, you will confirm your identity and your age with your social security number.

Who regulates online gambling in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Lottery. As the only formal gambling oversight organization in the state, it will manage and regulate Tennessee’s online sports betting presence. 
What is Tennessee’s minimum gambling age?

Anyone over the age of 21 and within state lines will be able to place a wager at an online sportsbook in Tennessee.

Anyone over 18 can play Tennessee Lottery games or participate in Daily Fantasy Sports contests.

Can I play at online casinos in Tennessee?

No. Tennessee gambling law is very broad and prohibits casino gaming across the board. This includes online casinos.

Players may find an alternative site like Chumba or LuckyLand casino. These sites operate as sweepstakes and can offer casino games online because of the model they use.

Who will operate Tennessee sports betting sites?

There will likely be a large number of providers. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are confirmed license-holders in Tennessee and launched on the first day of betting. Expect other big-name operators like Caesars, William Hill, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and many more to launch online sportsbooks in Tennessee.

Will my information be safe if I bet on sports online in Tennessee?

Yes. Online sportsbooks care about their customers and offer high-level encryption on par with practices used by banks and online shopping retailers.

Online sportsbooks are also regulated by The Tennessee Lottery, which will put rules in place to keep your information safe and secure with any operator who offers sports betting.

Can I bet using my phone?

Tennessee bettors have access to iOS and Android apps.

Apple prohibits gambling apps unless they’re developed in its native programming language. Most major providers do this so they can offer their app in the iOS app store. Google Play does not allow gambling apps, but players can download the Android app directly from operator websites.

Should I sign up with more than one Tennessee sports betting site?

This depends on your preferences. If you sign up for multiple sites, you can take advantage of each provider’s sign-up bonuses and net a few extra dollars you can use to bet.

Stick with one operator, though, and you’ll get more accustomed to how things work. If you join their loyalty program, you have an incentive to keep your betting on their site and could stand to gain more rewards from frequent use of a single site.

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier. Cole writes for a number of online and print publications, including The Quill To Live, a book review site.