Tennessee Online Sports Betting – News and Updates on Sports Betting Legislation

Pledge Your Support for Online Sports Betting in Tennessee!

Are you a Tennessee sports bettor and fan who wants to be able to easily place bets on your smartphone, tablet or computer? Once thought to be a longshot in TN, sports betting legislation is being worked on as you read this.

But we need your help to push the legalization of sports betting in Tennessee!

We need as many voices as possible to tell TN lawmakers that we want to legally bet on sports in Tennessee. It’s time to end black market and offshore betting once and for all, and put the legalization and regulation of sports betting in the hands of state lawmakers.

All you need to do to lend your voice to the legalization of sports betting in Tennessee is fill out the form below, which will let Tennessee lawmakers know that you want them to bring legal sports betting to TN.


Ever since May 2018, states can now legalize sports betting thanks to a United States Supreme Court ruling. Since then, seven states have started taking bets, with several others very close to launch. Tennessee, not known as a gambling-friendly state, surprised the nation by starting the legislative journey towards sports betting legalization. With no casinos inside the states borders, and the closest offerings to sports bets being limited horse race betting and the state lottery, Tennessee faces an uphill battle. Despite not being as prepared as other states, Tennessee has recently taken huge strides towards joining the sports betting market.

Tennessee Online Sports Betting Legislative Landscape

Discussions about legal sports betting in the Volunteer state began in 2018 but really started picking up steam in early 2019.

Here is a brief snapshot of Tennessee’s legislative landscape as it pertains to sports betting:

  • PASPA is deemed unconstitutional in May, 2018 by the United States Supreme Court, opening the door for states to begin regulating sports betting.
  • In November 2018, Knoxville Democrat State Rep. Rick Staples pre-filed HB0001, calling it the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act.
  • On Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, the Tennessee House State Committee voted 12-5 in favor of advancing the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act to the Government Operations Committee for review.
  • After it cleared the Government Operations Committee, the bill advance to the House for a vote. On Wednesday, April 24, Tennessee lawmakers voted 58-37 to approve the sports betting bill, which advances it to the Senate for consideration.
  • The House has until mid-May to vote and deliver the bill to Governor Bill Lee. Lee is a Republican who has previously made it clear that he is hesitant to expand gambling in the state.
  • The bill seems to have support, but there is much debate about what legal sports betting in TN would look like, including calls to make sports betting mobile only. There was also talk about banning wagering on major holidays, and for seven hours on Sundays, but this idea was thankfully shot down.
  • If the Senate proposes changes to the bill, the House would then need to sign off on any amendments.

What is in the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act?

  • Sports betting would be regulated by the state lottery.
  • TN would not allow for any retail sports wagering.
  • In person registration would be required before placing mobile wagers.
  • Sports betting would be taxed at 10% and the annual licensing fee would cost $7500. Money would go towards the state’s general fund.
  • Betting would be allowed on all professional and NCAA sporting events.
  • There is a companion bill, SB16 making it’s way through the State Senate.

PASPA

Sports betting has exploded in the United States ever since PASPA, a 30 year old law that essentially outlawed sports betting in all but a few states, was deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. New Jersey led the way opening its doors to sports betting almost immediately after the May 2018 decision. Since then, other states including West VirginiaDelaware and Pennsylvania have started taking bets.

Outlook for Online Sports Betting in Tennessee

While there have been some great strides, it still may be a while before Tennessee takes its first sports bets. HB1 has moved out of the subcommittee but still needs to be approved by the Government Operations Committee and then be voted on by the 99 members of the House, then be signed by the Governor. All of this would need to happen by May 15th.

There has already been much discussion about the details of the bill, and more debate before the vote is expected. Among the issues with still to be determined are whether sports betting should be mobile only, and whether NCAA props are deemed legal.

There is a lot to be hopeful about as well. The fact that a gambling averse state like Tennessee even has a sports betting bill moving through committee is very promising. Tennessee also shares a border with Mississippi, which is currently taking sports bets, and we’ve seen many states move quicker when they see a loss of tax revenue due to their residents jumping the border to place bets.

This is a developing story, so be sure to check back with RotoGrinders for all the up to date information on Tennessee online sports betting.

History of Tennessee Sports Betting

There really is not much to say about gambling in the Volunteer State. For most of Tennessee’s history, they have managed to keep legal gambling outside of its borders. There are only three forms of gambling allowed, and compared to other states that already have or are looking into sports betting, these options are relatively tame.

The state lottery was approved by voters in 2002 and lottery games began in 2004. Revenue from the lottery never really took off like the legislators hoped it would, and the states top games rarely exceed $1 million. There are six different draw games to choose from and hundreds of scratch cards that can be purchased from retail shops and kiosks spread throughout the state.

The closest we get to actual gambling in the state of TN is the several horse racing venues throughout the state. The popularity of the race tracks has steadily declined since the early 1990s and revenue has never broken $10 million. The state recently approved interstate simulcast racing and off-track betting.

There are also some charitable gambling options in Tennessee. Charity raffles and raffle-style games are legal as long as the money goes to a state approved charity such as political, religious or civil causes. The laws are very strict and do not allow other forms of games such as bingo, poker or casino nights for charity. Even the raffles are restricted; 50/50 raffles are expressly banned and with any raffle that is held, the funds must go 100% to the charitable organization.

Most states have an exemption for games of skill, but this is not true in Tennessee. They define gambling in the criminal code as:

“Wagering anything of value for profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or on any game of chance associated with casinos, not limited to slot machines, roulette wheels, and the like.”

The law also states that you could be arrested for even owning a known gambling device. A card shuffler could land you a $50 fine for your first offense.

The fact that a gambling-averse state like Tennessee is even looking at sports betting shows the need for revenue in the state. Any step forward towards any form of gambling is a huge positive for sports bettors in Tennessee.

Tennessee Online Sports Betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?

Not yet, but there is hope yet for legal online sports betting in TN.

Where will I be able to place a sports bet in Tennessee when it does become legal?

The state plans on allowing sport betting on mobile devices and several brick and mortar locations throughout the state.

What sports can I bet on if sports betting becomes legal?

Most likely all professional and collegiate sports with a few exceptions, such as NCAA prop betting.

When will sports betting go live in Tennessee?

There is no direct timeline, but be sure to check back with RotoGrinders as this story develops.

What types of bets will I be able to make?

  • Moneyline
  • Spread
  • Over/Under
  • Prop bets (excluding NCAA)
  • Parlays

(Top Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

About the Author

  • Ryan Gutzler (rgutzler)

  • Ryan is a former two sport collegiate athlete who now relives the glory days through men’s leagues, coaching and of course, writing about sports. He is also a poker player, sports bettor and avid Sixers, Phillies, Flyers and Duke homer.