Welcome to TNBetting.com, your guide to legal online betting in Tennessee.
TNBetting.com is dedicated to covering the legal Tennessee sports betting, horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports industries.
Our key duties include listing legal online sportsbooks, explaining state gaming laws and sharing important updates on the state of gaming in Tennessee. If it’s legal in Tennessee, we explain how it works in simple terms and share where to play legally.
Mobile Sports Betting in Tennessee
Legal Tennessee sports betting is now live.
Legislation passed in 2019 and regulations approved in 2020 cleared the way for the first mobile Tennessee sportsbooks and betting sites to launch on November 1st, 2020.
Four online sportsbooks launched for Tennessee bettors in November 2020 for customers 21 and older. The Tennessee Education Lottery oversees sports betting licenses, ensures compliance with state laws, and generally works to ensure sportsbooks operate in good faith.
Licensed TN sportsbooks:
- Tennessee Action 24/7 (license suspended and then temporarily reinstated via court order in March 2021 – ongoing questions regarding internal controls)
- William Hill
- TwinSpires Sports (licensed but launch pending)
- WynnBET (licensed but launch pending)
Other operators likely to enter the market:
- FOX Bet
TNBetting.com is following developments closely and will provide timely updates here. We launched shortly after the passage of the law with a simple mission: to serve as the roadmap to legal sports betting in Tennessee.
How Tennessee Sports Betting Works
- Minimum sports betting age: 21
- Where to bet: Online via licensed betting websites and mobile apps
- Sportsbooks may offer wagers on: Professional and college sports, esports and Olympic Games
- Sports betting regulatory body: Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TEL)
- Location requirements: Customers must be located within state lines to place wagers
- Residency requirements: Customers do not need to be TN residents; they must only be located on Tennessee soil when placing wagers
Tennessee passed legislation in 2019 legalizing and regulating online sports betting. Under state law, customers 21 and older may bet online with licensed providers from anywhere within state lines.
Lawmakers authorized online and mobile betting exclusively because the state lacks an established brick-and-mortar casino industry. Whereas most other states authorize sportsbooks at casinos and other physical locations, Tennessee sports betting is limited purely to the internet via licensed betting websites and mobile sportsbooks.
Currently, there are no plans to authorize retail sportsbooks for in-person betting.
State law does not put a cap on the number of operators that may apply to offer sports betting in Tennessee, but the 20% tax rate and annual $750,000 licensing fee may dissuade some operators from applying for licenses.
Tennessee Sports Betting Law
The Tennessee Sports Gaming Act (full text) serves as the framework for legal sports betting across the state.
Lawmakers passed the Act in 2019 despite Tennessee traditionally not being a very gambling-friendly state and Governor Bill Lee opposing any expansion of gambling. However, support for legal sports betting among the General Assembly was strong enough that Governor Lee declined to veto to the bill and opted instead to let it pass into law without his signature.
In a statement explaining his rationale for allowing the bill to pass into law, Governor Lee explained that he would not oppose the bill in the interest of compromise. The bill officially became law on 4 June 2019.
How Tennessee Regulates Sports Betting
Tennessee takes a unique approach to sports betting in that it authorizes online and mobile sportsbooks only.
While most states require online betting operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel to partner with local brick-and-mortar casinos, Tennessee law allows operators to apply for licenses on their own merit.
The lack of an existing casino industry prompted lawmakers to place the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TEL) in charge of overseeing sports betting. Among its duties are issuing licenses, adopting regulations and monitoring the conduct of licensees.
The TEL approved regulations to implement sports betting in April 2020 and set the stage for a November 2020 launch.
Key TN Sports Betting Rules
The Tennessee Sports Gaming Act and regulations adopted by the TEL authorize mobile sports betting and implement the basic ground rules for operators and customers.
Key TN sports betting rules include:
- Customers must be 21 or older and located within state lines to bet online in TN
- Pre-game and in-game wagering permitted
- $750,000 licensing fee
- 20% tax on sports betting revenue
- College betting is allowed but in-game proposition bets on individual athletes or teams are prohibited
- Licensed mobile sportsbooks must purchase official data from the sports leagues in order to settle in-game wagers as long as such data is provided on “commercially reasonable terms”
- Mobile sportsbooks must verify the age, identity and physical location of every customer
- Licensees must implement responsible gambling plans that include, among other things, giving customers the ability to set limits on deposits, time spent betting, loss limits, cool-off periods and self-exclusion
- Mobile sportsbooks may accept deposits via debit card, electronic bank transfer, mobile payment systems that support online money transfers and “any other means approved by the TEL”
- Sportsbook operators are required to maintain a 10% hold on all wagering activity
The Questionable 90% Rule
Most aspects of Tennessee sports betting law are conducive to a healthy and competitive industry with one major exception found in the regulations adopted by the TEL.
§ 15.1.9 of the TN sports betting regulations states:
“The aggregate annual payout of each Licensee shall not exceed 90%.”
This one line significantly disrupts what is otherwise a fairly reasonable sports betting landscape for Tennessee bettors by mandating a 10% hold. This means that for every $100 a sportsbook takes in wagers, it may pay back no more than $90 as winnings to customers on average.
By comparison, the Nevada sports betting industry has averaged an annual hold of about 5-6% over the last 20 years, according to figures from UNLV.
This unnatural mandate forces sportsbooks to provide worse odds to their customers rather than allowing the market to determine how much is returned to players. Consider that the average line for a roughly even money event in Nevada is about -110 on both sides, Tennessee bettors will be looking at lines closer to -120 or even worse just so sportsbooks can meet their mandated minimum 10% holds.
Additionally, sportsbook operators are likely to push their holds above 10% because sports betting can be an unpredictable business. Operators cannot control the hold on any single event, such as when heavily bet favorites come through for the win to give sportsbooks a loss. Operators are likely to push their average holds above 10% just to give themselves some margin of error.
This single rule has an outsized negative impact on what is otherwise a reasonable regulatory environment – and make it unnecessarily difficult for licensed TN sportsbooks to channel potential customers away from unlicensed offshore betting sites.
Filing Disputes with Operators
Tennessee sports betting regulations provide a formal process for resolving disputes between customers and sportsbooks. Under TN Rules and Regulations 15.2.9, customers may file formal complaints with operators involving the amount of a wager, promotions, application of house rules, technology functions, transactions, or any other matter “important to the player.”
Under the rule, customers must first file complaints with operators and can receive assistance from the operator for correctly formatting the dispute. If a patron is not satisfied with an operator’s response to a complaint, the customer may file a formal complaint with the Tennessee Education Lottery here.
Online Horse Racing Betting in Tennessee
State law does not specifically address the legality of advance deposit wagering (online horse racing betting), but most of the country’s major racing betting sites are open to Tennessee residents.
The following horse racing betting sites hold licenses in at least one US state and are largely trusted as the industry’s most reputable providers. All work closely with racetracks in the US and abroad to accept wagers online that are comingled with each track’s betting pools, thereby ensuring customers are paid at full track odds.
Tennessee had laws on the books at one point authorizing parimutuel wagering at racetracks, but that law was repealed in 2015 and now it is unclear where advance deposit wagering stands. However, the site listed above have bases of operation in the US and the state has declined to take action against them to date.
State lawmakers have considered legislation to formally authorize parimutuel horse racing betting once again, but nothing has come of those efforts to date. In the meantime, customers in Tennessee can easily bet on races held elsewhere through the betting sites listed on this page.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Tennessee
Tennessee formally legalized fantasy sports in 2016 with the passage of the Fantasy Sports Act of 2016 (full text). Under the law, DFS operators must apply for licensees from Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming under the Secretary of State.
Additional regulations adopted by the Secretary of State lay out the guidelines by which fantasy sites must operate and how licenses are issued.
The largest fantasy sites currently active in Tennessee include:
- Yahoo Fantasy
A full list of licensed DFS operators can be seen here.
Key Fantasy Sports Regulations
Between the Fantasy Sports Act of 2016 and additional rules implemented by the Secretary of State, Tennessee fantasy sites operate under a well-regulated environment.
Licenses and Fees:
- All DFS operators must apply for licenses from the secretary of state
- Initial and renewal licensing fees range from $1,000 to $75,000 based on total annual adjusted revenue generated from TN customers
Consumer Protection Regulations:
- Customers must be 18 or older to participate in DFS contests
- An individual player may deposit no more than $2,500 per month unless the player provides sufficient proof that the player has an annual income of more than $150,000 or a financial net worth greater than $500,000
- Fantasy operators must segregate players’ funds from operating funds
- DFS sites must verify each customer’s identity and location
- Fantasy sites must provide beginners-only contests
- Fantasy sites must conspicuously identify “highly experienced players” and prevent them from participating in beginners-only contests
- “Highly experienced players” are defined as customers who have entered more than 500 contests or who have won more than five contests with total winnings of at least $2,500
- Customers must be given the option to self-exclude from participating in DFS contests
- Players with insider information or the ability to impact the outcomes of games (athletes, league officials, employees of sports teams, etc.) must be prevented from participating in DFS contests