For many years, licensed gambling was all but nonexistent in Tennessee. The state has no casinos, poker rooms or racetracks to this day, not even tribal operations.
However, the recent about-face in the wider American outlook on gambling has opened the door for some significant changes. The biggest of those came in May 2019, when the Volunteer State legalised sports betting on mobile devices.
Although most other forms of gambling remain illegal in Tennessee, there are plenty of safe options for online casino games and real money poker when you look to licensed offshore operators.
MORE INFO: USA GAMBLING GUIDE
Sports betting in Tennessee
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Sports betting was outlawed in all but a few US states until May 2018, when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (PASPA). That landmark ruling lifted the nationwide ban and paved the way for states to draft their own sports betting laws.
In May 2019, just over a year after PASPA was overturned, the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act was ratified. The bill was a first for the USA because it legalise sports betting at online bookmakers while maintaining the prohibition of brick-and-mortar gambling operations.
As of July 1, 2019, Tennessee residents can bet online with any sports wagering operator that is licensed by the state regulatory body.
Online sportsbooks for Tennessee
Best Tennessee sportsbooks
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The legalisation of sports betting in Tennessee means local punters will have plenty of state-approved online betting operators to choose from. Until they are up and running, however, there are several overseas sportsbooks that accept US gamblers:
- BetOnline.ag – This very popular sportsbook is a great one, as they offer their players many things and have all the things a good book should have and more. They offer tons of bets and sports to bet on and on top of their solid sportsbook they also have a poker room and a casino, which has Live Dealer games.
- Sportsbetting.ag – This sportsbook is much like BetOnline.ag, which is no surprise considering they are their parent company. They are a great book in terms of all they offer to players and they have some very attractive bonuses and promotions. Sportsbetting.ag has many bets types including two of the more popular ones these days in mobile betting and Live Betting.
- Xbet.ag – This attractive and sleek sportsbook has a lot of sports betting information and it is very easy to navigate. I mentioned the things all good sportsbooks should have and they have all of those bases covered and then some.
Betting on horse racing in Tennessee
Horse racing is illegal in Tennessee and there are no tracks to make wagers in the state.
However, there are many solid racebooks online that offer many races from tracks all over the world, especially at the bigger ones in the United States.
The online racebooks have many bet types available and a very wide variety of stakes.
For the bigger races, such as the Kentucky Derby, the racebooks will offer more betting types, especially proposition bets, as well as various bonuses and promotions.
Just like with any other type of betting website it is advantageous that you do a little research before opening a real-money account at an online racebook.
Online poker in Tennessee
There are no poker rooms in Tennessee and the game is illegal in the state.
Online poker is the only way for state residents to play the game and there is no lack of good poker rooms online today.
They offer many variations of the popular game and a wide variety of stakes, so high rollers and low stakes players alike can find the game they are looking for in the stakes they want to play.
There is also no lack of poker tournaments and in some of the more popular online poker rooms if you win their tournaments they will award you with an entrance at a land-based poker tournament.
Again, it is a good idea to do a little research to find the best online poker room for your wagering needs.
Tennessee gambling laws
Tennessee has very strict laws when it comes to gambling.
In 39-17-501 of the Tennessee Code, gambling is defined as “risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or any games of chance associated with casinos”.
Illegal gambling in the state it is a Class C misdemeanour where you can be fined only up to $50, but for unlicensed bookmaking it is a Class E felony where you can be fined up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to six years.
Most forms of gambling were outlawed until the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act passed into law in 2019.