When Will Tennessee Launch Online Sports Betting?
As of November 2020, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action 247 have launched their Tennessee online sports betting apps. Four more online sportsbooks will be introduced to the market in 2021.
Currently, online is the only sports betting format available because there are no Tennessee casinos. As such, there aren’t any legal brick-and-mortar casinos in which sportsbooks can operate.
Still, the Sports Gaming Act represents a big transformation in the Tennessee state government’s attitude toward gambling activities. Historically, Tennessee law has been pretty anti-gambling. Daily fantasy sports is legal, but only because it doesn’t qualify as an online gambling activity according to Tennessee lawmakers.
Overall, the future for mobile sports betting is bright in Tennessee. It may also be a sign that other forms of online gambling will become legal over the next few years.
Tennessee Online Sports Betting Apps
As mentioned, there are seven operators who will eventually come to offer sports betting in Tennessee. But these three are set to launch as early as November 1, 2020. There are multiple reasons why a sports bettor might consider trying out these apps.
DraftKings is arguably the most well-known daily fantasy sports and sports betting operator in the industry. It has one of the best mobile apps in the business, plus incredible market depth and variety, making the app a fantastic pick for longtime sports bettors.
DraftKings’ mobile sports betting app comes with an intuitive user interface and an industry leading bonus package. New users receive up to $1,025 in total value spread across deposit match and risk-free bets, plus $25 of automatic site credit. In-play betting, unique betting pools specific to the mobile app, and excellent customer service mark this app as one of the top sports betting choices in every state, not just Tennessee.
Right behind DraftKings is FanDuel, another landmark sportsbook operator that also offers an excellent opening bonus. New users receive a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 upon creating a new account. While market depth and variety aren’t quite as varied, there’s still plenty to like here, including fantastic markets and odds for professional and collegiate US sports. Additional international sports betting opportunities are also available.
FanDuel’s mobile app is one of the best, featuring a smooth and slick user interface with a font and style specifically developed to accommodate the small screens inherent with mobile devices. Most players find FanDuel’s offerings exceptional. Between DraftKings and FanDuel, players will have more than enough sports betting action to keep themselves busy.
But don’t discount BetMGM. This additional sportsbook operator comes with a complex and robust mobile app that provides tons of high-quality information and betting analytics charts for players to enjoy. In addition, BetMGM comes with several unique bets, odds boosting bonuses, and a decent opening bonus to attract new players.
All in all, each of these sportsbook operators provides worthwhile value to Tennessee sports betting enthusiasts. There’s a lot to like between all three. Sports betting fanatics will likely want to try each mobile operator out before settling on their favorite.
Timeline Of Important Dates For Tennessee’s Gambling History
- November 5, 2002. The Tennessee Amendment 1, also known as the Lottery for Education Amendment, passes with nearly 58% of the vote. This authorizes the formation of a state lottery
- June 2003. The Tennessee legislature creates the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (which would go on to regulate both lottery and online sports betting activities)
- January 20, 2004. The state sells its first lottery tickets for four games. Ticket sales reach $10.8 million on the first day
- April 2016. The Tennessee state legislator passes the Tennessee Fantasy Sports Act of 2016. This authorizes daily fantasy sports within the state
- May 24, 2019. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, which authorizes online sports betting and the awarding of seven sports betting licenses to operators
- November 1, 2020. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM launch their mobile sportsbook apps in Tennessee
The History Of Legal Gambling In Tennessee
Tennessee has never been very gambling-friendly. However, things began to change in November 2002 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed an amendment to the state constitution establishing a statewide lottery.
The launch of the Tennessee lottery spawned the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, which is now also the regulating agency for online sports betting within the state. Over the years, the Tennessee Lottery has continued to evolve.
More recently, 2016 saw the launch of the Tennessee Fantasy Sports Act, which legalized daily fantasy sports throughout the state. All operators had to do, according to the Act, was get a license with Tennessee’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming to begin offering DFS.
Finally, in 2019, Tennessee passed the Sports Gaming Act, which fully legalized online sports betting and authorized the state government to hand out seven provisional sports betting licenses. Four of those license applicants and recipients are known: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Tennessee Action 24/7.
November 1, 2020 was set as the official launch date of the first three major mobile sportsbook operators above. The other four sportsbook operators are more likely to launch sometime in 2021.
Even though sports betting is now legal in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee was also quick to point out that he was hesitant to sign the legislation. He reportedly only did so because he recognized the bill would get passed one way or another. He did say that he was resolute about preventing the spread of more gambling activities throughout Tennessee.
This being said, Bill Lee will not be the governor forever. Furthermore, the increased tax revenue that the state government is likely to enjoy may shift the proverbial winds and make future gambling legalization legislation more likely later than it is now.
Tennessee Gambling FAQ
Tennessee’s sports gambling legislation set the state’s legal gambling age to 21. Players will need to verify their age using a driver’s license or another form of legal ID.
This is distinct from the age of entrance for the lottery, which is only 18. But that’s partially because the state’s government clearly sees sports betting is a more serious type of gambling in comparison to the lottery.
Online sports betting is legal in Tennessee, but other forms of online gambling are not.
The only other type of gambling allowed in the state – the lottery – cannot be played online and must be participated in through a licensed retail location.
It’s possible that Tennessee’s gambling restrictions will relax even further over the next decade as sports betting takes off and the government becomes used to the increased tax revenue it will enjoy as a result.
Yes. Tennessee’s Sports Gaming Act was explicit in only allowing online sports betting rather than brick-and-mortar or retail sports betting. Sports betting enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this activity through licensed and regulated online sportsbook operators.
The big four known so far are DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Tennessee Action 24/7. However, another three operators have received licenses and have not yet announced their identities.
Yes. Tennessee’s lottery first began in 2002, breaking the state’s historical outlawing of all gambling activities. It was first offered only at retail locations, like certain gas stations and other stores. However, the launch of the Tennessee Lottery app a few years later has allowed players to somewhat participate from afar even if they still have to buy a ticket at an in-person kiosk or seller.
The Tennessee lottery, with the exception of Powerball competitions, uses a random number generator instead of ball drawings as of 2007. Tennessee’s lottery participates in the Powerball that, of course, still uses ball drawings.
Furthermore, Tennessee’s lottery offers an in-state jackpot game called Tennessee Cash as of October 2010. Keep in mind that players must be 18 or older to purchase Tennessee lottery tickets.
No. The Tennessee lottery does have an active app, but this only allows you to store lucky numbers, view the results of the lottery, and other ancillary activities rather than buy or redeem tickets remotely.
Lottery players must still visit kiosks or licensed retail lottery locations to purchase tickets.
Yes. Tennessee’s Lottery is the organization in charge of regulating both the state lottery and sports betting. The organization’s team has been hard at work performing criminal background checks and double-checking every operator that sent in an application for sports betting.
All of the licensed and regulated sportsbooks currently set to launch this November are safe and secure. They use top-of-the-line digital security systems and processes to protect their players’ sensitive information. But the Lottery also performs its own, independent investigations to make sure that each operator is honest and that there aren’t any discrepancies when it comes to winnings or withdrawals.
Yes. Tennessee’s tax code stipulates that all earnings from gambling activities, such as from playing the lottery or from wagering or a sportsbook, be counted as regular income. This means you must report any winnings you get from either activity and pay taxes on that income at the end of each tax year.
No. As of this time, casinos are not legal in Tennessee in any fashion. This reluctance to allow for brick-and-mortar or retail casinos has even extended to the state’s sports betting legislation. The Sports Gaming Act doesn’t allow in-person sports betting since there won’t be any casinos for the sportsbooks to set up shop in anyway.
Instead, any players looking to enjoy casino games in Tennessee will need to rely on social gaming sites like Chumba Casino or LuckyLand Slots, both of which offer slots and other casino games without allowing players to wager with real money.
Absolutely. If a casino or mobile sportsbook offers a loyalty program, it makes sense to join if you use that sportsbook more than any others.
That’s because most VIP or loyalty sportsbook programs reward players for placing more wagers or spending more time on the app. These rewards usually come in the form of digital points that can be accumulated over time and redeemed for certain prizes. Sometimes the prizes are physical, but most of the time they take the form of site credit to give players “free wagers” or something similar.
There’s no reason not to sign up for a sportsbook’s loyalty program if you’re a fan. It’s a great way to get free stuff just for enjoying your favorite sports betting app.
Tennessee doesn’t have any casinos at this time. However, many of the sportsbook operators are owned by either themselves or a parent company. For instance, BetRivers – a theorized recipient of one of the three mystery sports betting licenses – is owned by Rush Street Interactive. Meanwhile, DraftKings and FanDuel own themselves rather than being owned by another corporation.
This is ultimately a good thing for Tennessee sports betting enthusiasts. It means that they won’t have to complete registration in person at a retail casino, which is a requirement in some other states.