In May 2019, Tennessee finally legalized sports betting. However, it came with a catch: retail sportsbooks would not be included because there are no land based Tennessee casinos. As a result, only online sports betting is legal within the state.
Many big sportsbook operators have jumped at the opportunity to provide sports betting for enthusiasts in this new market. Throughout the last year, operators have been applying for sports betting licenses issued by the Tennessee Lottery. At the time of writing, seven have been approved, though only four are known: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Tennessee Action 24/7.
The first three launched November 1, 2020, while the last may launch sometime in 2021 depending on their insurance situation. Regardless, this page will break down everything you need to know about sports betting in Tennessee.
Tennessee Sports Betting Apps
As of November 1, 2020, three sportsbooks have launched in Tennessee. All three well-known in the industry and offer excellent apps.
DraftKings is arguably the number one sports betting operator in the industry. Its app is one of the best in the business, offering fantastic market depth and variety. It has an excellent and intuitive mobile interface that runs smoothly most of the time. What’s more, it offers exclusive bonuses and special betting opportunities for mobile users.
The opening bonuses at DraftKings also have among the highest value: up to $1025 spread across a 20% deposit match bonus, a $500 risk-free bet, and $25 in site credit spread across five $5 bets.
DraftKings has a reputation for offering generous sports betting wagers and promotional opportunities, particularly for special game days and around the beginning of most major league seasons. In addition to having excellent market variety for most major league sports, DraftKings is also one of the few sports betting operators that provides eSports wagering opportunities. It even offers other niche sports like darts, motorsports, and MMA fighting.
Ultimately, sports betting enthusiasts would do well to check out this app.
FanDuel is another big sports betting operator and a direct competitor to DraftKings. While this app doesn’t have quite the level of market depth and variety that DraftKings brings to the table, the app manages a slick and smooth user interface that arguably puts the latter to shame.
Furthermore, FanDuel has its own special promotional opportunities and special betting pools that no one else provides. Odds are usually quite player-friendly and app users can enjoy in-play or live betting right from the mobile app’s interface.
FanDuel’s sports betting app is also a great choice thanks to the whopping $1000 risk-free bet opening bonus. This provides quite a significant cushion for new players to sports betting who may not know what separates a good wager from a risky one.
BetMGM is another major sportsbook operator that provides one of the best mobile apps in the industry, partially thanks to its smooth operation and excellent layout/navigation features. It isn’t quite as large as the other two operators mentioned so far, but it provides a good selection of sports betting markets and leagues. This includes some niche sports like rugby and international soccer.
Alongside these staple features are things like in-play betting and bonus promotional opportunities or special betting pools. The downside is that you can’t watch games using a live stream right from the mobile app, but this is ultimately a minor downside when one considers the overall value offered here.
Tennessee Action 24/7
Tennessee Action 24/7 is much less known compared to the other three operators. Indeed, it’s not known whether Action 24/7 will be able to launch on November 1 due to reported issues with the operator getting the required insurance for Tennessee sports wagering.
Supposedly, Action 24/7 has gotten its insurance issues taken care of and is scrambling to launch at the same time as the other big sports betting operators above. But it’s unlikely that the app will be fully ready by November 1. Regardless, the operator has been granted a provisional sports betting license and it will likely launch its mobile app sometime in 2021 at the latest.
Alongside Tennessee Action 24/7, three other sports betting operators have been awarded licenses by the Tennessee Lottery. These operators’ identities aren’t yet known, but BetRivers and other major operators are good assumptions.
Time will tell when these operators will reveal themselves and set a launch date for their own sports betting ventures. It may be that these operators are waiting for the market to play out a bit before dipping their toes in.
Perhaps this is because Tennessee’s sports betting legislation has stipulated that operators use official league odds instead of using alternative sources. Such a rule alters operator costs and may impact overall profitability and player engagement, but the overall effects have yet to be seen.
Guide To Betting Online In Tennessee
Due to Tennessee’s largely anti-gambling history, the Sports Gaming Act that legalized sports betting for online players comes with several stipulations and rules that distinguish the activity in this state as opposed to the others. At the same time, there are many similarities that sports betting enthusiasts who’ve already sampled operators from other states will recognize.
For starters, opening bonuses to be offered by the operators active in this state will probably be pretty similar to what you’d expect elsewhere.
Deposit Match Bonus
For example, BetMGM is set to offer a $250 deposit match bonus. Unlike some other opening deposit match bonuses, it will match the opening bonus up to 100%. In this way, you can deposit $250 and get another $250 of site credit for a total fund pool of $500.
Risk-Free Bet Bonus
Other providers, like FanDuel, will offer risk-free bets of up to $1000 or less. These risk-free bets apply to any wagers that new players lose and reimburse them with site credit. Note that this opening bonus, and the deposit match bonus, both require that players “play through” any winnings at least once before withdrawing future winnings. These rules are in place to prevent bonus abuse.
There are other opening bonuses available as well. For instance, DraftKings offers a $25 no deposit bonus spread across five $5 bets. These are great opening bonuses for players new to sports betting who want to try out a sports betting app before committing a lot of cash. This bonus, and others like it, usually need to be redeemed within seven days of creating an account.
Other sportsbook operators may come up with more unique opening bonuses to draw in new players. For example, FanDuel offers multi-bet parlay insurance, reimbursing players with up to $25 of site credit if they “lose” one leg of a traditional parlay wager.
Main Teams And Sports To Bet On In Tennessee
In Tennessee, football is thought to be king, and most players will undoubtedly dip their toes into sports wagering with this activity. The Tennessee Volunteers and Titans are likely to be fan favorites in this state, and players will be able to wager on both teams through deep betting markets depending on the operator they go with.
That’s partially because Tennessee sports betting will allow wagers on in-state NCAA teams, although in-play wagers for those same teams will also be forbidden. Still, this is generous compared to many other states, some of whom prevent in-state NCAA sports wagering in general.
Is Esports Betting Active In Tennessee?
Technically, no. But DraftKings’ sportsbook has historically offered eSports wagering opportunities in states that have allowed those markets. It’s highly likely that Tennessee residents will also be able to wager with eSports markets provided they sign up for a DraftKings account.
What Sportsbooks Will Soon Come To Tennessee?
As mentioned, there are still three sports betting licensees unaccounted for. These other operators have not yet revealed their identities. The reasons for this are unknown, but it does mean that other sportsbooks will still come to Tennessee sometime in the near future.
Due to the costs of purchasing and maintaining a sports betting license, it would be unprofitable for an operator to not launch sports betting in a state where they have such a license.
Legal Betting Versus Illegal Betting In Tennessee
It’s been a long time since Tennessee has made any progress toward legalizing gambling activities. But legal sports betting is finally here, and it’s a much better choice compared to relying on an offshore betting site or an illegal sportsbook.
The reason? Illegal betting sites are run by corporations or groups of individuals that are largely unregulated, especially by local organizations. This essentially means that illegal or offshore sportsbooks can easily take money from their users’ accounts without much consequence.
There’s nothing stopping illegal betting sites from mistreating their users or customers. There are no regulatory bodies or agencies who can come down on them if they make a mistake.
Also problematic is the fact that many offshore betting sites are not as digitally secure as their licensed and regulated counterparts. For instance, DraftKings and other licensed sportsbook operators have top-tier digital security and antivirus measures to keep their users’ data safe. With offshore or illegal sites, your personal data is much more vulnerable and can easily be leaked. This may open you up to identity theft or other digital threats.
All in all, legal sports betting is a much better choice through and through both for the safety of your cash and your personal information. Plus, legal sportsbooks usually have better odds and more potentially profitable wagering opportunities.
How Do I Know That Online Sportsbooks In Tennessee Are Fair?
Anyone looking to put money in an online sportsbook is well within their rights to question whether the sportsbook in question is a fair operation. There are multiple ways you can tell whether an online sportsbook is fair and worth your time and money.
Who Regulates Legal Online Sportsbooks In Tennessee?
For starters, it helps to know who’s in charge of regulation for sports betting in Tennessee. That organization is the Tennessee Education Lottery, which was first created in the early 2000s to oversee the beginning and later regulate the Tennessee state lottery. With the addition of online sports betting to Tennessee’s licensed and regulated gambling activities, the Lottery will also oversee all sportsbooks in the state.
This means the Lottery is every users’ first contact if there’s a discrepancy with their funds or if an operator refuses to allow you to withdraw your winnings fairly. This overseeing agency will ensure that sportsbooks are fair to their users and abide by state rules at all times.
Why Should I Trust Legal Online Sportsbooks?
Legal online sportsbooks can only offer sports betting if they apply for local licensure. This, in turn, involves the regulatory body in charge of sports betting (the Tennessee Lottery in this case) performing in-depth background checks on every license applicant.
We’ve already seen this in action with Tennessee. Sports betting operators applied for licenses as early as the latter half of 2019, shortly after sports betting was made legal. But it still took the Tennessee Lottery most of the following year to thoroughly check out the backgrounds of each major operator.
The Lottery did this even though the licensed operators in question are well known throughout the US! For instance, DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the most well-known sportsbook operators in the country. But they still had to get a background check and were duly verified by the Lottery before they were allowed to offer sports betting in Tennessee.
In short, you should trust legal online sportsbooks because they have been thoroughly vetted by the regulatory body that’s also in charge of keeping them honest in the future. Plus, big sportsbook operators have a long history of customer satisfaction and honest operation.
How Do I Get Paid If I Win?
With all of Tennessee’s sports betting operators, you’ll be provided a selection of different deposit and withdrawal methods for funding and taking money out of your account. However, the withdrawal methods vary from operator to operator.
For example, DraftKings provides three major withdrawal methods, including linked credit or debit card, ACH transfer, or electronic wallets such as PayPal. Meanwhile, FanDuel offers eChecks, PayPal, and other electronic wallets, credit or debit cards, and prepaid cards for withdrawing your winnings.
In any event, withdrawing your winnings is usually quick and easy. After receiving winnings in your mobile sportsbook account, you’ll be able to access your account and start the withdrawal process based on what withdrawal methods you have linked to your account. You can also link more withdrawal methods whenever you like.
After sending the withdrawal request, it will be processed by the sportsbook operator in question. In most cases, withdrawals take between one and two business days. After that point, you should see the money in your primary bank account or whatever withdrawal account you used.
Keep this in mind if you need cash fast. Since Tennessee doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar casinos that work in partnership with these online sportsbooks, you won’t be able to stop by the cash cage in person and take out your winnings instantly.
Generally speaking, there are usually fewer withdrawal methods available than deposit methods. Most sportsbook operators will provide between four and six deposit methods for funding your account but only between two and four for withdrawal.
Tennessee Sports Betting FAQ
Players can make a wide variety of sports bets. Here are just a few:
- Moneyline. These basic wagers are simple and essentially require a player to bet on which team will win a match and sometimes by how big of a score difference
- Parlays. Parlay or successive bets require players to wager on multiple victories or other conditions in a row. A player only wins the entire bet if they get every leg of the wager correct
- Futures. Players can wager on future game outcomes are other events, and these events can pertain to individual games or seasonal developments (like whether a team trades a certain player to another team)
- Props or proposition. A proposition wager involves betting on multiple events that take place within the same game or event. The events don’t have to affect a game’s outcome. Examples include touchdowns, home runs, or other scoring event
Some sportsbooks also offer unique wagers tied to certain in-game actions or promotional opportunities. For example, FanDuel often features “first touchdown” wagers at the start of the NFL professional season. Be sure to check out what every operator provides before making an account to take advantage of these unique betting opportunities
More bets than these may become available as sports betting develops within Tennessee. It all depends on what the operators come up with and decide to provide to their users.
Yes. Tennessee’s sports betting legislation will allow collegiate sports betting. This is a big boost to business considering that Tennessee is one of the most football-friendly states in the country. However, the same legislation also prevents live or in-play collegiate sports betting.
This means that, while players will be able to wager on college sports, they won’t be able to do so during a game. This does limit the wagering market for collegiate sports somewhat. However, it’s meant to prevent cheating or game alterations that benefit certain wagering markets.
Any Tennessee sportsbook operators must pay a 20% tax on all betting revenue. This is particularly high in comparison to the fees and taxes seen in other legal sports betting states. New Jersey, for example, only levies a 13% tax for mobile sports betting revenue.
Still, it could be a little worse. Pennsylvania is particularly harsh, levying a 36% tax for all mobile sports betting revenue and another $10 million fee per license.
Anyone. Tennessee’s Sports Gaming Act did not put a limit on the number of licenses. The requirements for online sports betting licensure include:
- An annual fee of $750,000
- A 20% tax rate for operators
- A mandatory 10% hold for all bets. This basically means that sportsbooks must have at least 10% of the revenue in actual money at the time of bet closing
- Furthermore, sports betting operators must agree to use official league data for odds making. This reportedly costs approximately 1% to 2% of each dollar of gross gaming revenue, which drives up the operating costs for sportsbooks even higher
DraftKings is one of the few sportsbook providers that offers eSports wagering in certain states. Whether or not it will offer eSports bets in Tennessee has yet to be revealed, but it’s quite likely.
Keep in mind, however, that eSports wagering is still a very unique and young betting market, which is the biggest reason why more sportsbooks don’t offer these bets. Even if DraftKings does offer eSports wagering, it’s likely that the betting pools will be relatively shallow and limited.
Yes. DraftKings launched in Tennessee on November 1, 2020.
Yes. FanDuel also launched in Tennessee on November 1, 2020.