Legalized sports betting is making its way to Tennessee.
Unlike the other states with live wagering, however, the Volunteer State is taking a different route.
In May 2019, Gov. Bill Lee returned H 1 without a signature, which allowed the sports betting bill to become state law. As a result, Tennessee became the fourth state in 2019 to legalize wagering. Operations could in early 2020.
What sets Tennessee apart, though, is it emerged as the first state to institute an online-only law, as it does not feature any casinos. Additionally, Tennessee requires operators to use official league data via commercial agreements with sports leagues.
Here, we offer a comprehensive overview of online sports betting in Tennessee and what the public could expect.
As noted, the only way in which to wager will be on mobile devices and online. Any operator is free to apply for a TN sports betting license in the state and will potentially receive approval from the Tennessee Lottery, which will oversee the industry.
While we wait to see which sportsbooks will enter the Volunteer State, several big-name operators have shown their willingness to have a stake in multiple state industries:
Last updated: February 24, 2020
Following a meeting by the TN Sports Wagering Advisory Council, it appears residents will have to wait a bit longer before they are able to place bets in the Volunteer State.
A few rules, including winning payouts, are heading for re-writes. This means a delay in launching sports betting is inevitable. Experts anticipate sports betting might not arrive until late summer, or before the start of the 2020 college football season.
From the outset, sports betting operators in Tennessee will face an uphill financial climb.
Regulators require an annual payment of $750,000 for licensing, and the state will levy a 20% gross gaming revenue tax. On top of that, operators will need to purchase official data from leagues in order to accept in-game wagers.
Tennessee features a population of fewer than 7 million. Coupled with a lack of land-based casinos to drive up revenue more, the cost of operating in the state certainly appears burdensome.
Only those 21 years or older will be authorized to place wagers. The state also prohibits people from the following groups to participate:
Regulators allow for wagering on professional sports, including motorsports and esports, as well as on college sports and the Olympics or any athletic event sanctioned by a national or international organization.
That said, lawmakers elected to forbid wagering on any “individual actions, events, statistics, or non-occurrences” during a collegiate event. Rephrased: Tennessee does not allow college prop betting.
Before placing a wager or even making an online deposit, bettors in Tennessee must first create an account remotely via their preferred online sportsbook.
By law, customers are required to provide to operators:
Once the bettor creates an account, they can fund their online accounts in a variety of ways:
With three teams among the country’s four major professional leagues as well as several Division I colleges, Tennessee offers an array of potential sports betting options.
The state also features a smattering of minor league franchises, though it’s likely these will not account for a large percentage of the wagering action.
Below is a quick look at some of Tennessee’s main organizations and colleges:
Any variety of gambling in Tennessee has long been illegal. Those hoping to reverse that must go through referendum voting.
The state-approved two expansions before, once to create the lottery and another for limited pari-mutuel horse betting. Interestingly, Tennessee lawmakers avoided a referendum in 2016 to clear an avenue for daily fantasy sports legislation.
In April, the Tennessee House passed its version of a sports betting bill, followed a week later (with amendments) by the Senate’s approval.
Gov. Bill Lee remained opposed to legalization, and several other lawmakers appeared to stand in the same corner. Ultimately, concessions were made (such as the prohibition of college props) while other potential land mines were avoided (such as banning wagering on Sundays). After all this, the final bill did not hold many similarities to the original proposal.
In the end, following narrow passages through both chambers, the bill cleared the concurrence process by a mere two votes.
In late 2019, the Tennessee Lottery rolled out its regulations operators will need to follow. And with a committee formed around the same time, following months of delays, the state finally took a step forward toward first submitted applications. Those submissions should come soon after the lottery finalizes said rules in January 2020.
As a result, the first Tennessee sports betting apps could hit the market by spring 2020.
Indeed, but the industry has yet to kick into gear. After a committee approves operator licensing applications and testing, Tennessee sports betting can get into full swing with a wide array of wagering options. That is, except for in-play betting on collegiate events, which are prohibited by state law.
The Tennessee Lottery will oversee the industry, including a nine-member council that will advise the lottery board on best practices and technical assistance, among other duties.
Pick a spot anywhere (with cell service) within Tennessee’s borders. Geofencing will prevent you from wagering outside the state, even if you are a state resident.
Yes. In fact, it’s the only form of wagering available. Lawmakers chose not to allow retail sportsbooks.
For the moment, there is no set timetable on when wagering will begin. That said, the Tennessee Lottery is scheduled to meet in January 2020 to finalize regulations, after which applications can begin rolling in. It is expected that Tennessee sports betting apps will hit the market by spring 2020.
Any operator can apply for a sports betting license in Tennessee, which does not limit the number of permits it can issue.
Once the industry launches, you can create an account with your preferred online sportsbook. You must be at least 21 years old to register.