Last updated: November 1, 2020
Status: Online sports betting is now live in Tennessee as of 11/01/2020.
Tennessee was one of many states to act following the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that put sports gambling legislation in the hands of individual states. A bill was drafted and Tennessee became the fourth state, after Montana, Indiana, and Iowa, to pass a bill in 2019.
The bill included the USA’s only mandate dictating that sportsbook should buy official league data to settle bets that are related to in-play propositions. However, it did not offer any guidance on how much the operators should pay for this information aside from suggesting “commercially reasonable terms”. This creates a scenario where leagues could potentially name their own price for such data. This, along with a high licence fee of $750,000 and a tax rate of 20%, could deter some operators from entering the Tennessee market. However, major companies with established brand identities are likely to serve the region.
Historically, Tennessee has had some of the toughest and most restrictive gambling laws in the country. Legal betting is limited to horse racing, regional and state-wide lotteries, and some forms of charitable gaming. As a result, Tennessee residents looking to play casino games or poker often head south to neighbouring Mississippi.
Horse race betting is permitted in the state via licenced venues controlled by the Tennessee Liquor Control board. Off-track betting and interstate simulcast wagering are also allowed. With no horse racing tracks in the state, most horse race betting is carried out online.
With no commercial or tribal casinos in the state, gaming options were very limited until voters approved a state-wide lottery in 2002. By 2004, the lottery was up and running and players can now take part in over half a dozen lottery games and purchase hundreds of different scratch games at retail outlets across the state. However, enthusiasm for lottery games in Tennessee is low when compared with most states across the nation.
Charity raffles and similar games organised for fund-raising purposes are legal providing they are run by state-recognized groups. All proceeds from such game must go to the sponsored causes. However, such groups may not organise bingo, casino or poker events.
Yes it was legalized in 2019 and came live online in November 2020.
Any online operators will be able to enter the Tennessee market with all operations regulated by the state.
The bill sets an age limit of 21 or over for sports betting in Tennessee.
Sports betting is now legal and a number of sportsbooks are now operating in Tennessee including FanDuel and DraftKings.
BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings are currently live with online sports betting in Tennessee.
The sports betting bill that passed in the house allows provision for online sports betting in the state which would allow players to bet from any internet-enabled device. As a result, mobile betting through applications is available.
Market research firm Ellers & Krejcik has estimated the Tennessee sports betting market to be worth around $229 million per year, a relatively small number in comparison with other states. The state hopes to raise around $50 in tax revenue.
The bill initially set a tax rate of 10% but the lawmakers raised that number to 20%, making it one the higher tax rates of those already in place in other states.
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