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Sports Betting in Tennessee

Hasan Nabulsi
Tennessee sportsbooks

Tennessee sports betting has been legal since May 2019. Buoyed by the efforts of Montana and Indiana, the Volunteer State raised its collective hands and offered itself as the next sports betting hub in the U.S.

How Can you Bet on Sports in Tennessee?

Tennessee sports betting is available online only. This means that you can make single-way and multi-way bets on desktops and mobile apps.

In-person registration is not required so as long as you are located within state lines and are using a licensed sports betting operator you will be able to put real-money down on a wide range of sporting events.

Best Online Sportsbooks In Tennessee

All of the current options could qualify as the best online sportsbooks in Tennessee depending on your specific taste. On November 1, 2020, a total of four sports betting sites in Tennessee launched and set the stage for the state’s marketplace. Since then, others have joined the market. The current active sportsbooks are: 

WynnBET has submitted applications to the Tennessee Education Lottery and is awaiting approval.

One of those companies might someday take the throne of the best online sportsbook in Tennessee. But for now, we’d say that title belongs to DraftKings.

Tennessee Sports Betting FAQ

What is the legal sports betting age in Tennessee?

To bet on sports at Tennessee’s best sportsbooks, you have to at least 21-years-old.

Are there any sportsbooks in Nashville, TN?

No, there are only online sportsbooks in Nashville, Tennessee the same as everywhere else in Tennessee. The closest casino sportsbook is at Tropicana Evansville which is located in Evansville, Indiana. That is a two and a half-hour drive north of Nashville.

Are there any sportsbooks in Memphis, TN?

No, there are no sportsbooks in Memphis, Tennessee. However, there is a sportsbook inside of Southland Racing and Gaming which is located in West Memphis, Arkansas. That venue is only a 20-minute drive west of Memphis.

What is the Tennessee sports betting tax rate?

As local sportsbooks generate revenue like other states, they’ll be subject to a tax rate of 20%. This is more than double the amount operators in states such as Indiana (9.5%) will have to pay.

Will I have to pay taxes on sports betting winnings?

Yes. The money you make from betting on sports online in Tennessee will need to be reported on your taxes the same way that casino winnings need to be reported.

Can I bet on sports online in Tennessee?

Yes. In fact, all legal Tennessee sportsbooks will be online as there are currently no provisions for land-based betting.

Can I Bet On College Sports In Tennessee?

Yes, but there are certain rules to keep in mind. Live betting on college games as well as prop bets on college players and teams will not be allowed. However, all other bets are on the table including betting on the Tennessee Volunteers.

Tennessee Sports Betting Timeline

How did Tennessee become a sports betting state? Well, after numerous debates, a bill labeled HB0001 was finally given the green light in May 2019. However, before the state was added to America’s sports betting timeline, it had to jump through a number of important hoops.

2018: The Federal Ban on Sports Betting is lifted

the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018. This decision opened the door to legal intrastate sports betting.

By June 2018, various states had either legalized or started the process of voting on sports betting regulation. At this time, Tennessee hadn’t joined the discussions.

Seeing the positive changes happening across the US, Tennessee politicians began formulating an effort to regulate sportsbooks within the state. These moves started in the final months of 2018 before SB16, the companion bill to HB0001, was formally introduced to the Senate in December.

2019: Governor Bill Lee Approves the new Sports Betting Bill

On January 8, 2019, the SB16 bill passed the First Consideration and started its journey through the legislative process.

Between March and April, the bill bounced back-and-forth between Senate subcommittees where it underwent a series of amendments. Eventually, by April 30, it took the place of it’s House Bill counterpart (HB1) and was put to a vote.

Bill Lee

At the start of May, the House voted 58-37 in favor of the bill before it passed through the Senate by a margin of 20-12. The bill was then sent to Governor Bill Lee’s desk.

Governor Lee long opposed the idea of sports betting in Tennessee but decided not to veto this piece of legislation. With both sides of the chamber approving the bill, sports betting in Tennessee became a reality.

2020: Tennessee Lottery Adjusts Payout Cap Rates to 90%

The year began with potential stakeholders and the general public upset with the first draft of rules that the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) proposed in January.

The main two rules that everyone opposed was the 85% payout cap and the fact that parlay bets would count ties as losses. The 85% payout cap means bettors would only receive 85% of their winnings if their bet panned out.

In February the TEL went back to the drawing board to try and come up with more concrete rules. After months of discussions, the rules were finalized in April with a supposed 90% payout cap. The rule was actually a minimum 10% hold requirement put on the sportsbooks which many assumed would make them cap their payouts. 

The TEL started accepting license applications that same month and finally approved the first four vendors in July 2020. However, it was until the beginning of November when the first online sportsbooks in Tennessee launched and began taking bets.

Now that Tennesse has joined an ever-growing list that includes Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, Tennessee sportsbooks now operate under a legal, if slightly restrictive, framework. Sports betting is legal but there are clauses that make the conditions less attractive for operators. As an example, casinos will have to buy official league data straight from professional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

For consumers and sportsbooks alike, the biggest rule to keep in mind is the one that mandates that sportsbooks have to average a 10% handle every year or they get fined. Sportsbooks in other states tend to keep less in handle on average so people are fearing the possibility of worse odds. 

However, even with these less favorable conditions in place, Tennessee bookmakers chose to launch in the state. Indeed, with the legislature voting in favor of the change in May 2019, local sports fans can now finally speculate on their favorite events in a safe and legal way.

2021: Lawmakers Try To Clean Up The New TN Sports Betting Market

In February of 2021, Tennessee Rep. Darren Jernigan filed a bill to clarify the rules regarding Tennessee sports betting.

TN SB 1029 is trying to eliminate sports betting operators from being able to give out loans and then accept them back in the form of sportsbook deposits. Action 24/7 is the only sportsbook that currently does this but it could be seen as loan sharking.

The bill has yet to pass through any committee, but there is still time for it to pass in the 2021 legislative session.

In the meantime, the Tennessee Education Lottery has suspended Action 24/7 from operating indefinitely due to their failure to prevent money laundering and credit card fraud through their site.