Tennessee is an online-only sports betting state. Its apps include offerings from sports betting titans like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel as well as Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBet, TwinSpires, and a local app. Sports betting is both legal and regulated in TN, and despite a few hiccups in its first year, the state retains a healthy market.
Tennessee’s appearance in the ranks of sports betting states is one of the more pleasant surprises of the post-PASPA era. The Volunteer State has no casinos and historically demonstrated itself to be unfriendly to gambling expansion. Yet Rep. Rick Staples unveiled the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act as the first proposed bill in the 2019 Tennessee legislative session. The act eventually became law in April 2019.
That legalization is what precipitated the debut of four online sportsbooks in Tennessee in November 2020. Here’s more information on what’s happening now in TN sports betting.
Tennessee online sports betting live for 2021
Tennessee sports betting apps are now live. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Action 24/7, and Caesars have all been approved to operate in the state along with TwinSpires and WynnBet.
Legal Tennessee online sports betting
Sports betting launched in Tennessee in the fall of 2020. The law allows for betting online and on mobile apps. There are currently no plans for physical sportsbook locations, as the law is designed to regulate only the online sports betting market.
The Tennessee state legislature approved a sports betting bill in April 2019. Gov. Bill Lee hinted that he would allow it to become law without his signature and that is exactly what happened. That triggered the countdown for legal sports wagering to begin in the state.
Tennessee is now one of the few Southern states with legal sports betting and the only one with online wagering. Mississippi and Arkansas have active legal sportsbooks, but neither state allows online sports betting statewide.
Best Tennessee sportsbook apps
The only way to bet on sports in Tennessee is via mobile apps and online wagering. Retail betting is illegal in the state.
Currently, here are the sportsbooks that are live:
- DraftKings Sportsbook Tennesse
- FanDuel Sportsbook Tennessee
- BetMGM Sportsbook Tennessee
- Caesars Sportsbook Tennessee
- WynnBet Sportsbook Tennessee
- Action 24/7, a locally based sportsbook
Others will likely launch in the near future. Anyone can apply to operate a TN sportsbook app, but all companies need to be approved by the state lottery. Most major operators expect to open sportsbooks in Tennessee despite one of the higher tax rates in the nation at 20% and a requirement to hold at least 10% of all wagers.
Here’s more on some of the apps you can bet on today:
A local startup, Action 24/7 is hoping to compete with the heavy hitters because of its focus on Tennessee. Whether it can compete with the much larger sportsbooks remains to be seen, but they hope they will do well by having the pulse of what Tennessee bettors want. It has already run into trouble and was recently suspended after an investigation by the Tennessee lottery before coming back online.
The sportsbook app from MGM Resorts International was another of the first apps to go live in Tennessee. Known best for its iconic Las Vegas casino reports, MGM has gotten more serious about its online gambling offerings across the US.
If you’re in Tennessee, you can get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet when you sign up and make a first deposit.
DraftKings rose to prominence as one of the “big two” in daily fantasy sports, and it leveraged that position into becoming one of the top destinations for bettors in states with legal betting. It was one of the first sportsbooks to launch in Tennessee.
Tennessee bettors can get $50 and up to a thousand dollars in a first deposit bonus.
The nationwide leader for US sports betting, FanDuel also used its success in daily fantasy sports to become successful as an online sportsbook. There are more bets placed at FanDuel across the country than with any other app. FanDuel was also part of the initial wave of TN online sportsbooks.
FanDuel offers Tennessee sports bettors a risk-free bet of up to $1,000, depending on the size of an initial deposit.
Churchill Downs recently switched its BetAmerica brand to TwinSpires, and the rollout is in process across the country. However, Tennessee said hello to TwinSpires in March 2021, a few months after the official launch date. To be fair, the TwinSpires name may not ring a bell with many Tennesseans.
Caesars Sportsbook launched its online sports betting app in Tennessee in August 2021. The new site comes equipped with years of experience thanks to a merger with the venerable sportsbook brand William Hill. The Caesars app is one of several big-name brands to come to West Virginia.
Caesars Sportsbook offers new users an up to $5,000 risk-free bet.
WynnBet is the online gaming arm of Wynn Resorts, which owns several casinos in Las Vegas and around the world. It launched in Tennessee in April 2021, making it seven operators in the state. It is already active in several states including Michigan and New Jersey.
The app offers new users a $500 risk-free bet.
Latest TN sports betting news
TN sportsbooks at casinos
There are no casinos in Tennessee, so there will be no retail sportsbooks located at Tennessee casinos.
Tennessee is one of only a few states without any kind of gambling facility. There are not even tribal casinos in the state.
State law only allowed for online sports betting, so for now there are no physical sportsbooks you can visit in the state.
How to start betting in Tennessee
Tennessee does not have a long history of legal gambling, so it could be a new experience for many bettors. Getting started with one of Tennessee’s sportsbooks is fairly straightforward. Here are the basic steps:
- Download an app (or apps): Choose one of the sportsbook options and proceed to the download page. Downloading a sportsbook app is more or less the same procedure as any other app. Apple users will find no difference, in fact. Android users will have to set their phones to accept downloads from unknown sources, but a visit to the sportsbook’s site will prompt for the file download automatically.
- Register for an account: Once the app is loaded onto your device, look for the registration button in the top right corner of the display. Clicking it will take you to the screen where you fill out your personal information and create your account. You will need to provide your name, email address, home address, phone number, date of birth, and at least a portion of your Social Security number so that the sportsbook can verify your identity.
- Deposit: After you complete the registration process, you will need to visit the deposit section to fund your account. Either the app will take you there directly after you register, or you will have to look for the deposit button in the top right corner of the lobby
- Find your bets: You can locate the wagers you want to make in a variety of ways. The sportsbook’s featured games will be in the middle section of the lobby.
- Place your bets Placing a bet is as simple as pushing on the button for the wager you want. When you do, the sportsbook will auto-populate your betslip with the details of the bet. You can either complete your wager or add more items to it. Parlays, teasers, and other combination bets are available on the betslip itself.
After that, the sportsbook will do the rest as far as monitoring the wager and paying you when/if it wins.
Tennessee sportsbooks offer a variety of live betting, or in-game wagering, options, which involves betting on games that are already in progress.
You can place these wagers at any point during the game. In-game wagers change, as well as come and go, as a game proceeds.
Tennessee law does prohibit live betting on college games.
Banking options at Tennessee sportsbooks
For the most part, every sportsbook should have ways to deposit or withdraw money that fit your financial situation and preferences.
Some of the options that you might encounter include:
- Credit or debit cards: Visa and Mastercard are most common, but some might allow American Express or Discover.
- Electronic checks: Usually processed by ACH or VIP Preferred, these function almost identically to their paper cousins, only without the paper
- Electronic wallets: Third-party sites that serve as online waystations for your money, like PayPal.
- Online banking: Online bill pay works for many sportsbooks, too.
- Wire transfer/Money order: These methods for money transfers are offered by many sportsbooks.
- Prepaid cards: These are cards that you preload with a set amount of money. They are often the fastest way to receive a withdrawal.
- PayNearMe: If you want to use cash, this option is for you. You begin a transaction and generate a custom barcode, then proceed to selected retail stores. In Tennessee, your best options are CVS pharmacies or Family Dollar stores.
If you have trouble finding a viable option for banking, customer service for a sportsbook should be able to help.
Information on sportsbook bonuses in Tennessee
One aspect of online sportsbooks that separates them from retail operations is the presence of bonuses. The threat of competition a button click away means that online operators have to take extra steps to attract and retain customers.
However, there are a couple of things to know about sportsbook bonuses before you claim one. The first thing is that you will likely have to playthrough your bonus money at least once before you can withdraw it. This requirement, known as the playthrough or wagering requirement, can mandate that you put the bonus amount at risk multiple times, in fact. So, check the terms and conditions for this information before you select a bonus.
You should also look at the time limit associated with redeeming the bonus and satisfying the playthrough requirement. In some cases, realizing the value of the bonus might be more trouble to your personal life than it is worth, so you’ll need to weigh the reality of achieving the bonus against your own schedule and capabilities.
Common types of sportsbook bonuses include:
- No deposit: Site credits or free bets that require no deposit from you. These are usually given as compensation for registering
- Deposit: The sportsbook matches all or a portion of your deposit amount. Deposit bonuses are the most common type of bonus to come with a sizable playthrough requirement and/or short timeframe to redeem. Reload bonuses function the same way as these.
- Odds boost – The sportsbook selects various wagers each day and increases the payout ratio on them. The increase is rarely dramatic and is usually more of a sweetener, but it can make a bet option more appealing.
- Loyalty program – The programs are free to enter and award points to players based upon the amount of dollars that they wager. Points are good for both status ratings and non-cash purchases onsite. Higher tiers of each program come with increased perks, discounts, and benefits on the app.
Most popular sports to bet on in Tennessee
Though everyone has different sports that they follow, some games clearly emerge as favorites in Tennessee. Two sports that are particularly of interest to residents in the Volunteer State.
The first, unsurprisingly, is football. Football is the most popular sport for Tennesseans by a fairly wide margin, and between the lone NFL team and numerous collegiate teams (including two in the SEC), there are several options that Tennessee residents have for betting on the gridiron.
The second-most popular sport in Tennessee is basketball. Hoops is a big deal in the Volunteer State thanks to its NBA team and big-time college basketball powers.
Pro sports teams to bet on in Tennessee
Major professional sports leagues and NCAA college athletics likely will account for the bulk of Tennessee sports betting revenue.
Here’s what betting on those leagues will look like:
NFL betting in Tennessee
As is the case throughout the United States, NFL betting likely will take the top spot among all professional sports. College football enjoys a strong following in Tennessee as well, but pro football reigns in most of the country.
The NFL’s Tennessee Titans certainly will attract their share of handle in their home state. The Titans enjoyed an unexpected and thrilling run to the AFC Championship game in the 2019 season, and should remain competitive in the AFC South division.
NBA betting in Tennessee
Betting on the NBA continues to gain popularity steadily in many areas of the country. Traditional pregame markets are enhanced by one of the more robust in-play betting selections of any major sports.
In Tennessee, expect the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies to be a popular wagering option.
NHL betting in Tennessee
Hockey betting in Tennessee? Absolutely. The NHL arrived more than a decade ago and proved to be immensely popular among a non-traditional fan base.
The Nashville Predators of the NHL are former Western Conference champions. The Predators enjoy one of the loudest and most raucous home crowds in the league in “NashVegas.”
MLS betting in Tennessee
The highest level in US professional soccer only recently arrived in the Volunteer State. While Tennessee previously had minor-league soccer with the USL, Major League Soccer started an expansion franchise — Nashville SC — in 2020.
The team had just launched its inaugural season prior to sports shutdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nashville SC plays its home games at Nissan Stadium but is slated to move into a soccer-only stadium in 2022.
Tennessee sports betting law
The TN sports betting law created the lone online-only model in the United States to date. That means wagering will take place exclusively via the Internet.
Here are some of the other details of the Tennessee sports betting law:
- Licensees pay $750,000 annually
- Gross gaming revenue is taxed at a rate of 20%
- Operators must purchase official league data from professional sports leagues in order to take in-game bets.
Tennessee regulators crafted rules and regulations about how sports wagering in the state will take place. They chose a strange minimum hold provision not used anywhere else in the United States.
The controversial provision creates a required 10% hold on all wagers received pushback from industry professionals. Bettors likely will see worse pricing and fewer sportsbooks in Tennessee as a result of the decision.
Tennessee sports betting revenue
Tennesee is an intriguing market for sports betting. It features an online-only model and it is surrounded almost entirely by states that do not allow statewide betting apps. It’s also a sports-crazy state with a number of pro and college teams, and the fans that come with them.
It all sets up the potential for a robust market that exceeds expectations based on population alone.
The promise of online sports betting in Tennessee was borne out in the numbers from the first week of operation in November of 2020: $27 million in wagers.
More on Tennessee sports betting revenue here.
TN sports betting history
How did sports betting come to the Volunteer State? Take a look at the timeline leading to where we are today:
2020: Prepping for launch
The state began its regulatory ramp-up toward launching legal TN sports betting in late summer 2020, and issued its first temporary licenses in late September. Tennessee sportsbooks went live on November 1, 2020.
2019: A rocky legislative path
Rep. Rick Staples sponsored H 1, the TN sports betting bill that ultimately carried through to become law. Staples and fellow proponents navigated a winding path to get the legislation through the House and Senate.
One representative compared sports betting to slavery. Another legislator tried to amend the bill to ban betting on Sundays. That objection appeared to be rooted in religious concerns and ultimately failed as legislators recognized the bulk of NFL games take place on Sundays.
The Tennessee sports betting bill enjoyed relatively smooth passage through the Senate. It narrowly cleared a House committee, though, before enduring a lengthy floor debate to advance to the governor’s desk.
Gov. Bill Lee signaled a reluctance to sign the TN sports betting bill into law. Tennessee law, however, allows the governor to become law without a signature. Lee chose this path in June 2019, permitting sports betting in the Volunteer State.
The future of Tennessee sports betting
We’ll clearly be talking about billions of dollars in handle annually once the market reaches maturity, and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.
We’re also going to see a lot more sportsbooks in Tennessee. It is one of the few states where there is no cap on the number of operators, and where you don’t have to be tethered to a land-based casino.
There are things that can hold sports betting back, like the controversial 10% hold mandate that could adversely affect bettors. But legal sports betting in Tennessee should be a positive for the state and gamblers in the long term.
Tennessee sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2019 and it launched on November 1, 2020.
TN sports wagering began after the state started licensing sportsbooks who applied for licensure. The only restriction is you will not be able to make in-play wagers on collegiate events.
Who oversees TN sports betting?
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation has oversight. State regulators finished in April 2020 the process of creating rules and regulations to govern how sports betting will operate in Tennessee.
Where can I bet on sports in Tennessee?
Wagering on sports is legal anywhere within Tennessee’s borders. You do not need to be a resident of the Volunteer State in order to bet on sports in Tennessee.
If you are not located in Tennessee while using an app, you will not be able to place a wager, even if you are a Tennessee resident. Your phone will employ similar geolocation technology to what is used for mapping with Waze or Google Maps to determine your ability to bet on sports in Tennessee.
Is mobile sports betting in Tennessee available?
Yes, as of November 2020. Online and mobile TN sports betting are the only delivery channels.
There will be no retail sportsbooks unless someone somehow creates kiosks that fit the parameters of the bill for mobile wagering. Tennessee is the only state to employ only online sports wagering.
Who can apply for a Tennessee sports betting license?
Anyone who wants to attempt to get a license through state regulators. There is no cap on sports betting licenses in the state.
Who can bet on sports in Tennessee?
The legal sports gambling age in Tennessee is 21 years old. That is the most common legal age for sports betting throughout the United States.
As is the case in other states with legal sportsbooks, athletes, coaches, and employees with professional sports teams are not allowed to bet.
Can I bet on college basketball and college football in Tennessee?
Yes, you can wager on NCAA events offered by sportsbooks in Tennessee. While in-play wagers on college games are prohibited, March Madness and the College Football Playoff both are open to betting, as are regular-season games.