Tennessee is one of a number of states that will have legal sports betting in 2020.
Soon, people who are physically in the Volunteer State will be able to wager while anywhere within the state’s borders on TN sports betting apps. You will be able to wager on your smartphone or other Internet-connected devices.
The Tennessee state legislature law passed a law legalizing sports wagering in spring 2019.
Here is more of what you need to know about sports betting in Tennessee:
TN sports betting basics
Sports betting will soon be active in Tennessee in 2020. The law will allow for betting online and on mobile apps. It appears there will be no physical sportsbook locations, as the law is designed to regulate the online sports betting market.
The Tennessee state legislature approved a sports betting bill in April 2019. Governor 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 in the state.
Tennessee sports betting launch date
There is no firm date for the launch of sports betting in Tennessee but the third quarter of 2020 appears likely as of today.
Late 2019 originally was a possibility, as was the Super Bowl. Both of those potential dates came and went without any new sportsbooks in Tennessee being allowed to open.
Any state joining the US legal sports betting market will aim to launch its industry prior to NFL and college football season. Those two sports attract the most betting handle throughout the United States.
Tennessee will become one of the few Southern states with legal sports betting when it launches. Only Mississippi and Arkansas have active legal sportsbooks, although neither state allows online sports betting.
Latest TN sports betting news
TN sportsbook apps
The only way to bet on sports in Tennessee will be via mobile apps and online wagering.
Anyone can apply to operate a TN sportsbook but will need to be approved by state regulators. Most major operators expect to open sportsbooks in Tennessee despite one of the higher tax rates in the nation at 20%.
There are no guarantees on who will offer a sportsbook in the state, but a number of the operators we’ve seen go live elsewhere in the US are good candidates, such as:
What’s in the 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 FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2019 and you soon will be able to place wagers in the state. A launch date before football season in 2020 is expected.
TN sports wagering will begin when the state authorizes and vets sportsbooks who apply 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 will have 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 will be 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, beginning in later summer 2020. Online and mobile TN sports betting will be 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 will be able to 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.
Daily fantasy sports in Tennessee
Tennessee actually was a forerunner in the regulated US daily fantasy sports market. The state legislature approved a DFS law in 2016, preceded only by Virginia and Indiana.
Tennessee became the first in the country in which the state legislature chose to go against an attorney general opinion suggesting DFS fell under the state’s prohibition on gambling.
DFS remains legal in Tennessee today and the major operators take part in the market.
Betting on pro sports teams 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 could look like once sports betting in Tennessee gets started:
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. The young team featuring budding superstar Ja Morant surprised many in 2020 and looks to be an intriguing Western Conference team moving forward.
NHL betting in Tennessee
Hockey betting in Tennessee? Absolutely. The NHL arrived more than 10 years 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 history
How did sports betting come to the Volunteer State? Take a look at the timeline leading to where we are today:
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.