Tennessee took a decidedly different path to legal sports betting, becoming the first state to allow online wagering only. So far, it's been a great success.
It took more than a year from the time sports betting became legal in 2019 until the first wager was made on Nov. 1, 2020, but for those in the Volunteer State, it was worth the wait as major players have already set up shop with more sure to follow
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Yes, online sports betting is legal in Tennessee. The Tennessee legislature approved a sports betting bill in Spring 2019, and Gov. Bill Lee, who is opposed to sports betting, allowed the bill to become law without his signature on July 1, 2019.
The state finalized regulations a full year later in April 2020, but because of the COVID crisis shutting down sports and a lack of approved operators, the first legal sports bet in the state was not placed until Nov. 1, 2020, when four sports betting sites launched.
Though there was some concern that the large hold (10%) might scare off a sportsbook operator or two, four sports betting sites launched on Nov. 1, 2020, with more expected to follow. The sites that were part of the initial launch:
DraftKings: The powerhouse that made its name in the daily fantasy sports realm parlayed that huge user base and name recognition into a successful sportsbook juggernaut and is often one of the first online sports betting sites to launch in legal state. Its NFL player prop bets and overall futures bets often dwarf the competition.
BetMGM: A major casino brand across the US, the sports betting arm of the company is making a name for itself as a sportsbook operator. They are the only US online sportsbook to pay out in full on ties for golf finishing position bets.
FanDuel: Also capitalizing on its large user base like DraftKings, FanDuel allows players to combine wallets for sports betting and DFS, a nice bonus.
Action 247: The only Tennessee owned and operated sportsbook operator is based in Nashville.
In the first week of operations, the sportsbooks reported a total handle of $27.4 million, and the three national operators reported that the handle in Tennessee was greater than what they typically see in rollouts.
BetAmerica, William Hill and WynnBET all hope to launch by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
Bettors at Tennessee online sportsbooks can make all the popular wagers on sports both major (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football and college basketball) and minor (motorsports, UFC, boxing, tennis, golf). You can bet on the Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville Predators, Tennessee Volunteers and more. Those bets include but are not limited to:
Point spread: A bet on a team to cover the spread, whatever the number is. If the Titans are 3-point favorites against the Indianapolis Colts, Titans bettors win as long as their team wins by more than a field goal.
Moneyline: These are bets on a team or player to win outright. There is no spread or handicap involved, and favorites are represented by negative odds such as -180 while underdogs have plus odds. If you bet a -140 favorite, you would risk $140 to win $100. If you bet a +140 underdog, you would win $140 for every $100 wagered.
Total: An online sportsbook sets a number for total points combined in a game and a bettor must pick whether the actual total will go over or under it.
Prop bets: Extremely popular bets that are not tied to the final outcome of the game or match. Both player and team props are typically available for pro sports, but player props are not available for college sports in Tennessee. An example of a player prop would be the first player to score a TD in a football game. A team prop might be which NBA team will have the most 3-pointers.
Futures: Futures bets are long-term wagers on how a player or team will do on the season. Typically the odds are available well before a season starts and savvy bettors can find value in longshots at that time before odds shorten during a season. Examples of futures bets would be betting before or during the season on who will win the Super Bowl or the NBA MVP.
Parlay: A parlay is the combining of non-related bets. The more bets in a parlay, the greater the payout, but also the greater the risk as any one loss in your parla makes the entire bet a loser. You can combine any number of moneyline, spread, total and even prop bets into a parlay.
Teaser: A form of a parlay, except bettors improve each leg in their favor by a certain number of points in exchange for lower odds.
Live betting: In-game betting is not only fun, it is extremely popular. Once a game starts, odds will be constantly updated depending on what is happening in the game. If a -240 favorite falls behind big early, its odds might spike to -110. A bettor who feels the team will rally could grab those odds at less risk than if they had bet on the team before the game started. Live betting also includes wagering on in-game events such as next touchdown scorer or if a player will hit a home run.
RELATED: Check out the top NFL betting sites
Tennessee bettors don’t have the option of going into a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. By law, it is mobile sports betting only, and the response has been positive. In most states online betting overtakes retail betting because of the convenience, something those in Tennessee get to enjoy from the outset.
Sports betting apps are typically available for iOS and Android devices if you want to bet on the go, and users will find that the desktop browser experience translates well to their mobile devices.
Downloading the app is easy. First, read our unbiased reviews and check out the latest bonus offers. Click on the link and you will be directed to the sports betting site.
Register for a new account. You will need to provide personal information, an email address, the last four digits of your Social Security number and other identifying information to establish both your age and identity. When it comes time to fund the account you will typically be asked for a driver’s license or passport.
The sites use geofencing technology to make sure you are in the state when you wager, but you can register for an account and fund it from anywhere.
Once you have the account set, typically you can download the sports betting app from the site. You should also be able to find it in the App Store or Google Play.
RELATED: An Overview of Sports Betting Odds
The Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, which became law on July 1, 2019, did so without Lee’s signature. Lee was opposed to online sports gambling, saying it was not "in the best interest of the state."
Rick Staples, a Democrat out of Knoxville, introduced a bipartisan bill in November 2018. That bill was heavily altered along the way and bore little resemblence to the one that eventually passed.
As part of its rules, Tennessee imposed a mandatory 10% hold, which means bettors could be paying more juice on every bet than they would in almost any other US state with legal sports gambling. Officials said they would revisit the rules after one year to see if there has been a deleterious impact.
In 1987, the Tennessee legislature approved the Racing Control Act, which authorized potential construction of race tracks, but it was repealed in 2015 after no horse tracks were built. The state does allow for horse racing betting on pari-mutuel wagering platforms.
In 2016, Tennessee became the third state to regulate daily fantasy sports.
The minimum age for Tennessee bettors to place a sports wager is 21.
You do not need to live in-state to bet at online Tennessee sportsbooks but you must be physically within state borders to place a bet. Tennessee online sports betting sites use geolocation software to make sure you are allowed to wager.
Tennessee is unique in that it only allows for mobile sports betting. There are no brick-and-mortar Tennessee sportsbooks, so all legal sports betting must be one via a betting app or online.
Just about any sports you want, from the NFL to college sports, to MLB, European soccer, tennis and the NBA. You can even bet on in-state college teams, which isn’t the case in every state.
Yes. You cannot live bet on college football and college basketball, and there are no college player props.
Anyone willing to pay the $750,000 per-year licensing fee can apply. There is no limit on licenses in the state. Operators must also install geo-fencing to ensure players are inside the state while betting.
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation oversees sports wagering in the state.
Yes, in-play or live betting is available in TN, and if other states’ track records are any indication, it will be wildly popular.
Among the bonus offers you can expect to find at Tennessee sports betting sites are deposit matches for first-time players (that come with conditions), a risk-free bet (refunded as a betting credit should the bettor lose) and odds boosts.
Absolutely and you should. By signing up to multiple Tennessee sports betting sites, bettors can collect multiple bonuses and, more importantly, shop around for the best odds.
Among the deposit methods you will find at TN sports betting sites are Play+, e-wallets such as PayPal, bank transfer, ACH, and credit and debit cards. Be aware, though, that some financial institutions still block credit card transactions while others may charge fees.
Offshore sites are not regulated and not licensed in the United States, meaning they lack the customer protections that legal sports betting sites in Tennessee afford customers. With an offshore sportsbook, you can’t guarantee your personal information is safe or that you will have access to your funds with an offshore sports gambling site.
Online sports betting is legal in TN and went live on Nov. 1, 2020. Online casino gambling is not legal.
Bettors should always seek help if they are gambling more than they can afford to lose or believe they have a problem. . If you believe you have a sports betting addiction, you can call or text the Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789. You can also choose to self-exclude, and sports betting operators will prevent you from wagering for a set period of time. You can also view additional resources on Responsible Gambling page.
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