- It’s Legal and available online and mobile
- But the payouts are crap!
There’s good news and bad news. The good news – sports betting is legal and available via online and mobile app! But only online and mobile. “Say what?” Dat’s right my friends, Tennessee offers online and mobile sports betting but NO land based on site sports bets. This is great for accessibility for all players.
Now for the bad news, the odds are terrible! “Say what?” Yep, the State has put in place that only 85% can be paid out. This means for every dollar wagered, a maximum of 85c can only be paid out to you, if you win. This means, it’s going to be hard to get ahead, if you are a serious bettor.
Update March 2021:
• William Hill launched its online sportsbetting platform in the state on 11 March 2021;
• Churchill Downs launched its online sportsbetting platform in the state on 18 March 2021.
Top 3 Tennessee Online Sportsbooks
Tennessee Sports Betting Legality
This is the only state in the US that has done the opposite to all others. Whilst most other states that have legalized have had to contend with native American casinos, Tennessee has been able to avoid those messy discussions because they have no native American casinos established. In fact they have no casinos at all, period.
And with no land based casinos, sports betting bills were passed to allow wagering via online and mobile only exclusivity. Many advocates of sports betting have praised Tennessee lawmakers for their progressive approach in recognizing that sports betting will only be sustainable via online and mobile. States such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana have shown that online and mobile sports betting will generate up to 4 times more turnover than land based only.
On the other hand, lawmakers have been slammed for capping payouts at 85% of amounts wagered. In general, payouts at sportsbooks around the world hover at 92.5% to 95%. This means players will get better value for money at offshore online betting sites, neighboring states with sportsbooks or illegally within the state. The attraction for better sports betting value may potentially create an unsustainable sports betting market. The cap of 85% is simply a terrible offer to Tennessee sports bettors.
Other Tennessee Sports Betting Details
The Texas Lottery has been assigned as the regulator. And whilst it can issue an unlimited number of sports betting licenses which is fantastic for an open market, it costs $750,000 per year for one license. This is per a year, and therefore needs to be renewed each and every year. This is by no means an insignificant cost. Of course, as more licenses are purchased, the more competition, and the less compelling it is to enter the market. Perhaps the market leader will be the first to enter the market, speculated to be either DraftKings or FanDuel. These two companies, which originally began as Daily Fantasy Sports operators have aggressively move into the sportsbook arena and are looking to increase their foot hold in the US.
Another highly contentious requirement, is that sportsbook operators must purchase “official league” data as prescribed by law. It is unknown how much this would cost, however there is a clause that stipulates the league data must be available at “commercially reasonable terms”.
Tennessee Sportsbooks Tax Rate
Finally, as another disadvantage to sportsbook operators in this state, Tennessee will whack on one of the highest sports betting tax rates in the US. At a tax rate of 20% of total turnover each month going to the state educational fund and other community initiatives, Tennessee is second only to Pennsylvania which has a tax rate of 36%.
Offshore Tennessee Online Sports Betting
Unbeknownst to many, online sports betting has been occurring for many years.
Tennessee sports betting turnover for 2019 was $9.3 million, wagered via online sport betting sites.
These online sport betting sites are located offshore and accept US players.
Is this illegal?
It is a gray area. The current state laws do not clearly articulate whether gambling offshore online is illegal or not. Therefore, you will find many online sports books (and online casinos) accepting US players from states that have ambiguous gambling laws – Tennessee is one of those states.
Is it dangerous?
There are two aspects to this question.
Firstly, will you get caught or fined?
I highly doubt it. Till this day, there has been no precedence of anyone being charged with breaking the law for playing at offshore online sports betting books or offshore online casinos.
Secondly, are offshore sports betting books trustworthy and reliable?
Very much so. They have been operating in the market for many years and sports betting is a clear cut outcome (when compared to online casino games). It’s therefore extremely difficult to argue that an outcome of a sports bet is wrong.
How can I find an online Sports Book?
The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.
Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome Bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the which are trusted and the big brand names.
Popular Sport Bets
NFL – Tennessee has one NFL team, the Tennessee Titans.
NBA – Tennessee has one NBA basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
MLB – Tennessee has no Major League Baseball teams.
NHL – Tennessee has one NHL ice hockey teams, the Nashville Predators.