Tennessee Gambling Laws

Gambling Laws in Tennessee on casinos, lotteries, sports, and fantasy sports

There are only few states with as strict gambling laws as Tennessee. All kinds of casino-style gambling are outlawed by Tennessee gambling laws and there’s no exception. Let’s take at them and explore the available opportunities.

Tennessee Gambling Laws

Tennessee gambling laws are among the strictest in the US. The law allows only for a state lottery and charitable gaming. “A person commits an offense who knowingly engages in gambling,” and the offense of gambling in Tennessee is a Class C misdemeanor. Gambling in Tennessee US gambling laws is defined as “risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance,” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-501) Tennessee gambling laws prohibit also “any games of chance associated with casinos, including, but not limited to, slot machines, roulette wheels and the like.” Therefore, it’s clear that the Tennessee outlaws all forms of casino-style gambling. There are only two exceptions from the Tennessee gambling laws. First, annual charitable gambling events by nonprofit organizations are permitted by the Tennessee Charitable Gaming Implementation Law. However, bingo, poker, keno, and other casino-style games are not allowed even at such events. Second, the state lottery of Tennessee.

Online Gambling in Tennessee

Even though Tennessee gambling laws don’t specify internet gambling, online gambling in Tennessee is illegal. The laws prohibits all games of chance; therefore, they can apply to online gambling as well. Besides online gambling, the promotion of internet casinos to Tennessee players is illegal too.

Lotteries in Tennessee

After years of dispute, the Tennessee Lottery was set up in June of 2003. Lottery became the only widely available form of gambling in Tennessee. Tennessee gambling laws don’t allow for the trade of lottery tickets online, so players have to buy their tickets in-person with cash at one of the 5,000 retailers. There’s an official Tennessee Lottery application, which can be used to scan and check the purchased tickets, without registration. The lottery is run by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation and its proceeds help to fund scholarships. Multi-state lottery games are also available in Tennessee, including Powerball.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Tennessee

All major daily fantasy sports sites operate in Tennessee; however, they might be at huge risk. Tennessee gambling laws are extremely strict, banning all games with the element of chance. On the contrary, it is known that daily fantasy sports sites don’t classify themselves under the category of gambling or game of chance. US gambling news says that the outcome of a review of daily fantasy sports in Tennessee would likely “hold the game to violate the law because it is fairly obvious that any type of fantasy sports involves some chance.” As of today, the legislature has not issue any official opinion on the state of daily fantasy sports in Tennessee.

Update [7th April 2016]:

In April, 2016, Tennessee Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, declared that daily fantasy sports are illegal in the state. “Winning a fantasy sports contest is contingent to some degree on chance,” highlights Slatery’s official opinion. Since there’s no legislation that would exempt daily fantasy sports from the definition of gambling “these contests constitute illegal gambling under Tennessee law,” he added.

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