Online sports betting to become legal in Tennessee

1 May 2019
Last week, a bill to allow Tennessee to become the first U.S. state with mobile-only sports betting was approved by the House and then by the Senate yesterday. The next step would be to receive Governor Bill Lee’s signature, but the first-term governor made it clear he will allow the bill to pass without his signature. Laine Arnold, Lee’s press secretary, told The Tennessean, "The governor has said he does not believe that the expansion of gambling is best, but he recognizes that many in the legislature found this to be an issue they want to explore further. He plans to let this become law without his signature."
The state is expecting legalized sports betting to bring in about $50 million in tax revenue.
The legislation, effective 1 July, does not call for retail sports betting and the online platforms for sports betting would be run by the state lottery. All bets must be placed within state borders. The bill also prohibits anyone under age 21 from wagering on sports, as well as athletes and owners of a team involved in a game, people who run sports betting operations, and others "with influence over a game’s outcome."
In addition to making it an online-only bill, the House also increased the license fee to $750,000 annually and the tax rate to 20%. The bill also requires operators to use official data sources for settling in-play bets.

Tennessee becomes the eighth U.S. state (Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island being the others) to join Nevada in legalizing sports wagering, but the only one with a mobile-only offering, since the U.S. Supreme Court, deemed the federal ban on sports betting to be unconstitutional last May.

Dan Ippolito

Articles by As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.