Tennessee Gambling Legislation: Things You Need To Know

Gambling laws in Tennessee tend to be the toughest in the country. Legal betting in this Volunteer State is limited to a state-wide lottery, a handful of horse tracks, a few regional lotteries, and extremely limited charitable gambling. What’s more, Tennessee’s stringent regulations don’t leave room for exceptions. Like those standard exceptions made in other anti-gaming states, Tennessee doesn’t allow exceptions for social or private games played at homes, offices, or other private spaces.

However, Tennessee residents often head to Mississippi and Missouri, the two states that border the area where casino gambling options are plentiful. As per a study conducted by a pro-gambling Tennessee lobbying group, nearly 10 percent of all Mississippi gambling income comes directly from Tennessee residents.

In this article, we walk you through the Tennessee gambling law thoroughly, walking you through the state’s gambling regulations.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Tennessee?

Online gambling isn’t explicitly illegal in Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean it is legal either. In fact, our knowledge about Tennessee law makes us think that online gamblers are breaking the law every time they bet on new online casinos.

However, we aren’t lawyers. So, you will have to talk to a TN-based lawyer to get more information about the gambling regulations. Still, after having gone through tons of state law on the subject, we think what’s given below is a brief spirit of the state code.

Generally, gambling in-state means “wagering anything of value for a profit” until and unless the wager happens in the form of gambling recognized by the state. Now, the argument that online gambling is illegal gambling still stays valid. In case this wasn’t illegal, the state would have put forward a specific exception for it as the state has done with the lottery and charity raffles. 

Nevertheless, we found a unique piece of legislation in Tennessee law that might help an individual escape the charge of illegal gambling. At the very end of the main section on gambling, lawmakers have incorporated an example of how a Tennessee citizen could use against his/ her conviction:

“a person reasonably and in good faith relied upon the representations of a gambling promoter that a gambling activity was lawful because it was an authorized annual event.”

Obviously, you will require proof this was true with evidence, and you will most likely have to do so in court. However, it seems like it works. After all, a judge would have a hard time dealing with a defense you found in the state’s criminal code.

The Closest Casinos to Tennessee

Tunica, Mississippi, is the nearest sportsbooks for most Tennessee residents. Nearly an hour’s drive away from Memphis, and around three hours from Nashville, Tunica hold numerous gambling venues—from full-scale casino resort properties (with live shows and table games) to OTB racinos. Listed below are Tunica’s best gambling spaces.

  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel

Address: 1150 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Robinsonville, MS 38664

Website: http://www.hollywoodcasinotunica.com/

Venue Type: Commercial Casino

  • Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall

Address: 1477 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Robinsonville, MS 38664

Website: http://www.samstowntunica.com/

Venue Type: Commercial Casino

  • Resorts Casino Tunica

Address: 1100 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Robinsonville, MS 38664

Website: http://www.resortstunica.com/

Venue Type: Commercial Casino

Online Gambling Options in Tennessee

Until Tennessee lawmakers decide to make rules specific to web-based betting, we don’t believe people residing in Tennessee have anything to fear when placing bets online. Though a complex case can be made that existing gaming statutes cover online gambling, no Tennessee court has ever used the current law to prosecute individual gambling online, and it is unlikely that it will start all of a sudden. Nonetheless, ensure you are only doing business with an offshore operation. Because any site operating from the United States is liable to be found and shut down, and you don’t want that to happen.