Tennessee is not pro-gambling, to say the least. This goes back to the state’s roots which remain firmly planted in the ground. Tennessee is a dry state, through and through. A state that killed the switch on its horse race betting before it even had a chance to begin. Aside from a state lottery and some charitable gaming, the Volunteer State remains a baron gambling landscape. Luckily for TN residents, neighboring states which offer legal gambling are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Tennessee Legal Gambling History
Tennessee is a state that has always been historically very anti-gambling. For starters, it outlawed horse race betting well before any other states even had a chance to legalize it – this, done in 1907.
For almost a century, gambling in the state of Tennessee had been asleep. When in 2003, the state had poked it with a stick, slightly awakening it by offering a state education lottery. An education lottery ensures that with every ticket bought that an amount will go towards college scholarships for residents to take up after graduating high school. This works wonders in a few ways. First, by relieving any of the guilt an individual might have around spending their money on a lottery ticket if they’re prone to have any hang-ups about it. This also offers children of the state a chance at a bright future by offering university scholarships.
Even charitable gaming had been seen as taboo in Tennessee for a long time. But in 2010, the state legalized charitable gaming such as raffles and bingo, but under strict licensing and only for fundraising purposes. This decision came shortly after the state had been devastated by floods and charitable gaming was used as an attempt to raise money for those affected.
Tennessee remains a dry state and will most likely stay one. The state government is unwavering in its stance.
Tennessee Gambling Legal Status
Tennessee is a dry state where all forms of gambling remain illegal aside from one. This legal form of gambling is the state lottery which is presented as an education lottery. Meaning, money brought in from lottery tickets is alotted for college scholarships at state institutions.
Charitable gaming such as bingo is legal in certain instances, under strict regulation, where fundraising for good causes is needed.
The following forms of gambling remain illegal in Tennessee:
- Casino gaming: slots, table games, poker, etc.
- Online casino betting.
- Sports betting and online sportsbooks.
- Race track and off-track betting.
- Daily Fantasy Sports.
The solution to the legal gambling crises in Tennessee may be found in its neighboring states — North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, and Kentucky — some of which have casinos set up right on the border.
Some nearby casino options for Tennessee residents include Harrah’s Casino offerings in nearby North Carolina.
Tennessee Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in the state of Tennessee?
- The state lottery.
- Charitable gaming such as bingo and raffles for fundraising purposes.
Tennessee is considered to be a “dry state”.
Players must be at least 18 years of age to partake in the lottery and charitable gaming.
Will we ever see any other forms of gambling made legal in Tennessee?
It’s not likely. Tennessee is a dry state and seems content that way. For the foreseeable future, residents will have to travel to neighboring states for their casinos and other forms of gambling action.