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Online Poker Tennessee - Is It Legal to Gamble & Play for Real Money?

Online Poker in Tennessee

Tennessee is one of the more conservative states in the union and as a result doesn’t appreciate real money gambling of any kind with a few very limited exceptions that normally don’t appeal to poker players all that much.

Off-shore sites are available to fill the void in Tennessee online poker left by the conservative government, though, as all major US-facing rooms still allow players from Tennessee to play on their sites. This is great for players who are looking for some online poker in Tennessee as otherwise, they would need to travel a significant distance to get in a card game.

The legal situation for TN internet poker is pretty good too. The state's various laws against gambling have never been used to prosecute any online player. And the various federal statutes that might apply, like the Wire Act and the UIGEA, specifically target those running the games rather than those merely participating in them

Below is a list of all the great sites that are looking for your business and the promotions that they have to entice you with!



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Online Poker Sites Available in Tennessee

There are quite a number of choices available for online poker in Tennessee, but it can be tough to separate the reputable enterprises from those that are undependable. We've carefully investigated the situation to bring you a list of online poker firms that treat their customers with respect and adhere to high ethical standards of business. When you open an account at any one of them, you'll enjoy the speedy payout of your winnings, fair random number generation, and excellent customer support. Read the information presented below, and then make your choice.

 

Ignition.eu Logo

IGNITION CASINO
Highest Traffic


Ignition poker's anonymous games and speedy Bitcoin payouts have led to its becoming the Tennessee online poker site with the highest traffic levels around. Whether you enjoy NL Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, PLO, fast-fold Zone poker, lottery-style Jackpot Poker, or ordinary sit-n-gos, you'll find more games running here than perhaps at any other USA-friendly internet poker room. There's plenty going on in the MTT lobby as well, including a weekly $100,000 Guaranteed event and recurring tournament series.

You can access virtually the entire array of poker tables from Mac, PC, or mobile. There's also a casino to try out as well. You can get a 100% bonus up to $1,000 for poker and another $1,000 for casino gaming.

Logo of SB.ag

SPORTSBETTING.AG
6-Figure Bad Beat Jackpot


Sportsbetting.ag has really climbed in recent years to become the third-biggest offshore poker room for Americans. You can play NLHE, PLO, 6+ Hold'em, Windfall lottery SNGs, regular SNGs, and multi-table tournaments. Some Hold'em cash game tables qualify for a Bad Beat Jackpot, which has been hit for more than $1 million in the past. Weekly sit-n-go leaderboards and daily cash game challenges regularly give out free money.

Sportsbetting has developed download clients for PC and Mac along with excellent mobile apps. Check out the sportsbook, casino, racebook, and other wagering products. The poker bonus is 100% up to $1,000, and further promos await you across the SB.ag betting portfolio.

Bovada Logo

BOVADA
Sports + Poker + Casino


Bovada.lv is the sister site of Ignition, so you'll benefit from the same wide selection of poker games and the anonymous recreational model. However, Bovada contains a sportsbook in addition to a poker room and casino, so you can house all your online gambling within the same account. Bet on football, baseball, basketball, and your other favorites, including collegiate athletics.

Bovada's wagering platform is available for Windows, Mac, and mobile. Get a 100% up to $500 poker bonus, $1,000 (x3) for casino, and $250 for sports. Even more bonuses if you deposit via Bitcoin!

Intertops Poker Logo

INTERTOPS
Best Promotions


Intertops isn't one of the largest internet poker rooms around, but it really shines in the area of promotional value. 36% rakeback, weekly rake races, frequent tournament overlays, no deposit bonuses, and poker reloads are just a few of the perks you'll get as a valued customer of Intertops.

You can only download the Intertops poker client if you're running Windows. But there is an Instant Play web interface that works with all modern computing equipment. You can explore the A-rated sportsbook and three separate casinos for a break from poker. You'll get a whopping 200% up to $1,000 poker bonus and 25 free spins in the casino.

Americas Cardroom Logo

AMERICAS CARDROOM
$10 No Deposit Bonus


The roots of Americas Cardroom go back all the way to 2001, and it has remained an upstanding online poker site for this entire time. You can play NL Hold'em, 6+ Hold'em, PLO, Limit Hold'em, and Stud cash games. There are sit-and-gos too, including lottery-inspired Jackpot Poker. ACR has an enviable tourney schedule, including a $150,000 Sunday major and occasional $1 million guaranteed events.

You'll want to play on a PC for the full Americas Cardroom experience although there is a limited mobile client and beta Mac software. Use our ACR bonus code PRB10FREE for a $10 no deposit bonus; then make your initial deposit to get 100% up to $1,000 and a complimentary $50 credit.

5Dimes Poker Logo

5DIMES
Highest Rakeback


Of all the rooms on our list for Tennessee Poker, 5Dimes is the smallest. Still, if you're not really a heavy multi-tabler and play for moderate stakes, then you may find the soft tables at this site very profitable. Daily fee-free tournaments promise to improve your return on investment too.

5Dimes provides poker software that works with almost any platform, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. Apart from poker, there's a complete complement of sports betting, casino gaming, and other gambling diversions. Sign up today and get an amazing 50% rakeback.

 

How to Choose the Right Tennessee Poker Site

Each poker site does things a bit differently, and it's impossible for us to identify one as the best solution for all players. Some of the areas in which they differ are bonuses, stakes spread, and tournament guarantees offered. You'll have to think about your own preferences and habits when attempting to pick the right poker home for you. We've come up with a few elements that you may wish to consider as you're making your decision.

☆ If you want to see a lot of games running at the same time, then Ignition, Bovada, and Americas Cardroom have the highest traffic levels.


☆ If you expect a fast-clearing first deposit bonus, then the $1,000 on offer at Ignition should satisfy you.


☆ If you feel that you deserve to be rewarded for long-term play, then ACR's Elite Benefits and Intertops' Loyalty Levels may be what you're after.


☆ If you think rakeback is essential, then Intertops' 36% and 5Dimes' 50% deals will refund you a portion of all your rake and tourney fees.


☆ If you wish to play poker from a machine other than a Windows PC, then Sportsbetting.ag, Ignition, Bovada, and 5Dimes will let you to do so on mobile and Mac.


☆ If you're interested in other gambling besides poker, then the sports betting and casino lineups at Bovada, Sportsbetting.ag, Intertops, and 5Dimes may appeal to you.


☆ If you like enormous tournament prize pools, then Americas Cardroom, Ignition, and Bovada will cater to your needs.

 

Online Poker Payouts

Brown Money Bag

All of the sites we've discussed today have plenty of experience getting money to their customers. Whenever it's time for you to request a payout, they're ready to send you a check, and some of them transact in other methods as well, like bank wires and debit cards. However, the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin might be the best processor to use. It has low fees and quick transaction timeframes, and every site we deal with allows you to use it for both deposits and withdrawals. If you aren't familiar with Bitcoin, then it may be worth your while to browse over to our beginners guide to getting started in BTC.

 

 

Online Poker Law in Tennessee

Book of Law

As one might expect of a state with very limited legalized avenues for real money gaming, the gambling laws in Tennessee are pretty severe. They can be found in Title 39, Criminal Offenses, Chapter 17, Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare, Part 5, Gambling. There's a handy definitions section in 39-17-501. Here we find out what's considered gambling in the eyes of the law:

1) Gambling is contrary to the public policy of this state and means risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or any games of chance associated with casinos, including, but not limited to, slot machines, roulette wheels and the like. For the purposes of this chapter gambling does not include:
(A) A lawful business transaction;
(B) Annual events operated for the benefit of nonprofit organizations that are authorized pursuant to a two-thirds (2/3) approval of the general assembly, so long as such events are not prohibited by the state constitution;
(C) A state lottery of the type in operation in Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia in 2000 and authorized by amendment to the Constitution of Tennessee, if the lottery is approved by the general assembly; or
(D) A fantasy sports contest as defined in ง 47-18-1602 and conducted in accordance with the Fantasy Sports Act, compiled in title 47, chapter 18, part 16.

The wording here, in particular “to any degree contingent on chance,” is very broad and undoubtedly applies to poker. The phrase “is contrary to the public policy of this state” is kicking a dead horse, in our opinion, because it has no real effect on the meaning of the definition. We suppose the legislature just stuck it in there to make doubly sure that citizens realize that gambling is very bad indeed. The rest of the section lists the exemptions, which are legitimate business deals, charitable gambling, state lotteries, and daily fantasy sports. These fully legal activities are explained and regulated in other sections of the state law.

On to the actual statute describing the crime of gambling and how it's treated (39-17-502):

Gambling -- Defenses.
(a) A person commits an offense who knowingly engages in gambling.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section, which must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, that 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 pursuant to title 3, chapter 17. It is not an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that a person engaged in a gambling activity that was not an authorized type of lottery game pursuant to title 3, chapter 17.
(c) The offense of gambling is a Class C misdemeanor.

The only real way to argue one's way out of a gambling charge (assuming you actually were gambling) is by claiming, and being able to prove it “by a preponderance of the evidence,” that you thought you were participating in an authorized charitable gaming event. Gambling is a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties attached to this level of violation are pretty minor: up to 30 days in jail and up to a $50 fine. There's no exemption for home games like there is in many other states. The Tennessee authorities have a long history of enforcing this law even against ordinary players. But we have to point out that the players who were charged were playing in offline, live games. No online poker player has ever gotten into trouble with the TN law. You can savor internet poker with confidence because there's realistically no chance of your facing any legal penalties.

Tennessee has several other laws that it can use to prosecute those who provide illicit gambling. Among them are provisions against: gambling promotion, aggravated gambling promotion, possession of gambling records or a gambling device, and making a lottery. The more severe of these infractions are Class E felonies, which carry penalties as high as six years in jail and a $3,000 fine. The offshore poker sites that accept Americans aren't afraid of them, and they all serve Tennesseans. Their lawyers have probably advised them that there's a very slim chance of their ever facing legal issues for doing so.

 

 

Tennessee Gambling History

Stickball Equipment
Various Stickball Equipment
d Represents Sticks Used by the Cherokee

Gambling has a long history in Tennessee dating back before Europeans started to inhabit the area. The Cherokee Indians played several games that had gambling components. One of the most famous was stickball, a game resembling modern lacrosse and American football. This game has been known as “little brother of war” because the anything-goes, violent nature of it made it sometimes appear to be like a battle. Not only that, but tribes sometimes used the game as a proxy for war whereby disputes were settled on the athletic field rather than in a costly combat. In a sense, it could be seen as gambling for territory. The players often put a significant amount of their personal property at stake on the result, and wagering among spectators was common too.

The first Europeans to set foot in the area were French and Spanish explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries, but settlement only started in earnest during the 1770s when this backwoods expanse was still part of North Carolina. By 1796, the population had grown sufficiently that Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state. At this time, the major real money gaming choices were billiards, the card game whist, betting on cock fights, and wagering on horse races. Lotteries were conducted to fund roads, endow institutions of higher education, and make navigation improvements on rivers. However, public opinion turned against lotteries in the 1830s, and they were outlawed in 1834.

Andrew Jackson
President Andrew Jackson

Horse racing exploded in popularity during the 19th century, eclipsing all other gambling pastimes in Tennessee. The first official horse race in the state took place at Gallatin in 1804. A local planter named Andrew Jackson entered a horse in the race, but it lost. He had better success a year later in Huntsville when his horse Truxton prevailed, allowing Jackson to win a $5,000 wager: a sum worth approximately $100,000 today. Jackson went on to become the seventh President of the United States.

The racing industry grew alongside the fields of horse breeding and training. By 1839, there were 10 tracks in existence across the state and an even larger number of Jockey Clubs. In 1843 in Nashville, the Peyton Stakes was run with prizes of $35,000 distributed, making it the richest horse racing event ever held up to that point in history. While neighboring Kentucky began to make inroads in the equestrian world and soon overtook Tennessee in this department, horse racing remained a pillar of the state economy until a 1906 law banned all gambling on such races.

For a long time thereafter, Tennessee residents had no legal options for real money gambling anywhere in the state. Even charitable fundraising games were not allowed until the '70s when the legislature authorized nonprofits to offer limited bingo games. However, in 1989, the state Supreme Court found in Secretary of State v. St. Augustine Church that bingo was against the Tennessee Constitution. At around the same time, the FBI conducted an investigation called “Rocky Top” that found that bingo was being used as a front for criminal activity. More than 50 people were convicted in relation to these charges, including prominent businessmen and politicians.

It was only after a referendum in 1982 passed by a large margin that the Tennessee Lottery was created, and it began selling tickets in 1984. It has been a resounding success, and ticket sales have increased for 12 consecutive years. Severe floods in 2010 compelled the authorities to permit charitable fundraising again, but the rules under which such events can be held are very strict.

The next form of legalized gaming in TN may come as a surprise given the state's intolerance of most forms of wagering: daily fantasy sports. In 2016, SB 2109 to regulate DFS passed both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly with flying colors, and it was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam. Building upon this momentum, in April 2019, Tennessee made online sports betting legal with SB 16.

 

Regulation Chance for Online Poker

Blue Page of Regulations

This has historically been one of the least likely states to approve regulated online poker. It is a very conservative state that has shut down any opportunities for regulated land-based gaming despite neighboring states having live gambling venues. Traditionally, states have authorized casinos first, and then internet gambling moves in afterwards, and so we would expect lawmakers to take action on the casino front before legal online poker becomes a reality in Tennessee.

However, the mindset of Tennessee legislators appears to be changing first with the legalization of daily fantasy sports in 2016 and then online sportsbooks in 2019. Although there are no signs that anyone is seriously pursuing the licensing of TN online poker, it would be the next logical step. We'll probably have to wait awhile to see how the state-supervised sports betting market pans out before there are any moves toward approving internet card games for Tennesseans.

The state lottery's supporters can be expected to oppose internet gaming because of the threat it might pose to lottery sales, which have generated more than $4 billion for educational programs within the state. The bleak prospects for state-supervised online poker in Tennessee are especially ironic given the fact that the modern poker boom was kicked off in 2003 when local accountant Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event and $2.5 million.

 

Land Based Gambling

Brown Building

Tennessee is one of the most restrictive states in the union when it comes to gambling as it does not offer commercial casinos, tribal casinos, or pari-mutual betting, and there is exceptionally limited charitable gambling. Charitable organizations must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, and they can only host one gambling event per year.

The allowed games are raffles, reverse raffles, cakewalks, and cake-wheels. A reverse raffle is just like a normal raffle except that it's the last undrawn ticket that wins instead of the tickets that are picked first. A cakewalk is a kind of combination of a raffle and musical chairs in which the prize is a cake (yes, really). A cakewheel appears to be a game where participants spin a wheel with numbers on it, and whoever predicts the number that comes up wins a cake. Bingo is expressly not allowed for charitable purposes, which makes sense when we consider the major political scandal that the game has caused in the past.

The only other possibility for legal offline gambling is the Tennessee Education Lottery. There are no cardrooms or casinos to be found within the borders of the Volunteer State. The best bet for any Tennessean who wishes to sit in a live poker game may be to head over to Tunica, Mississippi, which has several casinos.

Sports Betting

Sports Balls and Stick

When the Supreme Court decided in Murphy v. NCAA that the federal ban on state-licensed sports betting was invalid, it paved the way for fully legal sportsbooks to appear in certain areas. In May 2019, Tennessee lawmakers passed SB16, which set up a licensed sports betting industry in the state.

Nevertheless, you may be interested in exploring the more robust and competitive offshore sportsbook scene. Because they transact a much greater volume of trade than the puny bookies located within the single state of Tennessee, they have the leeway to offer better lines and promos.

We've investigated the leading internet sports betting sites open to Tennesseans and have produced the following shortlist for your enlightenment:

Bovada Logo

1. Bovada Sports - 50% bonus up to $250 (Double Bonus for Bitcoiners)

SB.ag Logo
2. Sportsbetting.ag - 50% up to $1,000 Deposit Bonus and Infinite Reloads
Logo of Intertops
3. Intertops Sports - Intertops: $50, $100, or $200 Signup Bonus

Follow this link for more about the top USA-friendly sportsbooks.

Online Casinos

Dice, Chips, and Cards

Tennessee has historically opposed almost every form of gambling. Although this stance has been modified somewhat in recent years, there are still no brick-and-mortar casino anywhere within the state.

Therefore, you'll have to head online if you partake in blackjack, craps, video poker, or any other type of casino gaming entertainment. Fortunately, there are advantages to playing on the internet, including a wider range of min and max bet sizes and much faster-paced action than in traditional casinos.

Rather than subjecting you to the possibility of signing up for a shady operator, we've elected to evaluate the most popular online casino operators and have presented our picks below:

Ignition Casino Logo

1. Ignition Casino - Up to $1,000 Bonus and Ignition Rewards

Bovada.lv Logo
2. Bovada Casino - 100% up to $1,000 THREE Times ($3,000 in Total Bonuses)
Logo of SB.AG
3. Sportsbetting Casino - $3,000 in Bonuses, Ongoing Free Spins, Leaderboards, and Reloads

Find out more by reading our rundown of the best online casino destinations for Americans.

Famous Poker Players From Tennessee

Yellow Shooting Star

There are a number of prominent practitioners of the art of poker who hail from Tennessee, like Kathy Liebert and Frank Kassela, but one name towers above them all: Chris Moneymaker. This is true despite the fact that Chris ranks only second on the list of Tennessee individuals in terms of all-time live tournament earnings, behind Liebert.

Photo of Chris MoneymakerChris Moneymaker,
2003 WSOP Main Event Champ

The reason for his fame lies in the big tournament that Moneymaker did win and the historical significance that it holds. You probably already know this, but Chris Moneymaker was the ultimate victor in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, which saw him best 838 other entrants to take the bracelet and the $2.5 million top prize.

As a humble accountant living in Nashville, the everyman personality of Moneymaker resonated with the public at large. Another compelling part of his story was the fact that he had qualified online through an $86 satellite. He's widely credited with kicking off the poker boom in the United States, which saw the industry explode in popularity as seemingly everyone and his mother got into playing the game online. Indeed, it's even possible that ProfessionalRakeback itself might not exist today had Chris not prevailed in the 2003 WSOP.

Chris has, in the intervening years, amassed more than another $1 million in offline tourney cashes, and he presently stands with a total in excess of $3.7 million. PokerStars quickly signed him after his epochal win, and he remains a member of Team PokerStars to the present day, serving as one of the most well-known ambassadors of the game.

 

Conclusion

If you intend to play online poker in Tennessee, there are no practical obstacles confronting you. Nobody has ever been charged under TN gambling laws for playing cards over the internet. There are several quality Tennessee online poker sites out there, so open an account at one, and begin playing the game you love.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Tennessee and Adjacent States

If you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here are a list of the states that border Tennessee and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. This is quite a list of neighboring states, but we recognize that you might range further afield than these few areas, so we've prepared an extensive guide to online poker in the U.S.A.

Many people in Tennessee aren't aware of the possibility of internet poker within the state. If you know anybody, whether a family member, friend, coworker, or acquaintance, whom you think would like to know more about online poker, please share this page with them and thereby help alleviate their ignorance.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The subject of online poker in Tennessee is one that sometimes leaves people confused. You'll find below a few questions and answers that pertain to this topic. Click on the “+” to expand each answer, and click on “–” to close it.

+    Is There State-Licensed Tennessee Online Poker?

+    Is Online Poker in Tennessee Legal?

+    Is PokerStars Legal to Play for Tennesseans?

+    Is Ignition a Legally Permitted Internet Poker Parlor?

+    Is BetOnline Operating Legally in Tennessee?

+    Is it legal for Global Poker to operate in Tennessee?

+    What Is the Minimum Gambling Age in Tennessee?

+    Can I Open My Own Tennessee Online Gaming Business?

+    How Do I Make Deposits and Withdrawals for Internet Poker?

+    Do I Owe Taxes on the Money I Make From Online Poker?

+    Are Mac Poker Clients Available?

+    Can I Play Cards on my Smartphone or Tablet?

 

Additional Resources

If you seek to learn more about Tennessee gambling, then these links may help:

 


We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!