Legal Tennessee Online Poker Sites
If you have contemplated moving to Tennessee for its rich music scene, high-quality whiskey, and stunning natural beauties, we say — go for it. But if you are into gambling and especially poker, we suggest you think twice.
The Volunteer State is one of the toughest in the country regarding gambling laws. Legal wagering in the state is restricted to sports betting, daily fantasy sports, limited charitable gaming, the Tennessee Education Lottery, cakewalks, and raffles. As you can see, poker is off-limits since the state doesn’t have land-based casinos and makes no exception for home poker games, either.
However, if you are wondering whether you have any options for playing online poker in Tennessee, the answer is affirmative. We will explain to you how and where as we explore the land-based and online poker laws in Tennessee in greater detail.
Is Online Poker Legal in Tennessee?
Although card games were popular in Tennessee around the time it was admitted to the Union (1796), the gambling beginnings of the state were mostly associated with horse racing. By 1839, this industry had exploded in popularity, with over 10 race tracks on state territory.
Unfortunately, all gambling was banned in 1906, and nothing changed for several decades until the authorities allowed charitable gaming in the 1970s. Then, the state electorate approved the Tennessee Lottery in 1982 and, once again, waited almost three decades until it gave the green light to charitable fundraising in 2010.
Although Tennessee’s intolerance to most forms of gambling was evident, its harsh stance softened a little when the state legalized daily fantasy sports in 2016 and then sports betting in 2020.
As we can see, the Volunteer State’s gambling sector is still in its infancy and is slowly evolving. For this reason, its residents have no legal options to play live or online poker. Tennessee has no land-based casinos, and online poker rooms are still not permitted.
Before you indulge in playing real money poker in the Volunteer State, read the following regulations carefully to familiarize yourself with its legal framework.
- Tennessee Code, Title 39 — Criminal Offences, Chapter 17 — Offences Against Public Health, Safety, and Welfare, Part 5 — Gambling
Best Legal Online Poker Rooms in Tennessee
After familiarizing yourself with Tennessee legal documents, you may think its residents have zero poker-playing options. Although this is technically true in certain aspects, there are alternatives. Continue reading to find out what they are.
Legal Online Poker in Tennessee
The only legal internet-based gambling sector in the Volunteer State is sports betting, while online casinos and poker rooms are still waiting to be included in the legal books.
According to the state code, a separate section related to gambling specifies that all games of chance are prohibited, including poker. Breaching the law is considered a Class C misdemeanor and comes with penalties involving up to 30 days in prison or up to a $50 fine for individual players.
However, the punishment is even harsher for those who manage the games or try running an online site. This is a Class F felony punishable by up to six years in prison and $3,000 in fines.
Interestingly, not even the Nashville-born Chris Moneymaker, lauded for popularizing online poker (won the WSOP 2003 along with $2.5 million), could persuade the TN leaders to change their minds and consider legalizing this industry.
Still, the state allows playing poker on sweepstakes sites and social gambling platforms. They operate under sweepstakes gaming laws and use a non-monetary currency (sweeps and gold coins), which allows them to stay legal. Players can use sites like this to hone their skills by playing Omaha, Texas Hold’em, and Crazy Pineapple.
Another alternative lies in international poker sites. Many TN players register at these platforms without fear of being prosecuted simply because the law doesn’t explicitly forbid them from doing so.
Offshore poker platforms are licensed by international regulatory bodies, such as the MGA or the Curaçao Gaming Control Board, and offer a gamut of games and tournaments, which is why so many players flock around them. However, some can be fraudulent, so we suggest you always choose the ones with a valid permit and a good reputation.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Land-Based Poker in Tennessee
Tennessee residents cannot legally play poker cash games or tournaments in the state due to the lack of commercial or tribal casinos and racetracks. There was only one attempt to introduce live card rooms in 2015, but that bill failed to reach the Senate.
The law also prohibits organizing poker games at home or in other private spaces, and the Volunteer State authorities have a long history of charging individual players who indulge in playing live poker.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see TN players visiting neighboring Missouri and Mississippi, as they offer plenty of live poker action. Moreover, a Tennessee lobbying group that supports gambling found that TN residents contribute 10% to Mississippi’s overall gambling income.
How to Register on a Legal Online Poker Site in TennesseeIf you decide to join an offshore online poker platform in Tennessee, you will have a wide selection to choose from. Here are the steps you need to take to get started:
Go for a reputable siteScroll up to the beginning of this page and choose an operator you like. We have listed only the top-tier platforms that Tennessee players can safely play on.
Complete the verification process is not always mandatory, but a majority of operators require users to verify their accounts. They will either send you an email with a link you must click on or an SMS code to copy on the clipboard to complete the verification process.
Deposit & PlayYou can now use your credentials to log in. Once there, head to the Banking/Payment section of the site to browse the available payment methods. Check the withdrawal times, fees, and limits of each option before picking the most convenient one.
Grab the welcome deal the operator offers to newly registered players. Before you do it, we advise you to inspect the terms thoroughly and ensure you can meet the wagering requirements in a given time frame.
Explore the operator’s game portfolio and go for a cash game or tournament of your liking. Some cater to casual players and some to poker pros, so take your time to pick what strikes your fancy. Good luck!
Land-Based Casinos With Live PokerAs mentioned, Tennessee doesn’t feature any commercial or tribal brick-and-mortar casinos on its soil. We will update you as soon as possible should something change in this sector.
Until then, the next best thing is visiting a neighboring state offering live poker action. The closest location is Tunica, Mississippi. Since it is only one hour away from Memphis by car and three from Nashville, it is unsurprising that many Tennessee players frequently go there. Tunica is home to a number of land-based gambling halls, from small racinos to huge resort-like casino properties offering plenty of cash games, tournaments, and live shows.
Most land-based gambling facilities in Tunica offer Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, Omaha, and Three-Card Poker, but The Horseshoe Casino has the largest poker room with 25 tables. It hosts daily No-Limit Hold’em tournaments as well as the major ones, like the World Series of Poker.
Should you decide to cross the border and visit this town near the Mississippi River, these are the top three land-based gambling facilities you must visit:
- Hollywood Casino & Hotel — 1150 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Tunica Resorts, Mississippi 38664
- Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall — 1477 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Tunica Resorts, Mississippi 38664
- The Horseshoe Casino Tunica — 1021 Casino Center Dr, Tunica Resorts, Mississippi 38664
Final ThoughtsThe Volunteer State has been extremely conservative regarding all gambling-related matters. However, the state lawmakers surprised everyone by approving daily fantasy sports in 2016 and sports betting in 2020. This has been an extremely significant development in TN that demonstrates how much lawmakers’ attitudes have changed.
Nevertheless, the state still lacks brick-and-mortar casinos, and it seems unlikely that legislators will approve an online industry before developing a live one. So, until online poker rooms are legalized, you can explore our offer of reputable offshore operators and start playing real money games right away.