The Volunteer State is one of the most restrictive when it comes to gambling. It has a statewide lottery and some regional lotteries; pari-mutuel wagering on horse races and limited charitable gambling.
What’s unique is that while Tennessee law allows for pari-mutuel wagering on horses, it does not have any live racing.
That apparently stems from the fact that the state has long been a center of horse racing and breeding, including thoroughbreds and the famed Tennessee Walking Horse. The first recorded horse race in the state took place in 1804 in Gallatin.
The state had 10 racetracks by the middle of the 19th century, but In 1906 the Tennessee Legislature passed an anti-betting law, bringing the racing industry to its knees. Horse breeding continued, however, and the 1940 Kentucky Derby winner Gallahadion became the third Tennessee-bred to win the famed race.
In 1987, lawmakers passed the Racing Control Act, which legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and created the Tennessee State Racing Commission to oversee tracks. But no tracks were ever built and the act was repealed in 1998.
Recently the Legislature has made moves to revive the Racing Commission in hopes it would spur development of a new track in the state.
In the meantime, can attend the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, a well-attended, one-day, non-betting steeplechase meet at Percy Warner Park each May. A few tracks in the state also reportedly conduct non-sanctioned quarter horse match races, including Carril de Memphis, an “outlaw” track west of Memphis that openly advertises its race dates on Facebook, according to the Thoroughbred Daily News.
Where to bet on horse racing online in Tennessee?
In the meantime, most major providers of advance deposit wagering, which enables residents to bet on horse races via the telephone or internet, offer online services to customers in Tennessee in 2019. Among horse racing betting sites: AmWager.com; BetAmerica.com; Betptc.com; DRFBets.com; KeenelandSelect.com; NYRABets.com; TVG.com; TwinSpires.com; and XpressBet.com.