2021 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 17 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare
Part 5 - Gambling
§ 39-17-501. Part Definitions

Universal Citation: TN Code § 39-17-501 (2021)

As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:


  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:

    1. A lawful business transaction;

    2. 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;

    3. 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;

    4. A fantasy sports contest as defined in § 47-18-1602 and conducted in accordance with the Fantasy Sports Act, compiled in title 47, chapter 18, part 16;

    5. Lawfully accepting or placing a wager on a sporting event in accordance with the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 51, part 3; or

    6. A low-level sports entertainment pool;

  2. “Gambling bet” means anything of value risked in gambling;

  3. “Gambling device or record” means anything designed for use in gambling, intended for use in gambling, or used for gambling;

  4. “Lawful business transaction,” as used in subdivision (1), includes any futures or commodities trading;

  5. “Lottery” means the selling of anything of value for chances on a prize or stake;

  6. “Low-level sports entertainment pool” or “pool” means a type of pari-mutuel betting:

    1. In which a participant:
      1. Pays money for participation in a pool; and

      2. Makes selections based on the participant's predictions of either the outcome of a series of athletic contests of the same sport or the statistics of individual athletes selected by the participant to assemble an imaginary team of athletes;

    2. That does not involve laying odds; and

    3. That has the following characteristics:
      1. The total or cumulative entry fee paid by an individual participant is no more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00);

      2. The total pool is no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000); and

      3. The pool is managed by an individual and not by any type of business entity; and

  7. “Profit” means anything of value in addition to the gambling bet.
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