In the State of Tennessee, those who lose due to unlawful gambling may bring action to recover the losses within ninety days of having delivered the money or property to the winner. That failing, the spouse or children of that person have twelve months after the expiration of the ninety days to do so and creditors of that person have 24 months after the expiration of the ninety days.  

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.

In the State of Tennessee, a Class C Misdemeanor can carry with it a fine of no more than $50 and no more than thirty days in jail.  

The offense of promoting gambling can either be a Class B Misdemeanor or Class E Felony depending on the specific circumstances and whether or not the individual in question is an owner, manager, supervisor or operator of the illegal form of gambling.  

Tennessee does take its laws seriously, just last month, two men were arrested for an illegal poker ring and citations were issued to eleven other individuals.

There was a bust in 2013, prior to Tennessee having a legal state lottery, of an illegal numbers game during which over $100,000 was seized.

Another illegal poker game was busted up at a VFW lodge in 2014 in which forty-eight individuals were cited with misdemeanors.

There is some hope for online gambling in the state, however, as Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was legalized earlier this year. Naturally, we can find no recent record of anyone being arrested for playing online, in their own home, acting as a mere player.

Overall, we have to look at Tennessee as a Lightly restrictive state because there are potential theoretical penalties for individuals playing online and acting as mere players. Furthermore, the state has been quite zealous is making raids on other forms of unlawful gambling. However, we will rank the state low in this category due to their legalization of DFS.


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