Texas Online Sports Betting Laws
It’s the second most populous state in the union, and it’s home to a huge batch of big four teams. But Texas is nowhere near allowing its citizens to bet on all the great sporting action going on in the Lone Star State or elsewhere.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is Sports Betting Legal in Texas?
No, there is no such thing as legal Texas sports betting – and that is not likely to change soon.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Texas?
No, Texas online sports betting has not been legalized and the state’s lawmakers remain highly opposed to it.
Texas could potentially have one of the most lucrative sports betting markets in the United States. Its population, at more than 29 million, is second only to California. And the state is home to some of the country’s most famous pro sports teams as well as a long list of outstanding college programs.
Among the teams who play here are the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, officially the sports team with the highest brand value in the world. All three of the state’s NBA teams have won championships, the Houston Astros have won the World Series and the Dallas Stars have won the Stanley Cup.
This is a state that loves its sport and loves to bet. It has been estimated that Texans spend $2.5 billion a year in border casinos in other states. However, the state’s lawmakers and many other powerful social interests remain entrenched in their unwillingness to entertain the idea of Texas sports betting.
That’s despite growing public opinion in favor. A March 2021 poll showed 57% of residents want casino gambling, and 43% are keen on sports betting. Eight bills were launched at the start of the 2021 legislative session, but only two managed to get committee time, and none reached final approval.
Owners of many of the leading sports teams in Texas, keen for a share in the massive potential sports betting market in the state, have thrown their weight behind legalization efforts. Texas faces a budget deficit in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, a consideration that has also encouraged the interest of some politicians in sports betting. However, in this deeply conservative state, there is no shortage of opposition.
Dan Patrick, the state’s lieutenant governor, showed the height of the obstacles that Texas sports betting must clear with some forthright comments in February 2021. Patrick said bluntly that sports betting was “not going to see the light of day this session”. He added that Texas Democrats, in a minority in the state Senate, were “nowhere close” to being able to force the public vote that would be needed to change the state constitution and allow sports betting. With various different parties pushing for legalization, and a heap of opponents firmly dug in, it is extremely unlikely that Texas sports betting will become a reality in the near future.
Although online horse racing betting, just like all other forms of sports betting, is prohibited within the state, Texans can bet on live horse races in-person at any of the state’s authorized racetracks, which also offer simulcasting to facilitate betting on races held elsewhere.
This wasn’t always the case for one of the world’s oldest sports. In 2011, state lawmakers amended the Texas Racing Act to prohibit advance deposit wagering – taking bets online – and as a result this has had a significant hit on horse racing within the state. Today, you can find live racing at four horse-racing tracks, Gillespie Fair and Festivals, Lone Star Park, Retama Park, and Sam Houston Race Park, as well as three dog-racing venues.
The situation over Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Texas epitomizes the curious relationship many states have with fantasy games and with sports betting in general. DFS is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Texas, with an estimated four million regular players in the state, yet it operates on questionable legal ground. FanDuel and DraftKings, the two largest DFS operators in the US, both offer games in the state – although FanDuel had pulled out of Texas for a couple of years after the state’s attorney general said in 2016 the activity might be illegal.
DraftKings, on the other hand, never stopped offering its products in the state and instead sued over the Attorney’ General’s interpretation of Texas law, with the case still pending. Since then, several bills to decide the legality of DFS one way or the other have failed to pass. Meanwhile, with a plethora of great sports teams to follow and inform their choices, the millions of daily players are happily continuing to enjoy their DFS games.
Texas is football country. The state is home to two NFL sides, the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys. With five Super Bowl championships, albeit none since 1995, the Cowboys are one of the biggest names in the league. There is also a huge amount of quality college football played in the state.
Even in a state as historically opposed to the very concept of gambling as Texas, there is an acceptance that people will find ways to place wagers. Nevertheless, there are a couple of agencies on hand to help if people run into problems. The vast majority of people who enjoy gambling do so responsibly, but there are resources on hand for the few who do not:
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is struck down by the US Supreme Court, clearing the way for states to legalize sports betting.
Bills are launched to legalize Texas sports betting and to build 12 new casinos. Not one gains any traction.
Eight more bills are launched envisaging various forms of sports betting, but the opposition remains unmoving.
There are currently no locations for legal Texas sports betting.
In the unlikely event that Texas sports betting is eventually legalized, the state may follow a model such as the one used in Arizona, where a portion of the sports betting licenses go to the state’s professional sports teams and facilities, in some combination with the state’s racetracks and tribal casinos. You can find an up-to-date list of the state’s tribal casinos here.
|Kickapoo Lucky Eagle||Native American Tribal Casino||794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852|
|Naskila Gaming||Native American Tribal Casino||540 State Park Rd 56, Livingston, TX 77351|
No. Online sports betting has not been legalized in Texas. That means there are no licensed Texas betting sites. Despite the size of the opportunity, many politicians in this deeply conservative state remain rigidly opposed to Texas sports betting.
Bet365 is one of the biggest online bookmakers across the globe. However, Texas online betting has not been legalized, so Bet365 is not authorized to operate in the Lone Star State at this time.
Texas sports betting has not been legalized, and it is unlikely that this will change in the near future. The only form of sports betting allowed in Texas is on horse racing. The legalization of Texas online sports betting on a wider range of sports remains a distant prospect in this famously anti-gambling part of the world.
As things stand, there is no location where you can enjoy Texas sports betting, and no sportsbook is licensed to offer Texas online betting. Although there may be some offshore sportsbooks who offer wagers to people in the state, these operators are not licensed or regulated and if you have a dispute with them you will have no legal back-up.