Legal Online Gambling in
Texas

Like California and Florida, Texas could become one of the biggest sports betting markets. But as with the Golden and Sunshine States, the sky is filled more with hope than expectation regarding a potential gambling expansion.

Texas

There are currently no legal online gambling options in TX

Welcome to Legal Gambling in TX

Texas is named after one of the most popular gambling games in the world, second only to California in terms of population size and home to ten professional sports teams. Yet, the Lone Star State has no legal gambling framework.

While we can fantasize over just how big TX sports betting and online gaming would be, the fact is Texas remains strongly against a gambling expansion of any kind.

Compared with other states, the lack of progress in moving the subject along the required channels since the repeal of PASPA in 2018 suggests a legal market will not be forthcoming either. According to the American Gaming Association, Texas is one of seven states with no active sports betting legislation for 2020.

Texas Gambling Laws
  • Online sportsbooks ❌
  • Land-based sportsbooks ❌
  • Online casinos ❌
  • Land-based (tribal) casinos ✅
  • Online poker ❌
  • Horse race betting ✅
  • Pari-mutuel betting ✅
  • Lottery ✅
  • Bingo ✅

Texas online gambling FAQs

If you want to wager legally, Texas is probably not the state for you.

Is online gambling legal in Texas?

No. Texas gambling laws are extremely strict. Almost every form of gambling, with the exception of horse and greyhound racing (pari-mutuel wagering) and bingo, is illegal in the state.

When will online gambling be legal in Texas?

Legislation that would authorize sports betting, including mobile and online, and allow for 12 casinos to be built in Texas was part of three separate gambling bills put forward in 2019.

However, the bills have not gained much traction since. For the time being, a gambling expansion in Texas is not under consideration.

Are there casinos in Texas?

No. Commercial casinos are not permitted in Texas. Under strict state gambling laws, “the keeping of a gambling place” is forbidden.

Since the legislation does not apply to Native American tribes, however, there are two tribal casinos in Texas.

What gambling options are available in Texas?

Gambling in Texas is very restricted so options are few and far between.

Horse and greyhound racing is available to wager on providing you do on-site at one of the licensed tracks in the state.

The Texas Lottery operates from licensed retailers.

What about poker in Texas. Is that legal?

The question of whether poker is legal in Texas is a legal gray area. Technically speaking, under current Texas gambling laws, the playing of poker is not prohibited. It only becomes illegal if the house takes a cut or benefits financially. Several poker clubs have taken advantage of the ambiguity and opened their doors to players. But law enforcement officials deem poker rooms illegal so it remains to be seen if this remains as an option.

Is Bovada legal in Texas?

No. Bovada is not a licensed and regulated US betting site. Sites like Bovada operate offshore and are not governed by a regulatory body - this puts the online safety and security of players at risk. Right now, the lines between legal and illegal gambling are blurred which allows sites such as Bovada to appear legit. But it is not. Even if online gambling was legal in Texas, Bovada would not become a legal option.

Texas Gambling Laws - The Current Landscape

Gambling laws in the state are extremely strict. Under the terms of the legislation, casino gambling including slots, blackjack, and roulette and sports betting are considered illegal in Texas.

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule; horse and greyhound racing are permitted, as are bingo and the Texas Lottery. A gray area in the law has seen several poker rooms pop-up in the state but the legality of these establishments remains unclear.

Texas Legal Gambling Options

As mentioned, gambling options in Texas, whether it be in-person or online, are severely limited. Aside from two tribal casinos - the Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass and Naskila Entertainment Center in Livingston, there are no legal gambling establishments and no legal gambling sites for patrons to visit.

This remains the case for 2020 and will be the situation for the foreseeable. But if you do have the itch to gamble on sports, you can jump in your car and legally cross the border into states with legal sports betting: New Mexico or Arkansas.

New Mexico has sports betting operating in four tribal casinos, even though sports betting hasn’t yet been legalized in the state itself. Arkansas went live with sports betting in July 2019. As it stands there are retail sportsbooks at two casinos and one racino in AR. Neither state offers mobile wagering which means all betting must take place on-site.

Will we see legal online gambling in Texas soon?

Don’t bet on it in the short to medium term. A lot needs to happen for the situation to change.

A bill, yet to be acted on, that would authorize mobile and online sports betting was filed in 2019. The legislation will require a referendum that will amend the state constitution and will then need to be approved by state voters if the bill is included on the November ballot. Before this, the bill must be approved by the House and Senate.

This said, if Texas residents are able to access legal sports betting markets closer to home - in Oklahoma and/or Louisiana, two states moving along with planned legal markets - the pressure on state legislators to keep revenues in-state will build.

Whether this will be the tip of the iceberg is another question seen as the state is already losing out on potential tax revenue to illegal sports betting.

But, at least, there is a small glimmer of hope in The Lone Star State.

Sports teams in Texas

There would be no shortage of sports teams to wager on in Texas. In total the state is the home of ten professional teams across the biggest and best US sports.

It's just unfortunate sports gambling in Texas is forbidden as it stands.

NFL

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Houston Texans

NBA

  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Houston Rockets
  • Dallas Mavericks

MLB

  • Houston Astros
  • Texas Rangers

NHL

  • Dallas Stars

MLS

  • Houston Dynamo
  • FC Dallas