Gambling options are minimal in the Lone Star State.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018. Courts voted to allow each state to propose and create their own laws and regulations for sports betting. However, Texas had outlawed most gambling many decades before PASPA.
So while Texas is free to legislate legal sports betting, they have been slow to do so.
Gambling in Texas is limited to the state lottery, horse and greyhound racing, bingo, and various charitable games. Gambling on tribal lands is exempt from state law. As such, tribes can offer all your traditional casino-style games like slots, cards, and table games. However, there are only two such tribal casinos in the entire state. And their locations, one on the Mexican border and the other in Livingston, make them nearly unreachable for most of the population.
The one exception is private poker clubs; 18 are fully operational in Texas. Private poker clubs found a loophole and have taken advantage of a legal technicality. Lawmakers frown upon the gaming, but no legal action has been taken to stop them from happening.
When it comes to daily fantasy, lawmakers deemed the activity illegal in 2016. However, there’s been nearly no action taken by any state in the US against DFS players where these games are deemed illegal. So playing these games in Texas falls into a grey area.
Until Texas legalizes sports betting, neighboring states of New Mexico and Arkansas do offer legal sports betting.
When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in Texas?
In 2019, there were some positive developments for sports betting and gambling in the state. Two bills were created to legalize sports betting in House Joint Resolution 61 and House Bill 1275. Another, House Bill 3043, was put forth to build 12 casinos in counties that voted in favor of doing so were introduced. Unfortunately, none of the bills gained any traction.
No current bills are being discussed in 2020. Should a future bill be introduced, it would need to gain a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate and then be put to a referendum vote to amend the state constitution in a later election. With Texas being a historically conservative state, the move to accept legal sports betting may not be in the cards anytime soon.
Should sports betting continue to expand in the US, the potential market may be too big to ignore. Texas is the second-most populous state in the country and is home to numerous high-profile major sports teams.
Texas is home to the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas, Houston Astros, Houston Dynamo, Houston Rockets, and soon to be MLS expansion side Austin FC. Additionally, Texas is a hotbed for college and high school sports and ranching and rodeos, with sports heavily ingrained in the state’s culture.
According to Dallas News, estimates say Texans spend approximately $2.5 billion a year at border casinos in other states, an astonishing amount for lawmakers to allow to continue to be spent elsewhere.
Texas Sports Betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in Texas?
Currently, sports betting is not legal in Texas, whether that be in-person or through mobile wagering. However, horse racing and pari-mutuel betting are legal in the state, and there are tracks throughout where gamblers can make wagers.
Are there any casinos in Texas?
In the entire state, only two tribal casinos operate to serve gamblers in Texas. One is in Livingston, and the other is in Eagle Pass.
What are the professional sports teams in Texas?
Texas is home to a ton of pro sports teams. The Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers of the MLB, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo of MLS, the NHL’s Dallas Stars, and the WNBA’s Dallas Wings all call Texas home.