Texas, also known as the Lone Star State, is one of the nation’s most restrictive states when it comes to gambling. With only a couple of brick-and-mortar casinos and fantasy sports sites in operation, the land-based and online gambling options available to Texans are incredibly limited. In recent years, several attempts to expand the state’s gambling industry have been unsuccessful. So where does Texas stand on the legalization of sports betting after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018? Let’s find out.
Is it legal to bet on sports in Texas?
No, the state of Texas is yet to legalize sports betting. However, residents can bet on horse racing and greyhound racing legally at one of the state’s racetracks. As an alternative to sports betting, Texans can play daily fantasy sports games offered by companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
In February 2019, lawmakers introduced a bill titled HB 1275. This bill sought to trigger a referendum where voters could authorize wagering on professional and collegiate sporting events via mobile and online devices in Texas. Since the introduction of this bill, no progress has been made on legalizing sports betting in Texas.
At the moment, the legalization of sports betting in Texas looks unlikely for a variety of reasons.
The state is dominated by anti-gambling politicians who are opposed to the expansion of gambling activities in the state. The few politicians that are not opposed to it haven’t displayed an interest in expanding the state’s gambling market.
The state’s Attorney General, Ken Paxton, did voice his support for New Jersey when the Garden State challenged the legality of PASPA. According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, Paxton said: “By ending (the federal ban), states can rightfully decide whether they want regulated sports betting or not.” However, it should be noted that Paxton’s support was in opposition to the federal law that commandeered states’ powers to regulate their own industries, rather than his support of gambling.
Where will I be able to place bets on sporting events in Texas?
If Texas were to introduce and successfully approve sports betting legislation, it could be offered at the state’s two land-based casinos, its multiple racetracks, or even online. It remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers can manage to produce a piece of legislation outlining possible sports betting locations.
Which sports will I be able to bet on?
As no sports betting legislation has been introduced, residents can’t bet on any sporting events. If legislation is introduced in the future, it could authorize wagering on professional MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA games as well as collegiate sporting events such as NCAA basketball.
What else can I bet on in Texas?
Being one of the most restrictive states, it should come as no surprise that there are very few gambling options in Texas. Residents can, however, play the Texas Lottery, a government-run lottery that offers a variety of games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. When it comes to online gambling, the only legal activities are daily fantasy sports and games of skill available on sites like WorldWinner. Texans can also enjoy charitable gambling in the form of bingo and raffles.
In terms of casino gambling, there are only two tribal casinos that operate in the Lone Star State. When you consider that Texas is the second largest state with an area of 268,820 square miles, and also the second largest state in terms of population, two casinos is an inadequate number to serve the state. Nevertheless, the state’s two tribal venues offer games such as slots, poker and bingo.
The tribal casinos in Texas are:
|Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino
|794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852, USA
|Naskila Entertainment Center
|540 State Park Road 56
Livingston, Texas 77351, USA
Are offshore gambling sites legal in Texas?
Offshore gambling sites are illegal in Texas. Under state law, participating in any form of unauthorized gambling constitutes a Class C misdemeanor. Texas defines gambling as “an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance.”
Aside from the legality of offshore gambling sites, we suggest avoiding them altogether. This is because these sites are not licensed to serve customers from Texas and are therefore unregulated. Offshore sites are not required to abide by the rules and regulations that are put in place to ensure gambling is fair and safe.
It’s important to remember that offshore gambling sites are usually based in other countries, meaning you have no way of knowing who is handling your money once you make a deposit. On top of this there is no guarantee that the site implements industry standard player protection and safety measures. Offshore sites have also developed a reputation for their use of predatory marketing practices, and in some instances not paying out large winning bets.
You can spot offshore gambling sites by looking at the website’s domain name – domains ending in .EU or .AG aren’t licensed to operate in Texas.
Will it be safe to bet on sports in Texas?
Given the restrictive nature of Texas when it comes to gambling, if the state does legalize sports betting it is sure to be closely regulated by a state regulatory body. With that being said, Texans should be aware that it is up to them to make sure they are gambling responsibly and never wagering more than they can afford to.
If you feel like your gambling habits are getting out of hand or if you feel that you may suffer from problem gambling, there are several resources available in the Lone Star State. Residents can contact the National Council on Problem Gambling for a variety of educational resources and screening tools to help identify gambling addiction. The Texas Department of Health and Services is responsible for health and addiction services in the state and may also provide services for gambling addiction.
You can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via:
Who regulates gambling in Texas?
The Texas Lottery Commission is responsible for overseeing the state lottery, while the state’s horse racing industry is overseen by the Texas Racing Commission.
How old do I have to be to gamble in Texas?
To play the Lottery, bingo or bet on horses or greyhound racing you must be 18 years old. To gamble at one of the state’s tribal casinos you must be 21 years old.
The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Texas
1933 – The state of Texas legalized pari-mutuel wagering at horse racing tracks.
1937 – Betting at racetracks was banned.
1971 – The state authorized charitable gambling.
1982 – The first charitable gambling licenses were issued.
1987 – A voter referendum was held where voters authorized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.
1988 – The first-ever casino cruise in Texas set sail. This led to several legal disputes, one of which required a cruise ship to stop at a foreign port.
1991 – Racetracks in Texas were authorized to broadcast racing events from other states.
1992 – After a voter referendum allowed the lottery to expand its catalogue of games, the Texas state lottery began offering new games such as scratch cards
The same year, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states already had legal sports betting regulations in place.
1996 – legal disputes between the state’s tribes and local government led to the closure and reopening of several high-stakes bingo venues.
2002 – The state won the legal battles with the tribes forcing them to cease operations in the state. The only venues now in operation are located on sovereign tribal land.
2008 – Casino cruise ships ceased all operations.
2018 – On 14 May, the Supreme Court reached a decision on the legality of PASPA. In a 7 – 2 vote it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as it commandeered states’ power to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA a number of US sportsbooks launched across the country.
2019 – in February, a state lawmaker introduced a bill to legalize sports betting in Texas. The bill failed to garner enough support and has since stalled in the early stages of the legislative process.
Remember, Texas has yet to take any major steps towards legalizing sports betting, and when you consider how strict the state is, it is unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. Be sure to check back with Compare.bet for updates on the legalization of sports betting in Texas.