Texas sports betting right now isn’t quite there yet. However, should it become legal, there is no doubt that it would be one of the most lucrative markets in the US
It was certainly considered during the 2021 legislative session. Several bills were proposed that would legalize sports betting in the state. However, they all failed to cross the line yet. Given that the Texas legislature only meets every 2 years, the next opportunity won’t be until 2023.
For now, let’s take a look at what Texas sports betting might look like if and when it is introduced and what Texas sportsbooks we might see.
Texas Sports Betting Right Now
- 25th March 2022: Texan Mattress Mack put a $1 million bet in March Madness using the Caesars sportsbook in Louisiana, He bet on the East Region to produce the winner at odds of 260+
- 12th March 2022: President of Austin FC, Andy Loughnane announced that the Dallas Cowboys supported the moves to legalize Texas sports betting. He believes this would put them on a level playing field with the other teams in the NFL.
- 4th March 2022: Famous anti-betting proponent, Dan Patrick, won the GOP nomination to run for the role of Texas Lieutenant General.
- 22nd February 2022: Spokesperson for the Sports Betting Alliance, Cara Gustafson, said that there was momentum for the legalization of sports betting in 2023. They will be using the time in between to have conversations with lawmakers. They believe that voting will pass the bills in 2023.
- 8th February 2022: PlayUpi has announced a partnership with the Panther City Lacrosse Club. This would include market access if Texas sports betting is legalized and Panther City is given a license.
- 20th January 2022: Houston Dynamo and Fubo Gaming announced a partnership, potentially giving Fubo Gaming an online sports betting license if and when it is legalized.
- 17th December 2021: Texas Rep. Dan Huberty announced that he believes there is an excellent chance of sports betting legalization in 2023. If presented to the voters in the right way, it looks likely to be approved.
- 31st October 2021: Sports betting operator Bet365 announced a new sports betting alliance with the San Antonio Spurs for a free-to-play prediction game. The sports betting site will also have rights to advertise at the AT&T Center when the team has home games. They will also have a notable presence on Spurs.com as well as its social media channels. This will likely extend to sports betting should it be made legal in the Lone Star state.
- 16th September 2021 Pointsbet was announced as Austin FC’s official sports betting partner. However, it is made clear that sports betting legalization has not been approved in the state, so sports betting in Texas is not available. So, although sports bets will not yet be available at the Q2, they will already have a gambling partner if and when a sports betting bill is passed.
Legal Sports Betting in Texas?
So, is sports betting legal in Texas yet? Well, not right now. Although there was a push for legal sports betting in 2021, the most recent sports betting bill didn’t make it past the committee in April 2021. The next chance they will have to legalize sports betting in Texas won’t be until 2023.
The Current Status of Texas Sports Betting
Right now, it is not yet legal to bet on sports in the Lone Star State. However, legislators in the state are joining those of other states in the consideration of legalizing sports betting. This will help them on their hunt for new ways to increase their budgets.
Supporters of sports betting in Texas failed to make it legal in 2021. There was enough political opposition in the state to make it difficult for the state to legalize wagering on both professional and college sports.
However, it looks as though there may be some changes in the Texas political landscape in 2022. But for now, Texas is very much a bipartisan location – although now they are gradually turning the tide towards being more in support of sports betting. As such, when the legislative session returns in 2023, the legislators might come to a different conclusion – leading to them finally making sports betting legal!
However, until then, Texas professional sports teams including the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys have already started looking to make deals with online sportsbooks. Already MLS team, Austin FC, has announced a deal with PointsBet and Houston Dynamo has already partnered with Fubo.
Also, given that the two states that border Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana, have legalized sportsbetting the pressure is even greater. What with New Mexico offering legal retail sportsbooks and Louisiana offering online sports betting, the Texans will want to get back revenue that should, by rights, be theirs.
When Will Online Sports Betting Launch in Texas?
It isn’t likely that online sports betting will be made legal in Texas before 2023 as the legislature only meets every 2 years. This means there won’t be any way to pass the bill before 2023.
Although opposition to sports betting expansion is embedded into the legislative culture within Austin, residents of Texas don’t generally share that view. In a recent poll, it was suggested that 43% of Texans wanted sports betting legalized, 31% didn’t really care either way and only 26% were actually opposed to it.
The only issue that the state faces is that the group of people most likely to vote in Texas – and those most likely to contribute to political causes in Texas are the older residents. Unfortunately, these are the ones that tend to be the most anti-gambling. As such, it is the minority opposition voters in the Lone Star State that will likely be the most vociferous.
Politicians in Texas will also get contributions from out of state casino interests. For example, the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma owners, the Chickasaw Nation, has donated over $15 million to political interests historically, many in Texas.
So, although it seems that Texas residents seem to be in favor of moving forward in sports betting, there are many political hurdles they will be faced with before it will even reach those voters. It seems that right now, the best indication of whether there will be some shift in Texas sports betting might be what happens in the 2022 midterm elections.
Texas Sports Betting Bills
2023 will not be the first time that gambling proposals are put to the Texas Legislature. However, apart from horse racing measures and the state lottery initiatives, none have ever made it past the committee.
Because of the presence of PASPA, there was no chance for sports betting to be legalized anywhere in the US for over 20 years. However, after PASPA was overturned in 2018, lawmakers in Texans have been emboldened to start proposing sports betting bills to legalize sports betting in the state.
Here are some of the most recent sports betting bills that have been considered in recent years.
- HB 4040: 2015
- HJR 61: 2019
- HB 1121: 2021
- SB 736: 2021
- HJR 68: 2021
- HB 2070: 2021
- HJR 97: 2021
Legal Gambling Options in Texas
Texas is a hugely populous state, with around 29.5 million residents. However, despite this, it is still very limited in terms of legal gambling and betting. However, there are a few ways to gamble legally in the state. Here is exactly what is and isn’t legal in the Lone Star State.
Currently, sports betting in Texas isn’t legal. Although there are lots of online betting sites and apps that claim to accept bets from residents of the US. Because there aren’t any sports betting sites that are federally regulated, these are illegal, offshore and unregulated sports betting operators.
Because they aren’t licensed in the US, it cannot be guaranteed that these sites will pay out any winnings. They might also close operations without returning your funds and you would have no protection.
Gambling in a commercial casino is not allowed in Texas. The only casino gambling options in the state are the two tribal facilities. The only true casino in Texas belongs to the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, located in Eagle Pass. However, because this is right on the border of Mexico, it’s inconvenient for many Texans.
The other is an electronic bingo parlor, Naskila Gaming, which is located on the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s reservation close to Livingston, Texas. However, this second attempt at Tribe’s legalizing casino games has been under threat from the state since it first opened in 2016.
However, it achieved a huge victory in the Federal court, which went some way to making the facility legitimate. However, it is expected that there will be more appeals from the state. Should the state win, then this may have quite an effect on the state of gambling in Texas.
The Texas State Lottery
The main way to gamble in the state of Texas is the Texas Lottery. This is able to offer both lottery draws as well as scratchcards. The lottery draw games offer state only draws as well as multistate games like Powerball and Mega Millions. However, you cannot buy tickets online for the lottery, but there is an app that allows you to check your ticket and find out the closest retailers.
Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in Texas is legal. However, all bets need to be made onsite at one of the tracks in the state. Because of the weather in Texas, horse races are scheduled to avoid the extremes. Having said that, many of their tracks offer simulcast racing and betting all year round. The race track and simulcast facilities in the state include:
- Gillespie County Fair and Festivals in Fredericksburg
- Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie
- Retama Park in Selma
- Sam Houston Race Park in Houston
Greyhound racing in the state is technically legal, but there aren’t any locations that have active racing right now. There are a handful of facilities that offer punters the chance to bet on simulcast greyhound races in the US, but with protests on the treatment of dogs, this is a struggling industry.
Texas does have a number of standalone poker clubs. If you are unsure as to how this could possibly be the case, given its stance on all other forms of gambling, then the answer can be found in the loopholes that can be found in Texan gambling laws.
Officially, poker is illegal under state law, but there are three conditions that could be considered as a defense from prosecution. Basically, the game needs to be played in a private location. All players need to stand an equal chance of winning, and no one that isn’t a part of the game can stand to make a profit from it. As such, poker clubs charge membership fees instead of rakes from the pots.
To date, the Texas attorney general hasn’t yet issued an opinion on the legality of these clubs and whether or not they have a valid defense. This still isn’t a settled matter but there are still places to play poker in the state
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Texas
As Texas is the second most populous state in the state, it comes as no surprise that there are no fewer than 11 Texas professional sports teams in Texas. This includes two NFL teams, three NBA teams, two MLB teams, two MLS teams as well as a WNBA team and a National Women’s Soccer League team.
Texas NFL Betting
NFL betting in Texas – as across all of the US would be the king in Texas if and when it is legalized.
The team with the most support and one of the largest fan bases in the US is the Dallas Cowboys. They have plenty of in-state support. The AT&T Stadium, their home stadium, has the potential to eventually become one of the biggest sportsbooks in the world.
They are also home to the Houston Texans, who debuted in 2002, filling the hole left by the Oilers who relocated to Tennessee.
Texas NBA Betting
Probably the next most popular sport to bet on would be NBA betting – especially given that Texas has three professional NBA teams. However, they all have different levels of popularity in the state.
The San Antonio Spurs are;t the flashiest of teams, but they have won 5 championships to date, most recently in 2015. Then there is the Dallas Mavericks who won their one and only championship in 2011.
Finally, there is the Houston Rockets, although there might be issues in terms of betting on this tram given that its owner, Tilman Fertitta has his own gambling empire.
Texas MLB Betting
Texas has two MLB teams – the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros – and both would be popular with Texas sports betting sites.
In recent years, the Astros have been the most successful of these – having won the World Series in 2017 and reached the World Series in 2019 and 2021. Given the controversy around the 2017 championship, it can’t be denied that Houston has been the hottest ballclub in the Lone Star State.
However, the Texas Rangers haven’t been completely unsuccessful. They have also appeared in two World Series in the last 20 years.
Texas NCAA Betting
As well as professional sports teams, college sports will also receive plenty of attention in Texas if legislation allows it.
There are some colleges that often make postseason games such as the TCU Horned Frogs, Texas A&M Aggies, Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Texas?
As is the case in many US states, daily fantasy sports contests are very much a gray area. Pre 2016, all of the major DFS operators accepted Texans on their site, letting them play for real money. However, this changed when General Ken Paxton said that “a person commits an offense if they make any bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or the performance of a participant in a game or contest. ‘ This means that because DFS depends, in part, on chance, paying to take part in this would be considered a bet. As such, a court would deem betting on Daily Fantasy Sports leagues illegal under section 47.02 of the Penal Code.
Initially, DraftKings and FanDuel released statements declaring that they disagreed with this and things went quiet. It was then revealed in March that FanDuel had been working on a settlement with Paxton. Meanwhile, DraftKings opted to go on its own and fight it in court.
The attempt to legalize DFS with a new law in 2017 failed and, since then, there have been no efforts to officially legalize DFS in Texas.
Is it Legal to Play DFS for Real Money in TX?
It seems as though it should actually be okay for Texans to take part in DFS competitions under current legislation,
Is it Legal for DFS Sites to Operate in TX?
This is slightly more complicated. However, there are a number of sites that still accept residents from Texas:
DraftKings is the biggest of all DFS sites and it still accepts real money bets from Texans
This is currently challenging the opinion that was issued by the state Attorney General that DFS is, in fact, gambling under Texas law. As such, it is still accepting Texans from real-money contests.
The second largest of DFS sites is FanDuel – and has been serving Texans since 2018. FanDuel reached an agreement with the state’s Attorney General in 2016 to avoid possible legal issues further down the road.
Texas Sports Betting FAQ
Who Would Regulate Texas Sports Betting?
Should legislation be passed, it would be likely that there would be a new regulatory board created to oversee sports betting in Texas. However, it might be handed to the Texas Lottery in the short term.
How Old Do You Have to Be To Gamble in Texas?
For the current various types of gambling in Texas, you need to be aged 18 years or older. However, in casino gambling, players are required to be 21 or older. Should sports betting be legalized, then players would also need to be 21 years of age or older.
Is Online Betting Legal in Texas?
No, all sports betting in Texas is illegal, which includes online sports betting and mobile sports betting apps. With the introduction of legalized sports betting, it may well include online betting. However, for now, online gambling is a no.
Any sports betting site that claims it can take bets from residents of Texas is an illegal offshore sportsbook – and these can’t necessarily be trusted to act in a fair way, with bettors having no legal protection.