Thanks to recent pushes for new legislation, Texas bettors could finally see the legalization of sportsbooks. Despite many failed attempts in recent years, online betting is closer for Texans than it has ever been before.
The recent movement has already gained a lot of support throughout the state. Bettors in TX currently have daily fantasy sports (DFS) options. While it does not seem likely the state will legalize internet casinos or online poker rooms any time soon, that is not the case for online sports betting.
Read on for an extensive rundown of the online gambling situation and its future in the Lone Star State.
The Status of Legal Online Gambling in Texas
While many players have been hoping for updates for years, online gambling only recently made headway in the legislation process in TX. Below, we will discuss the legal status of various types of gambling:
Online Sportsbooks in Texas
Texas lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill in 2023. The bill, HJR 102, called for asking voters that November whether the Lone Star State should have sports betting. The bill won passage in the House of Representatives — the first time a gaming bill has ever cleared the chamber.
But Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a staunch conservative who presides over the Senate, refused to consider the bill — effectively killing the legislation.
The Texas Legislature meets every other year. Its next session begins on January 14, 2025. But considering that Patrick will still be in office at that time, it’s unclear if sports betting will become legal in Texas anytime soon.
Online Casinos in TX
Currently, Texas law prohibits any form of online gambling. While sports betting has recently gained traction, that is not the case for online casinos. Unfortunately, bettors are unlikely to see this form of gambling legalized in TX any time soon.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas
In the Lone Star State, lawmakers labeled fantasy sports as a skill-based game. Legally, it is not considered gambling like casinos and sportsbooks are. Texans can enjoy daily fantasy sports (DFS) online at FanDuel or DraftKings.
Legal Gambling Activities in Texas
Texans can enjoy a few forms of legal gambling, including:
Texas has a state lottery that has operated since 1992. You cannot buy tickets online, but you can download an app to do things like scan retail purchases to see if they are winners. Texans can participate in Mega Millions, Lotto Texas, Powerball, Pick 3, Texas Two Step, Daily 4, and scratch-off tickets.
Horse and Greyhound Racing
Texas also allows pari-mutuel wagers on horse and greyhound racing. Winnings come from a pool of all bets on that event. Unfortunately, you cannot place bets online.
Daily Fantasy Sports
As mentioned earlier, fantasy sports are allowed in Texas. You can bet online at DraftKings and FanDuel.
Legal vs. Illegal Offshore Online Sports Betting in Texas
Legal sports betting sites are much safer than illegal ones, which carry several risks for bettors. Legal ones provide fair games, responsible gambling tools, and reliable odds and wagers. They securely handle personal banking and ensure you receive your payouts.
Illegal ones, on the other hand, do not offer these protections. They only care about making money, and could disappear with your funds at any moment.
Illegal Online Gaming Offered in Texas
Texans need to be aware that many illegal online gaming operators target them, offering sports betting, casino games, and poker. You may even see them advertised on Google and mistake them for legitimate sites.
Why Offshore Betting Sites are Unsafe
Illegal offshore betting sites are unsafe for Texans. Your money is not protected, as they are known to disappear with player funds, confiscate balances for made-up reasons, invalidate bets that win large amounts, and more.
They may even stall your payout in hopes you lose it all on wagers or have it seized by authorities during processing. Plus, you could have your identity stolen. If any of these happen, you do not have a regulatory authority to remedy them.
Additionally, you will not find any resources to help you if you experience problem gambling behaviors. These sites do not care about players, leaving them to fend for themselves. They even use high wagering requirements to make their bonuses nearly impossible to clear.
You are not benefitting your community when you use offshore sites, and you could get into legal trouble.
How to Know a Site is Legal, Regulated, and Safe
Look for these four signs to easily determine if a site is legal or illegal:
- USGamingReview.com Approval: The easiest way to tell if a site is legal or illegal is to visit our site and read our thorough review.
- State Regulator: Legal sites will have a state regulator seal, typically displayed on the footer of the home page.
- Welcome US Players: Terminology stating “US players welcome” can indicate that the site is illegal, as legal options are regulated on a state-by-state basis.
- Cryptocurrency: If a site accepts any cryptocurrency, it is illegal.
- Domain: Sites that end in anything other than “.com” (”.ag,” “.eu,” “.lv,” etc) are likely illegal.
Why Choose a Legal US Online Sports Betting Site?
Texans should choose a legal US betting site when they become available because they will:
- Provide fair games audited by recognized state gaming authorities
- Use responsible gambling measures
- Be held accountable by reliable authorities that protect players from shady practices
Best of all, they will benefit the local community. Texans who go with legal online gambling sites will likely support:
- Education: In many states, a percentage of gambling revenue goes towards education.
- Problem Gambling Services: Legal US betting sites send part of their revenue towards gambling services throughout their state that help problem gamblers.
- Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: States like New Jersey have dedicated a percentage of gross income from online gambling to fund programs helping these persons.
- Local Jobs: Supporting US-based gambling sites creates local jobs, stimulating the economy and helping those who need work.
- Other Community Benefits: Some states allocate tax revenue where it sees the most need. For example, In Detroit, Michigan, it is used to hire and train patrol officers.
Responsible Gaming Resources in Texas
While nearly all online gambling is still illegal in TX, several responsible gambling resources are still available. If online sportsbooks launch in the state soon, they will need a responsible gambling page with links and contact numbers to the state’s services. The main options in Texas include:
- Texas Gamblers Anonymous: This group of problem gamblers meets regularly to share their experiences and support for each other. It has branches in Austin (512-860-2958), Fort Worth (817-371-0624), Dallas (214-675-0939), San Antonio (210-705-4429), and Houston (855-442-7105).
- Texas Department of State Health Services: You can contact this department at 888-963-7111. It is responsible for health and addiction services in TX and provides information on problem gambling.
- Kindbridge Behavioral Health: This online therapy provider is available at 877-426-4258. It provides individualized treatment plans for its clients.
- Gam-Anon: This organization provides help for the family and friends of problem gamblers. Its contact number is 718-352-1671.
- National Problem Gambling Helpline: You can call or text 800-522-4700 for confidential help 24/7. It has 28 call centers that provide services to all 50 states.
Texas Gaming Regulator Information
In TX, the Texas Lottery Commission oversees the state lottery, while the Texas Racing Commission has authority over horse and greyhound races. You can visit their websites to learn more information about gambling regulations in the state.
History of the Lone Star State Online Gambling Legislation
Despite being the birthplace of Texas Hold’em, the state has adopted heavy gambling regulations over the years. It outlawed most forms of gambling in the 1920s, and online gambling has had an uphill legislation battle:
- 1978: Texas legalizes horse and dog racing
- 1991: Texas lottery launches
- 2018: Supreme court overturns PASPA
- 2019: Texas Representative Eddie Lucio III introduces a bill called HB 1275 that details sports regulation and House Joint Resolution 6, which would allow a vote on amending the state constitution
- 2023: Legislation to put the question of legal sports betting before voters in November passes the House but is rejected by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. It is the first time a sports betting bill cleared the House.
- 2025: The Texas Legislature will begin its next session on January 14, 2025.
Is online gambling legal in Texas?
Online gambling is not currently legal in Texas. Lawmakers tried to pass a sports betting bill in 2023 but were unsuccessful. Texans can bet on fantasy sports sites, as these are considered skill-based contests rather than gambling.
Since online gambling is not legal in TX, is choosing an illegal offshore site safe?
No, choosing an illegal offshore site is not safe. They leave your money at risk, may not have fair gameplay, and do not offer responsible gambling tools.
What are the risks of playing at an illegal offshore online sports betting site?
Playing at an illegal offshore online sports betting site carries the following risks:
- Slow payouts to encourage more betting
- Account closures for players who win money
- Unfair gameplay
- No help for problem gamblers
Can I bet at legal US sportsbooks using cryptocurrencies?
No, you can not legally bet at sportsbooks with any form of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin. Any sites that accept this form of payment operate illegally.
Where can I get the latest news about online sports betting in Texas?
For the latest news about the efforts to legalize sports betting in Texas, make sure to check USGamingReview.com/news/ regularly.