The campaign for Texas sports betting legalization has been met with many obstacles. While there is much public support for legalizing sports wagering, and the voters clearly favor it, the notoriously conservative Lone Star State has been reluctant to move with the times.
Texas’s strict moral stance toward sports gambling contradicts the state’s strong reputation for professional league teams. Nevertheless, the state has produced some of the world’s most renowned sporting franchises, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. Indeed this offers many opportunities for Texas sports betting hopefuls and the state’s economy.
Despite prominent names in the Texas sporting industry pushing for change and neighboring states moving to legalize sports betting, the Lone Star State remains firmly against sports gambling. But is there still hope for advocates of Texas sports betting?
Best Texas Sports Betting Sites
The following are the best Texan sports betting sites for Texas residents. These texas betting sites offer the most fabulous betting options for casual bettors and high-stakes gamblers. Each website carries a license issued by a well-known e-gaming organization and has been checked to ensure that it complies with the industry’s most stringent safety and protection standards:
BetOnline is a well-known brand in the world of online sports betting and is likely recognizable to anybody who has participated in this industry for any length of time. This online sports betting site has a reputation for having first-to-market bets on offer, as well as competitive welcome bonuses and high-quality betting markets.
It was founded in the early years of the new millennium and has since grown to become one of the top 50 largest betting sites in total wager volume.
If we didn’t include Xbet in our top four picks for the finest Texas sportsbook sites, we wouldn’t be doing Xbet the justice they deserve. Even though it has only been around for a short while, Xbet has already established a strong presence in the industry by successfully luring customers to its websites with a diverse range of lucrative welcome bonuses. If a player plans to place any bets on sports via the website, they may take advantage of a hefty promotion coupon.
The middle of the 2010s saw the debut of the MyBookie sportsbook. The organization possesses a current gaming license issued by Costa Rica and is regarded as one of the most popular digital places for residents of Texas who engage in online sports betting.
BetUS is one of the oldest sportsbooks in the industry, and it takes bets from Texas residents. The betting service, which began operations in 1994, provides customers with a betting environment that is both legitimate and protected by a gaming license issued by Costa Rica.
If you have ever participated in Texas online sports betting, then there is a good possibility that you are familiar with Bovada. This sportsbook, which Calvin Ayre launched in the early 2010s and has since grown to become one of the most well-known betting companies in the United States, was founded by Ayre.
At Sportsbetting.ag, you’ll discover everything you want for a thrilling betting experience in one convenient location. This Texas-based network offers wagering on various sporting events, from the Super Bowl to horse racing.
With a gaming license from Curacao, one of the most renowned gambling jurisdictions in the world, BUSR has established itself as one of the most trustworthy sportsbooks in Texas. Since it has been running for some time, our review team looked into whether or not any concerns had not been handled. Given the operator’s track record, it should not be a surprise that we could not locate any.
Everygame is a top online Texas sports betting service, and one of the reasons for this is its thorough coverage of the most recent football lines before each game. Not only does Everygame offer betting lines for all major sports, but they also offer live betting.
Jazz Sports is one of the most exciting places to wager a sports bet in Texas, and they’ve been doing it for more than three decades. It offers a diverse selection of casino games, live wagering, alternatives to sports betting, and live betting odds on various subjects, including entertainment, politics, sports, and other areas of interest. In addition, bettors worldwide have the opportunity to place wagers on sports as well as crypto esports with Jazz Sports. It is an online casino with various games, including poker, baccarat, and others.
When it comes to online sports betting in Texas, Betanysports provides customers with a comprehensive menu to cover virtually every major athletic event taking place anywhere in the globe, in addition to other options. Betanysports allows customers to place wagers on various prominent sports, including baseball, pro and college basketball, hockey, pro and college football, golf, tennis, car racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts.
Legal Sports Betting In Texas
Online sports wagering is still illegal in Texas. However, if and when Texas online sports betting does become regulated, it’s likely that all the leading US-based online and mobile sports gambling operators will be lined up to grab their place in what is sure to be a vast market. Industry experts predict that the Texas sports betting market could bring in more than $230 million in annual revenue for the state.
Despite strong support and several bills to change the law, the Texas government still won’t consider legalizing sports gambling. However, US gambling and federal laws don’t acknowledge sportsbooks out with the country; therefore, Texas sports betting hopefuls can – and do – legally place bets via offshore sportsbooks.
How To Pick A Texas Sports Betting Site
As online sports wagering is still illegal in the Lone Star State, Texas sports betting enthusiasts have to look to offshore sites to gamble legally. However, bettors should be cautious when choosing online sportsbooks.
Any site you choose should be licensed by a renowned e-gaming operator and have robust security features. While you might be tempted to go with a site that advertises the best promotions and odds, be highly vigilant and select only a trusted operator. Another factor to consider when choosing an online sportsbook is evidence of decent customer services – such as an extensive FAQ section, a 24-hour chat option, and positive customer reviews.
History / Timeline Of Sports Betting in Texas
Despite its strict moral stance, Texas has quite a long history of gambling. In the days of the Wild West, betting via games of chance was everywhere in Texas, and it was usual to see cards being played at saloon tables in towns across the state. However, as the Lone Star State developed and moved on from its Frontier roots, it headed towards a much more conservative culture, where it has more or less remained.
Texas sports betting history can be traced back to the beginning of the State Fair and Rodeo in 1885. Originally known as the Denton County Fair, the rodeo was the place to be, regularly attracting bettors from far and wide. Horse racing was the event’s premier attraction, and people would travel far and wide to wager at the fair’s 40-acre racetrack. But Texas sports betting fans were to be dealt a massive blow at the turn of the century.
In 1903, Texas outlawed all types of gambling in the state, including pari-mutuel betting. Subsequently, the County Fair, built predominantly around horse racing, was forced to cease its operations. Betting on horses remained illegal in Texas for three decades, only reintroduced in the few years before the Second World War. Surprisingly, it was the Great Depression that helped to revive horse racing and gave some hope to Texas sports betting fans. In an attempt to generate income during this period of economic crisis, the state of Texas decided to legalize pari-mutuel betting.
In 1979, Texas voted to make a constitutional amendment allowing charitable organizations – such as churches, veterans groups, and volunteer fire departments, among others – to offer bingo games. This amendment, which required that the proceeds from bingo were used for the charities’ causes, was adopted in 1980 and passed by the legislation the following year. This law was built to allow charitable organizations to hold raffles with non-cash prizes by the decade’s end.
In 1989, a grey area in the law gave Texas sports betting fans a lifeline when casino cruise ships began docking in the state’s ports. As these ships would take passengers out into international waters where there were no gambling laws, Texans were free to bet away in their casinos. Officials in the coastal town of Galveston successfully pushed to repeal the law so that ship casinos could operate within Texan ports. However, at the start of 1991, federal prosecutors stated that they would enact a 1948 law that required gambling ships to sail for at least 24 hours or visit foreign ports.
The Texas sports betting campaign made some progress, albeit slowly, in the 1990s. House Bill 54 was introduced in July 1991 and called for the creation of a state lottery. A few months later, on November 5, Texan voters approved a constitutional amendment to authorize the sale of lottery tickets in the state. The new lottery, operated and regulated by the Texas Lottery Commission, was rolled out across the state in 1992. The Texas Lottery still exists today and offers scratch-off and drawing games, such as Mega Millions and Powerball.
The period spanning the late 1990s and early 2000s was a disappointing time for Texas sports betting fans and for tribal enterprises.
Via the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, some native tribes decided to make attempts to open up their casinos. The Tigua tribe was the first to act, opening the Speaking Rock high-stakes bingo hall in El Paso in 1993. Over a year, the Speaking Rock expanded to offer games of chance, such as poker and a blackjack variant. Slot machines were then installed in 1996. The Tigua hoped to expand the Speaking Rock’s operations further by developing it into a Class III gaming casino; however, the state rejected their plans. Finally, following several reattempts by the Tigua and legal battles with the state, the Speaking Rock was closed in February 2002.
Unfortunately, other tribes’ plans were met with a similar fate. For example, the Kickapoo opened their Lucky Eagle Casino in 1993 at Eagle Pass. Alongside poker, a blackjack variant, and bingo, the venue offered pull-tab dispensers similar to slot machines. However, the state argued that the dispensers were slots and violated the law after taking the tribe to court, forcing them to close the Lucky Eagle in 2002. The state took the same action against the Alabama-Coushatta tribe when it opened a gaming facility in Texas.
Things were looking up for the tribal casinos in Texas in 2015 when the National Indian Gaming Commission announced that the Tigua and Alabama could legally offer gaming. This led to both tribes reopening their casinos as entertainment centers in 2016. Meanwhile, the Kickapoo have endured years of legal battles with the government but has been able to keep their Lucky Eagle open.
The Texas sports betting movement was shaken in January 2016 when Attorney General Ken Paxton openly challenged daily fantasy sports by stating that a court would rule them illegal. The state sought to determine a proper definition for the legality of daily fantasy sports and took the matter to court. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of daily fantasy sports operators, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, no doubt to the relief of Texas sports betting fans. The state subsequently legalized daily fantasy sports in 2019 with House Bill 2303.
May 2018 saw a landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court that would pave the way for states to sanction sports wagering. The Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which had imposed a federal ban on sports betting. This ruling thereby enabled individual states to pass their own sports gambling laws.
Texas was surprisingly quick to lobby for legalized sports betting for a traditionally conservative state. In February 2019, less than a year after the overturning of PAPSA, Texas legislators made the first of several attempts to legalize sports betting with House Bill 1275. Texas State Representative Eddie Lucio III introduced the bill detailing potential future Texas sports betting regulations. The bill stated that the Texas Commission Licensing and Regulation would regulate the subsequent Texas sports betting industry. It would allow for wagering on both professional and college sports, and there would be a 6.25% tax on all sports bets. Lucio also presented House Joint Resolution 61, which called for a referendum to amend the constitution on Texas sports betting.
While the legislature would ultimately vote against the bills brought forward by Lucio, their very introduction marked the start of what was to become a very strong battle by Texas sports betting advocates.
The Texas sports betting movement gained traction in 2021 when some of the state’s most prominent sports teams gave their backing to form the Sports Betting Alliance. The group aims to lobby government officials and rally public support to regulate sports gambling. Among its members are powerful figures such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban owner.
More progress was made in the Texas sports betting campaign that same year. House Bill 1121, authorizing sportsbook operators to provide mobile sports betting in Texas, was introduced by Harold Dutton in March 2021. A month later, the owners of the Las Vegas Sands launched a multi-million campaign supporting House Joint Resolution 133, a bill sanctioning casino games in the state’s four largest cities.
On May 25 2021, House Bill 393, which was geared towards legalizing Texas sports betting, was introduced. However, the legislature concluded a few days later without any Texas sports betting bills making it to a vote. On July 14, Texas lawmakers, led by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, rejected all attempts by gaming companies to legalize online sports wagering. The issue was tabled until at least January 2023.
Despite such setbacks, Texas sports betting supporters seemed undeterred, and the succeeding months saw a few developments. In May 2022, BetMGM announced exclusive sports betting partnership with the Houston Astros. A month later, the US Supreme Court ruled that Texas has no authority to ban electronic bingo on tribal territory due to the law’s not prohibiting the game. Instead, the ruling reaffirmed tribal authority to regulate non-prohibited gaming.
By August 2022, Texas sports betting advocates were still pushing for a change in the state’s gambling laws. The battle toward Texas sports betting regulation continues despite the most recent deadline to have a bill on the ballot.
Texas Sports Teams
The Lone Star State’s conservative stance toward sports gambling contrasts with its reputation for professional sporting teams. Texas is a vast sports state, with major league teams from Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. In addition, the state has teams in all four of the major North American professional leagues, and all clubs have a loyal support base. Subsequently, future Texas sports betting hopefuls have a long list of betting options.
Texans love their football, and the state has two teams represented in the National Football League, both hugely successful. The most well-known of these are the Dallas Cowboys, who have won five Super Bowls and, with fans all over the United States, are often referred to as ‘America’s Team.’ The Houston Texans are the state’s other professional NFL team and compete against the Cowboys in the state’s famous Governor’s Cup.
As well as the Cowboys and the Texans, the Lone Star State has two XFL rival teams – the Dallas Renegades and the Houston Roughnecks, which both launched in 2020.
Basketball is prominent in the state and could offer Texas sports betting aficionados some opportunities. The Lone Star State has three professional teams in the National Basketball Association, all of which have massive followings and are highly successful. The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs both have several NBA titles under their belts, while the Dallas Mavericks have won the championship once.
Texas sports betting devotees who enjoy baseball will find various options if the state legalizes sports gambling. Two Major League Baseball teams call Texas their home – winners of the 2017 World Series, the Houston Astros, and the Texas Rangers.
The popularity of ice hockey in Texas has been growing steadily since the early 1990s. The Dallas Stars, once the Minnesota North Stars, play in the National Hockey League and could offer Texas sports betting hopefuls an option for wagering.
Out with the ‘Big Four’ leagues, Texas has three Major League Soccer teams – FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, and Austin FC. The state also has the Dallas Wings representing it in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Texas is particularly proud of its collegiate athletics teams, many of which are highly successful and might therefore be of interest to Texas sports betting fans. There is 12 Division I schools from Texas in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the most of any other US state.
Rodeos are big bucks in the Lone Star State and could offer another option for Texas sports betting hopefuls. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are the biggest in the world, while the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show is the longest-running.
Retail Sports Betting in Texas
There are currently 20 casinos in Texas, but unfortunately, the state ban on Texas sports betting extends to these land-based venues. While bettors can enjoy card and table games, there is not much choice regarding gambling options. Some major cities such as San Antonio and Dallas have legal poker rooms; so-called game rooms exist throughout the state and offer slot machines with non-cash prizes.
Regarding casinos, the best option for Texas sports betting hopefuls is to take a trip elsewhere. All the states bordering Texas – Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana – have at least some form of legalized sports betting.
Three federally-recognized tribes in Texas are authorized under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to build and manage casinos on their reservations. However, the government of Texas opposes this and has battled with the Kickapoo, Tigua, and Alabama-Coushatta tribes for decades to close down their casinos. The tribes have all shown tough resistance against the state’s legal battles and between them, and at present, there are three tribal-operated casinos in the state.
The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass offers slot machines, bingo, and poker and, despite being shut down by the state in 2002, has since reopened and is thriving. The Speaking Rock Casino, owned by the Tigua tribe, was also forced to close in 2002 but was able to reopen as an entertainment center with no gambling. Texas’ third tribal casino is Naskila Gaming in Livingston, which is managed by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe and has also faced several battles against the state to continue operations. Visitors to Naskila can choose from hundreds of slot machines.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Unlike most other US states, Texas has officially regulated daily fantasy sports. These games have always been a legal grey area across the United States regarding gambling laws because they are generally considered games of skill instead of chance. Therefore, while Texans have enjoyed playing daily fantasy sports for many years, they have done so out with the law. However, thanks to the 2019 House Bill 2303, Texas sports betting enthusiasts can legally play daily fantasy sports safely and securely within the state. The most popular daily fantasy sports enjoyed in the Lone Star State are FanDuel, DraftKings, PrizePicks, and Money Knife Fight.
Offshore Sports Betting
Ideally, offshore sports betting should be avoided; however, with Texas sports betting still illegal, it’s currently the only online option for gamblers in the state. Texas law doesn’t explicitly prohibit the use of offshore sportsbooks, so it is not illegal for you to register with one and wager on it. However, using a trusted bookmaker licensed to a respected jurisdiction is essential. For example, betting platforms registered in Curacao and Costa Rica are recognized internationally and are usually safe for Texas sports betting enthusiasts. Do stay vigilant, though – many fraudulent and dishonest bookmakers are out there.
Sportsbooks that offer too-good-to-be-true odds and promotions should be avoided, especially if they’re an unknown operator. Likewise, obscure platforms with poor website design and not licensed to a credible gaming operator should also be given a wide berth. Finally, remember that online identity theft and banking security breaches are genuine threats in the digital world, so do your research and use your common sense before registering with an offshore sportsbook. You could, of course, wait until online sports gambling is regulated in Texas to be on the safe side. Alternatively, if you’re a Texas sports betting hopeful living east of the state, you might want to take a trip to Louisiana , where mobile sports wagering is now legal.
Texas Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
Despite previous attempts by Texas lawmakers to ban pari-mutuel betting, gambling on horse and greyhound racing is a fairly popular pastime. However, due to Texas sports betting laws, wagers on horses and dogs can only be made in person at the race tracks.
From 1933 until 1987, when pari-mutuel betting was illegal in the state, Texas horse breeders and racing fans campaigned relentlessly to revive the practice. Their fight paid off, and pari-mutuel gambling was reinstated in 1987 and is overseen by the Texas Racing Commission.
There is currently three Class I horse racing tracks in Texas – the Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Retama Park in Selma, and Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. Several county fairs also occur throughout the year, offering Class II-licensed races.
For Texas sports betting fans of the dogs, there are three greyhound tracks – Gulf Coast Racing in Corpus Christie, Valley Race Park in Harlingen, and Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque. However, the greyhound racing industry has been declining over the last decade; only the Gulf track focuses on live racing, while the other two tend to offer only simulcast betting.
Final Thoughts / Summary
The potential sports gambling market in Texas would be huge, yet campaigners seem to be against a brick wall. The last few decades have been a constant battle between Texas sports betting advocates and state legislators. Nonetheless, campaigners continue to push for change. While it remains uncertain whether or not the state will legalize sports wagering, it’s unlikely to happen within the following year.