Despite bipartisan support and being home to some of the nation’s most popular sports franchises, Texas has yet to legalize sports betting.
While several neighboring states have legalized it, Texas lawmakers were unable to pass sports betting legislation during the 2021 session. Texans will now have to wait until 2023 at the earliest for sports betting, as the state legislature will not meet again until then.
Here’s everything you need to know about online sports betting in Texas.
Recent News and Details About Sports Betting in Texas
- Currently, neither retail nor online sports betting are legal in Texas despite support from many of the state’s lawmakers.
- There was a major push to legalize sports betting in Texas during the state’s 2021 legislative session. However, this attempt was unsuccessful, and because the Texas legislature only meets every two years, the issue won’t be readdressed until 2023 at the earliest.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in 2017 that daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests should be illegal under state law; however, platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel continue to operate in a gray area in the state.
- Given Texas’ large population and the popularity of major sports franchises like the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, the state’s sports betting market would likely immediately become one of the biggest in the country if sports betting were legalized.
- If Texas legalizes online sports betting, several of the largest platforms in the industry would likely launch in the state, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetRivers, and others.
Online Sports Betting in Texas: A Timeline
Despite support from sports franchises, fans, and politicians, Texas lawmakers have yet to legalize sports betting in the state. During the 2021 legislative session, legislators were unable to pass HB 1275, which would have legalized sports betting. As a result, Texans will have to wait until at least 2023 for sports betting to be legalized.
- June 16, 2022: The United States Supreme Court rules that Texas cannot block e-bingo games run by the tribes in the state. This decision could lead to more changes in the state’s online gambling laws.
- June 13, 2022: The executive director of the Texas Racing Commission, Amy Cook, states that the import and export of pari-mutuel simulcast signals cannot be conducted at racetracks in Texas if the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) becomes responsible for regulatory supervision. This outcome is likely to significantly impact the industry.
- June 10, 2022: Gaming Today reports that residents from Texas are generating significant revenue for Louisiana’s sports betting industry. Many in Texas want to legalize sports betting to bring this revenue to Texas rather than Louisiana.
- May 25, 2022: The Texas Racing Commission says it will stop all pari-mutuel betting and horse racing by July 1, 2022, if the HISA asserts control of regulatory supervision.
- May 11, 2022: BetMGM announces its partnership with the Houston Astros as the team’s official sports betting partner. This is BetMGM’s first partnership in Texas and sets the company up for entry into the state’s sports betting market if it’s legalized.
- April 21, 2022: Beto O’Rourke, one of Texas’ gubernatorial candidates, expresses his support for the legalization of sports betting and gambling. However, O’Rourke faces opposition from Republican Greg Abbot, who currently serves as the governor of Texas.
- Feb. 8, 2022: PlayUp partners with the Panther City Lacrosse Club. This partnership may include market access if Texas legalizes sports betting and Panther City receives a license.
- May 31, 2021: Despite bipartisan support and support from gaming companies and sports franchises, Texas lawmakers end the 2021 legislative session without sports betting legislation. They won’t reconvene until 2023.
- February 2021: Several of Texas’ sports franchises partner with betting platforms and fans to form the Sports Betting Alliance in an effort to push for sports betting legalization and regulation.
- January 2021: The Texas legislature assembles. As part of this legislative session, lawmakers will review HB 1275, which would legalize and regulate sports betting in the state.
- February 2019: Rep. Eddie Lucio III proposes HB 1275 in an effort to legalize and regulate sports betting in Texas.
How Do Texas Residents Feel About Sports Betting?
A recent survey conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler found that the majority of Texans either support legalizing sports betting or are undecided, suggesting that state lawmakers would face little resistance from the public if they were to legalize sports betting. The results of this poll were consistent across party lines as Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all responded similarly to the question about sports betting legalization.
|Texas Sports Betting Legalization|
|Poll||Yes/Approve||No/Disapprove||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Survey of Texas Voters by The University of Texas at Tyler
(Feb. 22-March 2, 2021)
According to the poll, Texas voters are more strongly in support of legalizing casino gambling — 57% of respondents indicated they approve, 29% oppose it, and 13% indicated it does not matter either way.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in Texas?
Daily fantasy sports apps let users create sports teams and compete against other players in contests for cash and other prizes. Many states allow these apps to operate as they view DFS contests as games of skill, while other states view them as gambling and prohibit them under their gambling laws.
In Texas, DFS apps exist in a legal gray area. Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in 2017 that DFS contests are partially dependent on chance, meaning that paying to participate in these contests counts as a bet, which would be illegal under Texas law. However, since then, FanDuel and DraftKings have continued to operate in Texas, and Texans have been able to participate in DFS contests using real money without consequence.
Texas Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||No|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||No|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||No|
|Minimum legal gambling age||N/A|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of September 2022.
Neighboring States That Legalized Sports Betting
Of the four states that share a border with Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas have both legalized sports betting. Sports betting is still illegal in Oklahoma, and New Mexico is evaluating the legality of sports betting in the state.
- Arkansas: Sports betting is legal in Arkansas both online and at the state’s three casinos. Previously, only retail betting was legal, but the state approved the expansion of online sports betting in 2022.
- Louisiana: Retail sports betting launched in Louisiana in 2021, followed by online sports betting in 2022. Bettors can choose from a variety of major platforms, including BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings.
- New Mexico: Sports betting in New Mexico is technically neither legal nor illegal. In 2018, the state’s Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe began accepting sports bets at the Santa Ana Casino; however, lawmakers have contested the legality of sports betting under the state’s tribal gaming compact.