When Will Texas Launch Online Sports Betting?
The Lone Star State may very well stay lonely for bettors if it doesn’t legalize sports betting soon. Chances are low that sports betting will become legal in Texas in the next few months. That’s because the legislature will face a number of significant hurdles before it can pass any legal sports betting measure, and will not meet again until January 2023.
For now, Texas sports betting and Texas online gambling remain in limbo. Let’s break down everything you need to know about sports betting in Texas so you can keep track of certain key bills and know what sportsbook app to download if and when sports betting finally comes to this state.
History Of Gambling And Sports Betting In Texas
Although Texas is well known for its Republican attitudes and independent values, it’s not a very gambling-friendly state. In fact, very few gambling activities are currently legal in the Lone Star State.
Today, gamblers can participate in the Texas Lottery, which is currently the most popular gambling activity in Texas with nearly 68% of Texans participating. Texas also allows pari-mutuel dog and horse race betting, although the state only legalized the activity in 1978 nearly 30 years after most other states.
When it comes to casinos, options for Texans are similarly limited. There are only two brick-and-mortar casinos to visit right now. Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel opened in 1996 in Eagle, TX. Naskila Gaming Casino opened in 2016 in Livingston, TX. They include mostly slot machines and electronic games. However, the Supreme Court recently ruled that Texas cannot prohibit bingo in the state.
Unfortunately, Texas does not allow any online gambling whatsoever. Instead, Texans may opt to use “social gaming” platforms. Social gaming websites allow you to use sweeps coins and other digital currencies to place wagers on activities like classic online casino games, slots, or poker games.
Therefore, plenty of Texans turn to social gaming platforms like Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. Sports betting, however, is not permitted under any circumstances (even online).
However, there have been several legislative pushes in recent history that may pave the way for future sports betting legalization. February 2019 saw the arrival of a bill called HB 1275 in the Texas Legislature. Since then, the bill the bill was filed, but never voted on in 2021. It is still in limbo.
Additionally, Lieut. Gov. Dan Patrick has repeatedly said that he will not allow either collegiate or professional sports betting or the expansion of gambling. To overcome Patrick’s roadblock, both the Texas House and Senate need a two-thirds majority to pass either HB 1275 or other similar bills.
The vote would then go to the people, as a constitutional amendment will be needed for sports betting legalization.
Recently, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has said he would support Texas online sports betting and gambling as a means of generating new tax revenue in Texas.
Texas Sports Betting: What To Watch
At this point, the bill to watch is HB 1275, which would authorize both online and mobile sports wagering, plus potential retail sportsbooks at Native American casinos. Since Texas doesn’t have any non-Native casinos to speak of, retail sportsbook locations would be quite limited.
Furthermore, HB 1275 would stipulate a proposed 6.25% tax rate on any bet placed by a bettor. The bill would allow wagering on both college and professional sports, which stands in stark contrast to many other states that have legalized sports betting so far. It would allow for five sportsbook permits or licenses in total, split between two holders.
Since the Texas legislature only meets every odd year, 2021 was the first year that HB 1275 could have been voted on. It was filed, but never reached voting status and remains in limbo. Texans interested in sports betting legalization in their state should pay attention to announcements regarding HB 1275 when the legislature convenes next in 2023.
Fortunately, many Dallas-area sports teams have backed the push for legal sports betting. These include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers. Note that HB 1275’s passage would require a constitutional amendment proposal to be sent to voters, which would require 21 votes. Currently, the Texas Senate has 18 Republicans compared to 13 Democrats.
Therefore, sports betting enthusiasts can write to their State Senators and ask for legal sports betting. Several Republican senators will likely need to flip and vote for a resolution for sports betting to come to the Lone Star State.
Current Texas Governor Greg Abbot has supported the Texas constitutional provision which prohibits the expansion of gambling. To change the constitution, gambling supporters would need to get two-thirds of the House and Senate to put a measure on the ballot.
Neighboring states Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico already have legal casino gambling. Arkansas and Louisiana also have legal sports betting.
Timeline Of Texas’s Gambling History
- 1978 – Texas legalizes pari-mutuel horse and dog race betting
- 1991 – Texas legalizes its state lottery
- 1996 – Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino opens its doors, which is the first land-based Native American casino to open in Texas
- 2016 – Naskila Gaming Casino opens its doors
- 2017 – Attempt to explicitly legalize DFS in Texas fails
- 2018 – The Dallas Cowboys become the first NFL team with an official casino, partnering with WinStar World Casino and Resort
- Feb. 2019 – Rep. Eddie Lucio III brings HB 1275 to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation
- 2019 – The Texas Rangers expand a naming rights deal with Choctaw Casinos & Resorts
- 2021 – HB 1275, a bill that would have legalized sports gambling in Texas, was filed but never voted on
- Aug. 2021 – The Houston Texans officially partner with Caesars Entertainment
- Oct. 2021 – Betway becomes an official partner with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks
- May 2022 – The Houston Astros name BetMGM their exclusive sports betting partner, BetMGM’s first foray into Texas
- June 2022 – The United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas cannot block Native American run bingo
- Jan. 2023 – The next meeting of the Texas state legislature where bills can be introduced and voted on including any regarding Texas sports betting and online gambling
Texas Sportsbooks – Coming Soon
While Texas sports betting is likely some ways away, sports betting enthusiasts would be wise to know which sportsbooks to look for if and when online sports betting is finally legalized. Many of these sportsbooks have big presences in other states throughout the country, and would be excellent apps with top bonus offers for sports bettors to enjoy.
DraftKings is a major contender in the sports betting industry, and for good reason – it has one of the most robust and well-developed mobile apps around. Not only does it provide mobile user-specific betting pools, but it also includes varied and deep betting markets for practically every professional and collegiate sports league you can think of.
Therefore, it’s a likely candidate for one of the first sportsbook license recipients in Texas. Its app includes live streaming, special promotions, and a generous opening bonus. Plus, DraftKings already offers daily fantasy sports (DFS) to Texas residents. Launching sports betting would likely be quick and painless for this operator.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel also offers daily fantasy sports to Texans. It also has a very well-developed mobile app and a very large opening bonus worth up to $1,000 of site credit. Regular promotions and unique wagers make this a great sports betting platform for both newcomers, and regular sports betting enthusiasts.
FanDuel’s mobile app is easy to navigate and offers both live streaming plus live in-play betting.
Texans might also see BetRivers come to the Lone Star State if sports betting is ever legalized. This relatively young sportsbook operator comes with a minimalist and sleek mobile app designed first and foremost for iPhone and Android devices.
In addition to player-friendly odds and excellent betting markets, BetRivers provides live streaming and in-the-moment betting all from a single, well-designed interface. It’s a particularly good pick for professional American sports leagues.
BetMGM is another good pick and a likely contender for sportsbook licensure in Texas. It offers good live streaming functionality and solid betting markets for most American sports leagues. It’s also a good choice if you like betting on European or international sports, such as major league soccer, rugby, or cricket.
The mobile app benefits further from a high-quality rewards program that gives you bonus points or promotional offers the more you use it.
Caesars might just leap into Texas as it has already done with many other states. It has fantastic betting markets not only for international sports, but also for most American professional sports leagues.
The mobile app is minimalist and easy to navigate and it has a solid opening bonus worth up to $1,100 in the form of first bet insurance.
Texas Sports Betting FAQs
Yes. However, only two legal Native American casinos operate in Texas at this time: Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino and Naskila Gaming Casino.
You need to be 21 years of age or older to visit either casino.
Yes. The two retail casinos are safe since there aren’t any online portals to use. Visitors must be 21 years or older.
Yes. If you win with any gambling activity in Texas (either in the present or in the future), you’ll need to pay taxes on those winnings based on set rates.
No, Texas online gambling is not currently legal. However, you can participate in social gambling activities, including sweepstakes poker or sweepstakes casino games.
No, Texas sports betting online is not currently legal. Retail sports betting is also not allowed.
This is currently unknown. However, there is a current movement to legalize sports betting. The Texas state legislature next meets in 2023, and is the earliest legalization could occur.
Neighboring states like Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico already have legal casino gambling. Arkansas and Louisiana also have legal sports betting.