The legislative history of online gambling bills for Texas is complex. Multiple gambling bills have been introduced over the years, but none have been successful in legalizing any form of online wagering, including sports betting.
However, the most recent attempt at legal online sports wagering – a bill called HB 2070 – was recently submitted in February 2021. Proposed by Republican Rep. Dan Huberty, the bill would legalize sports wagering in 2022.
But this bill, alongside all other previous attempts at online wagering legalization, would require the passage of a joint resolution, which itself would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the Texas House and Senate.
Time will tell whether this current sports betting bill ends up succeeding where the others have failed. There is significant political pushback from individuals like Lieut. Gov. Dan Patrick and other anti-gambling lawmakers in Texas’s legislature.
Texas Gambling Bill Specifics
The current online gambling Bill circulating the Texas legislature is HB 2070. This would technically decriminalize sports wagering and allow it to be legalized as early as January 1, 2022. But this bill would also require a constitutional amendment.
To overcome the amendment, voters would need to vote on the ballot in November 2021, choosing whether to support the resolution or oppose it. In the meantime, HB 2070 must first acquire a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to become a joint resolution.
Texas House Bill 2070
HB 2070 includes several prospective gambling industry specifics. For example, this proposal would allow professional sports teams to become sportsbook hosts at their home arenas or to become licensed operators. There are 13 professional sports teams currently in Texas across most major sports industries, like the MLB, NFL, and more, so this aspect of the proposal has significant support in the professional sports industry.
The bill would also allow professional league standard commercial agreements with wagering operators, effectively sponsoring certain sportsbooks for partnerships and promotional opportunities.
In addition to allowing wagering in these circumstances, HB 2070 would theoretically allow sports wagering at each of the state’s three Class 1 horse race tracks.
Other bill specifics include:
- Five licenses will be awarded in total
- 2 “skins” or sportsbook apps will be allowed for each license holder
- A 10% tax on all adjusted gross revenue from sports wagers
- Legal wagering for collegiate games and in-state teams – a big aspect since Texas’s college football sphere is quite popular
Before HB 2070, other attempts at legalizing online gambling in Texas have included:
- HB 1275, proposed by Representative Eddie Lucio III
- HB 477, proposed by Representative Joe Deshotel
- HB 1121, proposed by Representative Harold Dutton
None of the above bills have made it very far. Dutton’s bill would legalize online-only wagering, whereas the current HB 2070 bill would legalize both online and in-person wagering at horse race tracks or home team arenas.
Key Aspects Of Texas Sports Betting Bill
|Products Legalized||Sports wagering|
|Date Signed Into Law||TBA|
Timeline Of Texas Gambling Bills
- Feb. 1, 2019 – Rep. Eddie Lucio III introduces HB 1275, the first attempt at legalizing online sports wagering
- 2019 – Rep. Joe Deshotel files HB 477, another attempt at legalizing all Class III gaming, which includes sports wagering and other gambling activities
- 2019 – Texas legislature goes on recess. It only meets in odd years, so the above proposals are shelved
- Jan. 2021 – Rep. Harold Dutton files HB 1121, which would have made Texas the second state to legalize digital sports wagering only
- Feb. 2021 – Rep. Dan Huberty files HB 2070, which would decriminalize sports wagering and legalize it by January 1 of 2022
Online Gambling Fact Table for Texas
|Minimum age to gamble online in Texas||21|
|What kinds of online gambling are legal in Texas?||None, save for sweepstakes casinos and poker sites|
|When did online gambling become legal in Texas?||N/A|
|Who regulates online gambling in Texas?||Texas Lottery Commission|
Texas Online Gambling FAQs
Legal online gambling is always safe, though illegal betting sites are risky places and should never be visited. Should licensed sportsbook operators come to Texas, their online gambling activities will be safe. Each sportsbook operator will be required to have good digital security and insurance for its users to protect their winnings against theft.
The best way to ensure the safety of your personal information is to not share key details like your Social Security number or password unnecessarily. Furthermore, do not use offshore or illegal sports betting sites, as these places are good opportunities for identity thieves to take your personal information. Do not share your sportsbook account or online casino account with anyone else, as well.
Any currently operating gambling sites in Texas are sweepstakes casino sites, such as Chumba Casino or Global Poker. Any future legal gambling sites, like casinos or online sportsbooks, will be operated by individual sports teams or casino parent companies. It all depends on what the future Texas online gambling legislation says.
You will be able to contact the Texas Lottery Commission, which is the regulatory body most likely to be in charge of online gambling activities in the Lone Star State. The Lottery Commission will be able to investigate the matter for you and reach a resolution if your winnings are disputed, for instance.
Similarly, the Texas Lottery Commission will likely be in charge of regulating any online gambling sites. The organization already regulates the online lottery website, although you can’t buy tickets online.
Illegal gambling sites are not overseen by any authoritative or legitimate body, so they can’t be trusted with your money or personal information. Legal gambling sites are regulated, as well as use good digital security to protect both your winnings and your personal information. Furthermore, offshore and illegal gambling sites usually provide subpar betting or gaming experiences.