• Texas lawmakers shot down multiple sports betting bills in 2021 and the market remains unregulated.
  • Legal sports betting sites are the only legal way to bet on sports in Texas.
  • Legislators are expected to attempt to pass the legislation again in 2022.

Legal Texas Sports Betting

Legal Texas sports betting and gambling laws were some of the least progressive in the United States. Within the last thirty years, though, Texas lawmakers amended the state constitution to allow charitable gaming and instated what is now one of the most-played lotteries in the United States. The real breakthrough for legal Texas sports betting has been the ascendancy of legal gambling websites that exist outside the purview of federal and state laws. Licensed online sportsbooks such as Bovada, are available right at your fingertips from anywhere in Texas and can be used at any time. As you continue on this page, you will come across everything that you may need to know about sports betting in Texas.​

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The Lone Star State has no land-based casinos available for sports bettors in Texas to legally place bets. However, the lack of in-person betting has opened the door for many Texans to legally place their sports bet online at Bovada. The simplistic layout and competitive odds offered at Bovada are industry-leading. Texas sports bettors enjoy the convenience of having every line Bovada has to offer in the palm of their hands using a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. Being able to place bets legally anywhere in Texas is why Bovada has been the go-to sportsbook in the state for decades.

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Texas Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

Most of Texas gambling laws can be found in the Texas Penal Code, Section 47.01 – 47.10. However, as online sports betting has not been present that long, there aren’t any specific laws detailing online sports betting. There is one law that states a gambling offense is committed if a person “makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest”. While this law could put a stop to sports betting, online sportsbooks have been serving Texas residents for years without any reported problems.

2022 Outlook For Legal Sports Betting In Texas

There were four proposals to regulate a sports betting market in Texas in 2021. While two saw more action than the others, it’s still slow going for any type of gaming expansion in the state. Texas requires a constitutional amendment to allow for a sports wagering industry to open as all gambling issues ask this of the legislature. House Bill 2070 and House Joint Resolution 97 were the most recent proposals to see movement in Texas.

House Bill 2070 calls for a constitutional amendment to make sports betting legal by constituent vote. Both retail and mobile sportsbooks in Texas would have been legal, including having sportsbooks at professional sports team venues. There is a 10% tax rate set on all GGR with collegiate events open for bets.

House Joint Resolution 97 would have put the issue of sports betting on the ballot for voters in the state to decide.

House Bill 477 would have classified sports betting as Class III gaming for which it is trying to legalize. Class II gaming is the only legal gaming available in Texas at the moment. It would only allow for retail-based sportsbooks at coastal gambling facilities in Texas.

House Bill 1121 would have made Texas a strictly mobile sports betting industry with a cap of five mobile sports wagering operators. A low tax rate on the revenue at 6.25% as well as a low cap on operators, and prohibiting of collegiate wagers were strong factors in this measure.

What Texas Sports Teams Can I Bet On?

The saying “Everything is bigger in Texas” shows its true meaning when talking about the Texas based sports teams being that there are plenty of them. All four of the major sports leagues have at least one team. The NHL is represented by the Dallas Stars, the NBA, NFL and MLB each have at least two teams. As for colleges, Texas is home to some of the most prestigious athletic programs including the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, TCU Horned Frogs, and the Baylor Bears. The full list of Texas sports teams can be found below.

List Of Team Names

Dallas Cowboys (NFL) Houston Texans (NFL) Houston Astros (MLB)
Texas Rangers (MLB) San Antonio Spurs (NBA) Houston Rockets (NBA)
Dallas Mavericks (NBA) San Antonio Stars (WNBA) Dallas Stars (NHL)
FC Dallas (MLS) Houston Dynamo (MLS) Baylor Bears (NCAA)
TCU Horned Frogs (NCAA) Texas Longhorns (NCAA) Texas A&M Aggies (NCAA)

Betting On The NFL In Texas

NFL BettingFor the best odds for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, look no further than legal online sportsbooks. These internet betting sites offer odds to all Texas bettors even without there being any legislation passed to approve regulated betting. Texas bettors do not need to miss out on betting action this NFL season because these online operators offer odds for every game, player, and prop throughout the season. Betting on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans weekly game odds, player props, and season totals are all available at these sports betting operations. Texas NFL betting fans can log on right now and cash in on these odds.

How To Bet On The Texas Longhorns In Texas

Texas is one of these states where college football is very popular. With the season back, bettors will be placing plenty of bets on the Longhorns, A&M Aggies, and more. Online sportsbooks like Bovada, BetOnline and others will have all the bets that players can think of. Without any local options, this will be the best way to bet the college football season.

Where To Bet On Sports In Texas 2022

State-sanctioned sports betting is not yet available for Texans in 2022 but, for gamblers in search of the ambiance of a retail sportsbook, the closest places to drive to are Arkansas, Nevada, New Mexico, or Louisiana to get that sports betting fix. Unless a vacation is in order, it is probably best to wager using the online platforms suggested rather than cross state lines on a long drive to simply get some action in on the games. There are plenty of online sportsbooks that are free to join and 100% safe and legal to use in Texas.

Horse Race Betting In Texas

Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in Texas, and is easily the oldest legal form of gambling in the state. It was legalized all the way back in 1933. Despite the state’s hostility toward most forms of gambling, pari-mutuel wagering is widely accepted, perhaps because of the state’s long history of ranching and rodeos. Fans can bet on horse racing either at the track or through domestic online pari-mutuel platforms like TVG and Twin Spires. They can also bet with international online racebooks.

In late May 2020, Texas became the first state to reopen the tracks for fans after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March. Capacity is limited to 25% for the time being, but the Texas government seems to be relatively unified in its desire to return to normal as soon as possible. Many other states have already seen a surge of horse betting activity, so it wouldn’t be surprising for the sport to grow in popularity over the next several months. 

Daily Fantasy Sports In Texas

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) was declared to be illegal in 2016 by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on the grounds that DFS contains enough of an element of chance to be considered as prohibited gambling. Paxton’s opinion is that the skill involved in DFS – being that players have to use their knowledge of athlete statistics, relative coaching strategies, even the weather when choosing their lineups – doesn’t obviate the preponderance of chance in determining the outcome of contests. According to Texas law, only “partial chance” is necessary for an activity to be classified as gambling.

However, DFS giant DraftKings is challenging the opinion issued by the Attorney General in court. While the court case is pending, DraftKings has decided to still accept Texas residents for real-money contests. FanDuel has also decided to still accept residents as well, so even if current state officials don’t think you should join, they can’t necessarily stop you or penalize you.

Legal Texas Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Texas?

The only way to bet real money on sports in Texas is if you make use of offshore gambling websites that are licensed and reputable, and we’ve described the ones we believe are the best in those categories elsewhere on this page. Any attempt to wager money on sports using a local bookie, or even making use of a Texas-run online bookmaker, is going to be illegal according to state statute and federal law as well. Sticking with an offshore gambling website is the best option for fans of legal Texas sports betting who want to stay off the radar from the law.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Texas?

Again, online sports betting is only safe for Texans if they steer clear of websites based in Texas. Offshore websites like Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline, and SportsBetting are not just safe in terms of being able to securely process financial transactions, they’re also safe from any federal or state legal action that could be taken against a Texas sports betting fan. The Texas legislature has not passed any law directly outlawing placing bets over the internet, and thus far no resident of the state has ever been prosecuted for placing a wager at an offshore website like those listed above.

This just reinforces the point that legal Texas sports betting is best done at one of our preferred websites. The combination of reliability, financial security, options for American sports betting fans and the freedom that comes from operating outside the reach of the US legal system enables offshore websites to fill a niche and scratch an itch Texas players have for wagering on their favorite sports teams.

Will Sports Betting In Texas Ever Be Legal?

There are several factors at play before sports betting could be the law of the land in Texas. One huge positive is that the state legislature has not moved to make betting online specifically illegal, which opens up the world of legal Texas sports betting to Lone Star State enthusiasts if they stick to offshore websites. The road to broader legalization of sports gambling has been a slow one – the state only approved a constitutional amendment to allow charitable gaming in 1989 – but changing demographics in Texas may be a leading indicator of big changes to come.

An influx of blue-state workers looking to cash in on Texas’ booming industrial and financial economy and left-leaning immigrants from outside the state will undoubtedly have an impact on how the Lone Star State swings politically, and the rate at which this shift is occurring is accelerating. In time, this new political majority could push for legalization of sports gambling as a way to generate millions of dollars in new tax revenues every year.

Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In Texas?

We’ll put it this way, nobody has ever been prosecuted for placing a bet online at a reputable offshore sports betting website. So, while betting on sports via the internet is not protected by Texas law and certainly not by federal laws like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, it isn’t expressly forbidden either.

By virtue of this legal gray area or loophole, offshore sports betting websites are able to offer their services securely to the American market. It’s important to consider the risks involved before physically placing a bet on sports anywhere in America that isn’t Las Vegas, which is why having the option of an overseas legal gambling website is such an appealing proposition for Texas bettors.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Texas?

Since there is no legal outlet for sports betting in Texas outside of offshore gambling websites, 21 is the minimum age residents will need to attain before participating in the few wagering opportunities allowed by state law. Those few legal forms of gambling include horse racing, a single gambling cruise, which only entered the market after much controversy in 2015, and one casino in a remote section of the state which is a stone’s throw from Mexico. A state lottery has also been available since 1993, and Texas, interestingly, has the largest assortment of scratch-off tickets of any state in the country.

In all cases, you’ll need to be 21 before you can legally participate in what few forms of allowable gambling there is. Even though the offshore websites we recommend for legal Texas sports betting operate beyond the reach of federal and state law, and even though they will all take deposits from users as young as 18 (in accordance with the local laws of their home countries), it is still advisable that Texans don’t push their luck. Any amount of money you could earn from successfully picking winners is going to look like a paltry sum against a potential stint in the state pen.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Texas?

All the best legal Texas sports betting websites have fully embraced smartphone technology and have their own entries in the app stores of both Apple and Android networks. The apps offered by Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes are free to download and most of them are models of ease-of-use. These websites are already simple to use, but the availability of free apps just adds another layer of convenience to what is easily the best means of betting on sports that Texans have access to.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Texas?

There are really only two places to legally bet on sports in Texas, and neither of them are actually in Texas. Confused? Don’t be. Choice one: to hitch a ride on the Aransas Queen gambling cruise and bet in international waters (and hope you can get your payout before you get back to shore, and that’s if the game you were watching wraps up before the ship returns to Texas waters). Choice two: to visit Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline or 5Dimes (or all of them) and enjoy some legal Texas sports betting online.

The second choice is going to be the best, generally speaking, because you can expect timely payouts, the convenience of betting anywhere, anytime, all without worrying over the legality of your pastime. The websites we list here are all reputable, reliable and regulated – but regulated in their own countries, and therefore outside the reach of federal or Texas law, which doesn’t specifically outlaw internet gambling anyway.

Is It Safe To Use A Local Bookie In Texas?

Any bookie doing business in the state of Texas is going to be doing so in flagrant violation of state law and also of federal law. It would not be worth your time to deal with a local bookmaker in Texas for that reason alone, because if you get caught you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

However, there really shouldn’t be any special reason you would want to use a local bookie. That’s because the best offshore online sportsbooks are going to have higher limits, be much more reliable, offer better odds on more types of sports contests and – best of all – they aren’t illegal according to state and federal law.

Do Any Casinos In Texas Have Sports Betting?

Texas might be a huge state with one of the nation’s largest populations to match, but there are only two casinos in the whole state. Sports betting is only on the menu at one of them, and even then, only under very specific circumstances. The Aransas Queen, a gambling yacht will take customers out into international waters before allowing some sports betting to take place, but the majority of practical betting options are going to be limited to slots and table games. The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in the rural border town of Eagle Pass is more or less a well-stocked slots parlor but a recently added poker room adds only a little variety for those willing to make the trek.

Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In Texas?

For all its other restrictions on gambling, Texas law has a pleasant surprise in store for people who want to enjoy sports betting with friends. The state’s Penal Code, Section 47 has no punishment for social gambling, which means that betting of any kind can take place in private between players with a “legitimate social relationship,” and stakes can be as high as the players have a tolerance for it.

The reality is that Texas, with its vast geography and a population of more than 27 million people, is probably too big to enforce a law against anything people do in their own homes, but it’s nice to have such freedom inscribed in the legal rolls just to be sure. Of course, this means that using offshore legal Texas sports betting websites is also permitted by default, which is good for all gambling fans.

When Will Sports Betting Become Legal In Texas?

Sports betting in Texas has only been slightly discussed but with gaming operators creating partnerships ready for Texas sports betting, you can imagine it will come sooner than later. This market is way too big for legislators to ignore and they know they can heavily capitalize off of the tax revenue when it does become legal. In 2019, the state introduced a few measures that would have legalized sports betting (with the restriction of in-state collegiate bets) but it did not advance too far in the legislature. Expect Texas to offer sports betting in 2020 or 2021, as the state will not hold off for much longer.

How Many Sportsbooks Are In Texas?

As of now, there are no sportsbooks in Texas, however, players can still wager legally by the use of offshore betting sites. There are not many casinos in Texas and they are operated by the tribes and not commercial operators or the state. With this, you can expect these venues to offer sports betting in Texas as well as the implementation of an online platform. With a state as large as Texas, online sports betting will be the method that works the best so players can engage in the hobby from anywhere within the state.