Legal Sportsbooks in Texas – Sports Betting in TX

Sports betting is not legal in Texas. Other forms of gambling such as daily fantasy sports and horse racing are also banned.

Here’s a detailed guide to Texas sports betting and some analysis of why it isn’t legal yet.

History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Texas

The American sports betting landscape began to legally form in 2018 when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was reversed by the Supreme Court. PASPA was enacted in 1992, and it ruled that sports betting was illegal throughout the United States. This allowed illegal offshore books to control the sports betting market in America as the country moved into the 21st century.

When the Supreme Court shot down PASPA in a 6-3 decision, the door was opened for states to introduce sports betting. Some states jumped at the opportunity to legalize sportsbooks. Other states in America didn’t take the same approach. One of those states is Texas.

The future of Texas sports betting is up in the air. Little progress has been made towards passing a sports betting bill. A large portion of the Texas legislature opposes sports betting because of the cultural values embedded within the state.

Texas isn’t very open to sports betting. By state law, daily fantasy sports are illegal in the Lone Star state. Many forms of gambling are misdemeanor crimes. Native American casinos are the only evident form of gambling in the state. Sports betting legislation is on the state’s docket, but there is no concrete timetable for when the form of gambling will be legal.

What Sports Betting Bill in TX Says

The sports betting bills that have been proposed in Texas have varied. One bill that garnered some support was HB 1275, which was proposed by Democratic Representative Eddie Lucio. The bill is still alive, but the hope of this bill passing or any form of sports betting being approved is dwindling after the November 2020 election.

Texas has a massive population and tons of professional sports teams that compete in the state. This made Lucio push to legalize gambling for professional and collegiate sports. Colleges within the state would be fair game when it comes to legal sportsbooks. The state has no commercial casinos, but Lucio proposed retail sportsbooks. Retail sportsbooks would probably be offered strictly within tribal casinos. It’s doubtful that enough legislators would vote to allow commercial casinos in the state.

The bill also proposed online sportsbooks and mobile wagering. The bill designated that there would be five contracts awarded to sportsbooks that wanted to operate in Texas. This would be a heated competition because Texas could be one of the largest sports betting markets in America. However, this bill doesn’t look promising, and there will most likely need to be some give from the left to have a chance of legalizing sports betting.

What’s Holding Sports Betting Back in Texas

Sports betting doesn’t look promising anytime soon. The main reason that sports betting isn’t anywhere close to being fulfilled in Texas is because of the political disputes in the state government. Texas is predominantly a red state. Typically, liberal legislators tend to align with sports betting more than conservative representatives.

Texas cities have the most liberal populations in the state. However, a large portion of the state’s 29 million residents lives in the suburbs or the Texas backcountry. This has allowed the Republicans to control a majority of the state legislature.

Democrats were hopeful that they’d be able to flip the state’s House of Representatives in the November 2020 elections. However, the Republicans kept control of the House. Texas conservatives haven’t been open to the idea of sports betting in the state, so these election results were devastating for the Democrats.

If Democrats had taken control of the House, sports betting still wouldn’t have been a lock in the state. Although, it would’ve had a much better chance of passing without GOP control. A conservative majority in the House of Representatives guarantees that sports betting will not pass in 2021. With the Texas electoral structure, it’s highly unlikely that sports betting will have a chance to pass until 2025 or later. 

Sports Teams to Bet on in Texas

Texas has ten sports teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS. The NFL teams in the state are the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. The Cowboys play in the NFC East and the Texans play in the AFC South. Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, has been a major proponent of the legalization of sports betting. He believes that it would help with television ratings and bring even more excitement to the state’s sports franchises.

Two MLB teams play in Texas. The Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros both play in the American League West. The Astros won the World Series in 2017. The Rangers have never won a World Series, but they won back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011.

The San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are the state’s three NBA franchises. Dallas is home to Texas’ lone NHL franchise. The Dallas Stars play in the American Airlines Center which is the same building that the Mavericks call home. All three basketball teams have won NBA Championships. The Stars have won a single Stanley Cup and seven division titles.

The FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo of the MLS call Texas home. In addition to all these professional teams, it has a vast amount of Division I schools to bet on in the state, including the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.

FAQ for Betting in Texas

Is sports betting legal in Texas?

Sports betting is not legal in the state of Texas currently. The Texas state legislature has discussed the implementation of sports betting, but no real progress has been made as of the end of 2020. The issue in the state government regarding sports betting has been the disagreements between Republican and Democratic legislators.

Is there a projected sports betting launch in Texas?

There is no projected sports betting launch date in Texas. Following the November 2020 election, sports betting is now expected to be legalized in the state no earlier than 2025. The Republicans were able to maintain control of the Texas House of Representatives so Democrats will not be able to pass any sports betting legislation for the extended future.

When sports betting is enacted in Texas, will you be able to bet on college teams in the state?

It’s too early to tell, but the original sports betting bill called for the ability to bet on local college teams. The only thing that was outlawed was amateur sports like high school football.

What’s the legal betting age in the state?

The legal betting age in Texas is 21 years of age.

Are there commercial casinos in Texas?

No, the only casinos in Texas are tribal properties.