Could Texas legal sports betting become a reality in 2021? The short answer is probably not. If Texas sports betting legalization doesn’t happen before the current legislative session ends on May 31, the even shorter answer is no.
The Lone Star State may have a reputation for supporting personal freedoms due to its rugged, frontier spirit. But it’s much more conservative than you might think when it comes to gambling. In fact, gambling legally in Texas is almost impossible. For now.
This conservative approach extends to sports betting, which is currently illegal in Texas. However, there has been recent word of legislative developments that might bring hope to Texas sports betting enthusiasts.
Let’s take a closer look at Texas’s sports betting status as it stands so you’re ready for any future developments.
Texas Sports Betting Recent Updates
- May 31, 2021: The 2021 Texas legislative session ends on this date. If no sports betting bill passes, then Texas bettors will have to wait until 2023 until sports betting legalization is possible. If you live in Texas, you can find out who represents you to contact them about your support for legal sports betting.
- April 14, 2021: Las Vegas Sands began a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in support of House Joint Resolution 133, which would allow four casinos to open in the state’s biggest urban areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. The ads could push public support for the measure, which might also bolster demand for legal sports betting as well.
- March 2, 2021: Gaming Today’s Christopher Gerlacher reported how all four major sports betting bills are dead due to unstoppable forces hitting unbreakable obstacles. It looks like, at least for now, “no matter how many sports betting bills are introduced, the bills will likely die in committee.”
- February 9, 2021: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said that Texas sports betting “won’t see the light of day.” As an opponent of legalization, this can be construed as optimistic thinking. But as a top republican lawmaker in a state where republicans control both state houses, the Lieutenant Governor’s word is as good as any.
- February 8, 2021: The biggest sports teams in Texas formed a coalition to pressure lawmakers to legalize sports betting. The “Sports Betting Alliance” includes the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas, and others.
Why It’s So Difficult To Legalize Sports Betting In Texas
In 2019, a 15-page bill called HB 1275, championed by Representative Eddie Lucio III, was brought to Texas’s legislature. It included provisions that would authorize both online and mobile wagering for Texan residents. The bill stipulated further measures including:
- The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation would oversee the resulting gambling industry
- There would be a 6.25% tax rate imposed for any sports wager
- It would allow sports bettors to wager on both professional and college sports
However, this bill—and, as many Texas lawmakers argue, any effort to legalize sports betting—would require a referendum to amend the Texas Constitution.
In Texas, gambling is outlawed due to a constitutional provision, not a regularly passed law.
As a result, passing any bill will be quite difficult. It not only would need two-thirds support in the House of Representatives and Senate, it also needs to go on a ballot and receive approval from voters.
Still, Texas sports betting is looking more and more likely every day.
Many big Texas professional sports team owners, such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, and Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets have announced their support for Texas sports betting. And every legislative session, sports betting bills will be introduced until one or two finally pass.
Will that be in 2021? Probably not. But it’s not impossible, and Texas sports betting seems inevitable by the end of the decade.
Top Sports Betting Sites In Texas
At the moment, there are no Texas sports betting sites to speak of. However, sports betting is becoming more popular throughout the country and many major operators would likely leap at the chance to provide sports wagers to Texan residents.
This is doubly true due to connections that certain big players in the industry have with Texas sports teams. For instance, Tilman Fertitta, the owner of the Houston Rockets, also owns the Golden Nugget, which is a casino and sports betting chain.
Furthermore, Jerry Jones has a big stake in DraftKings, one of the largest sports betting providers in the country. Mark Cuban owns an eSports betting platform called Unikrn. All in all, these connections indicate that there’s already some political infrastructure in place to smooth over the launch of certain big sports betting operators.
In particular, we’d expect most major American and international sportsbooks to launch in Texas if and when sports betting is legalized. That’s partially because Texas is the second most populous state in the country, so the potential gambling fanbase is unimaginable. Popular sportsbooks we’d like to see include:
However, it remains to be seen how exactly future Texas sports betting legislation may pan out. Some states have imposed big restrictions on sports betting registration, requiring each licensed operator to partner with a local casino. States like Illinois and Iowa also initially required players to complete the registration process at those retail locations rather than remotely.
This would theoretically be more complex for Texas as the state currently only has two tribal-owned casinos. Therefore, it would need to approve and build more casinos for sports betting partnerships to become a viable operational method.
It’s more likely that any online or mobile sportsbooks will allow online-only registration to get around this limitation and launch online sports betting more quickly.
How To Place A Bet In Texas
For now, players are not able to place any online bets in Texas whatsoever, ranging from sports bets to regular casino wagers. However, it will be helpful to know how you’ll be able to place a bet in Texas if and when online sports betting becomes a reality. Here’s the basic process.
Pick A Sportsbook
For starters, you’ll need to choose the online sportsbook you want to use. There will likely be at least a handful of sportsbook operators at launch, and these will likely be comprised of a handful of big companies like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Fortunately, these big sportsbook operators provide robust mobile sports betting experiences and high-quality opening bonuses. You should check out the opening bonuses to determine which sportsbook best suits your wagering style and to take advantage of extra betting credit right off the bat.
However, you should also pay attention to how those bonuses are fulfilled. Some require promotional codes, while others have time limitations. Here’s more about sportsbook bonus terms and conditions.
Download The Sportsbook
Once you choose the sportsbook you want to use, you’ll need to download it. You can utilize the direct links on the sportsbook’s website, or search for it in the App Store for iOS users or the Google Play store for Android users.
Geolocation software will also be installed to track your location and make sure you don’t place sports bets outside of Texas state lines.
Register For The Sportsbook
Next, you’ll need to register for the sportsbook you chose. Registration might have an in-person requirement component. In this case, you need to finish the registration process by visiting a retail casino partnered with your sportsbook pick.
If registration does not require in-person visits, you’ll need to provide contact and identifying information, such as phone number and address. You will likely have to provide a photocopy of your ID when you make your first withdrawal to verify your identity as well.
Fund Your Account
Most major sportsbooks allow you to fund your account in a variety of ways. Common deposit methods include credit and debit cards, direct bank links, PayPal or Skrill electronic wallet deposits, and ACH transfers. But each sportsbook has different account funding methods.
Here’s more on the best deposit methods for online sportsbooks.
Place A Wager
Once your account is funded, you’re all set. You can navigate through the app of your choice and place wagers on any upcoming or current sporting events.
Texas Legal Sportsbooks
For now, Texas sports betting enthusiasts have a long road ahead as they wait for sports betting legalization. But even though it may take up to a year or more for online sports betting to launch, it’s still a good idea to wait rather than use an offshore or illegal betting site.
That’s because offshore sites have terrible digital security and cannot guarantee the safety of your personal information or deposited funds. Identity theft is more common in this day and age than ever before and cybercriminals can all too easily lift your personal information, like your Social Security or credit card numbers, from offshore sportsbooks.
Offshore sportsbooks also have subpar odds and betting lines compared to their legitimate counterparts. Licensed and regulated sportsbooks use professional oddsmakers to create entertaining betting lines for both underdog bettors and those who prefer to wager on favored teams.
In contrast, offshore sportsbooks might come up with their odds randomly, leading to an overall unpleasant or unsatisfying sports betting experience.
Bottom line: wait for legal sports betting to come to Texas, even if it seems like it’ll take a while yet. For now, you can always cross state lines and visit nearby states with legal sports betting, like New Mexico and Mississippi, both of which have retail sportsbooks (but no online betting).
Texas Sports Betting Revenue
It’s difficult to estimate the precise amount of sports betting revenue that Texas would generate. But it would be absolutely massive. In fact, there’s a good chance Texas would be the biggest sports betting market in the US if it legalizes it.
For one thing, Texas is a big sports state. From Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio all have massive major league teams, and two colleges boast the top ten biggest stadiums on the planet by capacity (Texas A&M is 6th and Texas Longhorns is 9th).
Texas also has the second biggest in US after California, with 29.36 million residents. The current biggest sports betting market in the US is New Jersey, where online sportsbooks handle close to a billion dollars per month. New Jersey’s population is 8.882 million residents, which is less than a third of the population of Texas.
That is to say Texas online sports betting apps would handle at least a billion dollars or more per month. If we go strictly based on New Jersey, Texas sportsbooks would handle over $3 billion per month, or $36 billion per year. That’s a lot of revenue, and that translates to a ton of tax dollars for the state.
How Texas Compares To Other States
Texas’s history might be considered relatively wild or frontier-oriented compared to many other states. But in the modern day, Texas remains a stalwartly conservative state on most major social issues, including gambling.
In fact, it’s incredibly hard to practice any kind of legal gambling in Texas. This ranges from casino games to card games to sports betting. That’s partially due to the state’s hardline conservative stance against gambling, and prohibition was a part of the state’s constitution where it was admitted to the union.
Texas does technically allow for casinos on tribal-owned lands. There have been three Native American casinos in Texas so far, but only two remain since one closed down some years back. One is the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle along the Mexican border and the other is Naskila Gaming outside of Livingston.
As a result, Texas compares pretty poorly to other states, at least in terms of its current gambling opportunities. Players can only participate in any gambling games by visiting one of the two above-mentioned tribal casinos.
However, Texas does have legal poker rooms, many of which are located in and around major cities like Dallas and San Antonio.
Texas Betting Successes And Failures
Texas Sports Betting Successes
Texas currently doesn’t have many sports betting successes to speak of. That’s because the road to sports betting legalization has been long and slow despite the Supreme Court overturning PASPA in 2018.
However, Texas legislators have pushed for sports betting legalization in the past, and momentum seems to be growing. It would be surprising if Texas doesn’t legalize sports betting before the end of the decade, and hopefully by 2023.
Furthermore, Texas as a whole is a state with well-developed professional and college-level sports industries. In fact, professional and college sports are two major cultural touchstones for Texans and are core parts of the state’s national identity.
Therefore, any future Texas sports betting industry will benefit from built-in fans for local teams, including favorites like the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas A&M Aggies.
Where Could Texas Improve Online Gambling
Naturally, Texas could seriously improve its online gambling industry by enabling it in the first place. At the time of this writing, no online gambling activities are permitted whatsoever, even on tribal land. The tribal casinos are pretty limited in terms of their activity options too.
For bettors, the best course of action would be for Texas lawmakers to simultaneously legalize online sports betting while authorizing multiple in-person casino locations. While both are highly unlikely to happen in 2021, there will be a new push in 2022. And if it doesn’t happen then, sports betting advocates will push for it in 2023, and so on until it gets done.
Legalization Effort In Texas
The sports betting legalization effort in Texas has been relatively slow going so far. Opposition from the President of the State Senate, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, as well as other influential republican lawmakers will continue to keep hopes low for would-be Texas sports bettors.
However, various big players in the sports industry, including Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones, and Tilman Fertitta, have all voiced their support for Texas sports betting and own many of the state’s major teams. Furthermore, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has voiced his own support for Texas sports betting on a provisional level (i.e. he needs to see the details before coming out in full support).
Time will tell, and Gaming Today will be keeping you updated every step of the way.
Timeline Of Texas Sports Betting
- 2018 – The Supreme Court overturns PASPA and opens up the opportunity for legal sports betting across the country
- Feb 2019 – Representative Eddie Lucio III introduces HB 1275, a 15-page bill detailing potential future sports betting regulations
- Feb 2019 – Lucio also introduces House Joint Resolution 61, which would enable a referendum to amend the state constitution
- Jan 2021 – The Texas state legislature convenes once again to discuss the above bill and other major matters
- Feb 2021 – Major Texas professional sports teams form a coalition in support of legal sports betting.
- April 2021 – Sports betting legal experts see the legalization bills as destined to die in committee.
- May 31, 2021 – The end of the 2021 legislative session will mark yet another failure to legalize sports betting in the Lone Start State.
Texas Professional Sports Teams
Texas is home to a wide range of professional sports teams. In fact, it has major teams and all four North American professional leagues, including basketball, football, baseball, and hockey. These teams are:
- The Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
- The Houston Texans (NFL)
- The San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
- The Houston Rockets (NBA)
- The Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
- Houston Astros (MLB)
- Texas Rangers (MLB)
- Dallas Stars (NHL)
All of these teams have major fan followings and are already represented in sports betting markets in other states. As a result, future sports bettors in this state will have a wide range of betting options and teams to choose from. The sports betting market is practically baked into the state already.
Players will be able to place a wide range of bets, including moneyline, futures, props, parlay, totals, and other wagers.
Texas College Sports Teams
Texas is a big state for college sports. It’s home to 12 Division I colleges, ranging from Texas A&M to Texas State University to Texas Tech. Each of these colleges field numerous football, basketball, and baseball teams, all of which are popular options for sports betting enthusiasts.
On a cultural level, college sports are treated as a favorite pastime for Texans and a major source of professional and scholastic achievement. However, we’ll have to see how Texas’s future sports betting legislation treats college betting before making any predictions.
Some states have seriously limited collegiate sports betting for both in-state teams and any games that take place within state lines. That leaves collegiate betting for out-of-state teams and games only, which would be a major blow for Texas sports bettors.
But Texas may not impose these restrictions due to how popular college sports already are.
Other Sports To Bet On In Texas
In addition to professional and college sports for major American leagues, big sportsbooks that come to Texas will also allow you to place wagers on sports and leagues like:
- European soccer
- Aussie rules football
- And more
Texas Sports Betting FAQs
No. In fact, no sports betting is legal in Texas whatsoever, including at the two currently active tribal casinos.
No. But it may be possible sometime in the future when sports betting is legalized. It’s unclear whether Texas will allow betting on in-state college sports, as no sports betting bill has had a notable chance of passage.
No, you will not need to be a resident of Texas to bet in the state if online sports betting is legalized. The requirements will be that you’re at least 21 years old and physically located within state lines.
Yes, if the online sportsbook app is regulated and licensed. Licensed sportsbooks have high-quality digital security and have been investigated by an authoritative body before launching. Therefore, you can trust that your personal information and funds are safe.
Yes and no. DraftKings DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) is available in Texas. However, DraftKings Sportsbook is not available in the Lone Star State, which hasn’t legalized any form of legal sports betting.
If sports betting comes to Texas, you’ll need to be 21 years of age or older. This is the standard age for gambling activities throughout the country. While a few states allow 18 and up, Texas will likely not be one of them.
No, Bovada and MyBookie are offshore sports betting operators that are not legal or licensed to operate in Texas. We do not recommend using them.