Texas Sports Betting

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Could Texas legal sports betting become a reality in 2021? The Lone Star State may have a reputation for being relatively relaxed with personal freedoms and for 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 both retail or online contexts. However, there has been recent word of legislative developments that might bring hope to Texas sports betting enthusiasts.

While sports betting is unlikely to launch over the next few months, new sports betting bills could pass as early as fall or winter 2021. So a new sports betting launch window could appear as early as 2022.

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

Texas is currently one of the most conservative states in the nation, especially when it comes to gambling. However, the last couple of years have included signs that the momentum could be shifting in favor of sports betting legalization.

  • February 2021: Texas State Rep. Dan Huberty filed Texas House Bill 2070 and Texas House Joint Resolution 97 to put legal sports betting to a November 2021 vote.
  • February 2021: In a unique approach, there are some Texas-sized rumors that the state’s professional sports teams could operate Texas legal sportsbooks.
  • 2019: House Bill 1275 provided provisions for legal sports betting, but stalled without passing as it required an amendment to the Texas State Constitution.

Previews Legalisation Attempts

Specifically, 2019 saw a two-tiered proposal come from the House of Representatives. 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

This is a great step toward widespread sports betting legalization throughout the state. However, this bill would require a referendum to amend the Texas Constitution. That’s because gambling is outlawed in Texas due to a constitutional provision, not a regularly passed law.

Push Back Against Sports Betting In Texas

As a result, passing this bill may be quite difficult. It will need two-thirds support in the House of Representatives and Senate and approval from voters. The public will also need to vote on the measure on a physical ballot during election season.

Additionally, the proposal has been sitting in limbo for some time since the Texas Legislature convenes only once every two years. As a result, HB 1275 has been reviewed only recently. It’s possible that this year may see significant strides toward sports betting legalization.

Indeed, the lobbyist Bill Pascrell III, who works with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, has reported that there is a significant push from inside the Texas Legislature to legalize some form of online gambling.

There are also major hurdles, including Texas’s own underdeveloped gaming culture in addition to pushback from organizations like Oklahoma Native American tribes (who take significant gambling income from Texans near the border).

Still, Texas sports betting is looking more and more likely every day. Many big Texas professional sports team owners, such as Jerry Jones (the owner of the Dallas Cowboys), Mark Cuban (the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), and Tilman Fertitta (the owner of the Houston Rockets), have announced their support for Texas sports betting.

Time will tell whether Texas legalizes sports betting in 2021 for a launch near the end of this year or sometime in 2022.

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, such as Illinois, have imposed big restrictions on sports betting registration, requiring each licensed operator to partner with a local casino and requiring players to complete the registration process at those retail locations.

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. Don’t pick a sportsbook whose bonus you won’t be able to take advantage of for one reason or another.

Download The Sportsbook

Once you choose the sportsbook you want to use, you’ll need to download it. However, the process is a little different based on whether you use an iPhone or an Android device.

iPhone users can simply search for their sportsbook of choice using the App Store. Then they can download it from that platform.

Android users will need to instead visit the desktop site of their chosen sportsbook. The online site should have a “download for Android” page or a similar location. The Google Play Store doesn’t have any gambling apps at all.

In either case, downloading the app you choose should result in automatic installation. Geolocation software will also be installed to track your location and make sure you don’t try to place a sports wager 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 below by visiting a retail casino partnered with your sportsbook pick.

If registration does not require in-person visits, you can simply provide the sportsbook with some personal information, including your physical address and Social Security number. This will help the app verify your identity and age.

Fund Your Account

Most major sportsbooks allow you to fund your account in a variety of ways. Common deposit methods include credit or debit transactions, direct bank links, PayPal or Skrill electronic wallet deposits, and ACH transfers. But each sportsbook has different account funding methods. Do some research and make sure that the sportsbook you want to download supports your ideal funding method.

Be sure to keep opening bonuses into account when deciding how much money to give yourself at first. Some bonuses, for example, our deposit match bonuses that provide you with a certain amount of app credit depending on your initial deposit amount. You can increase or decrease your deposit amount using this information to get the most bang for your buck.

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 upcoming or current sporting events as you like.

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.

Furthermore, offshore sportsbooks aren’t regulated or licensed by any authoritative body. So there’s no one to stop them if they choose to remove your account funds randomly. You’ll just have to take the hit.

Lastly, offshore sportsbooks usually 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 West Virginia.

Texas Sports Betting Revenue

Since Texas doesn’t have any legal sports betting at this time, the state government hasn’t earned any revenue from the activity. However, we can make some estimates about how much revenue Texas is likely to make if and when sports betting comes to the Lone Star State.

For example, Nevada has earned the most sports betting revenue between the years of 2018 and 2019 so far. It generated $307.36 million in just a single year alone. Even the smallest state with legal sports betting, Rhode Island, generated $7.7 million between the years of 2018 and 2019.

This shows that these two low-population states have brought in significant earnings thanks to sports betting legalization over the last couple of years. Texas’s population vastly outnumbers both of these states (even combined). As a result, any future sports betting industry in Texas will have a much larger potential pool of gamblers to draw from.

It’s no stretch to say that Texas’s future sports betting industry could reach well over $500 million in a single year once things get going. It may take some time to build up a gaming culture similar to New Jersey’s or Nevada’s in Texas. But once it arrives, revenue streams are likely to be consistent over the near future.

It’s also likely that the projected sports betting revenue Texas might enjoy is a big reason why many major names in the sports industry, such as team owners and certain politicians, are pushing for legal sports betting. The COVID-19 pandemic sent economic shockwaves throughout the market and many states are now in budget deficits.

Sports betting could provide a new and solid revenue stream for Texas as it seeks to recover economically from the pandemic. 

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 hard-line and conservative stance against gambling. This was a part of the state’s Constitution as soon as it was admitted to the union.

It 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 of them closed down some years back. The current casinos are also facing legal pushback and struggling to remain open due to COVID-19.

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.

For all other gambling activities, players have to either keep things under the table (not recommended, especially with offshore sites) or visit nearby states like Tennessee and Oklahoma. Tennessee permits online sports betting and Oklahoma offers many more tribal-owned casinos than Texas.

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, Texan legislators have pushed for sports betting legalization in the past, and momentum seems to be growing. 2019 saw the first major sports betting legalization bill brought to the Texas Legislature, even though it hasn’t yet been fully debated due to scheduling conflicts.

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 the Texan population 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 or 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.

With luck, Texas will legalize sports betting rather rapidly over the next year. The Texas Legislature is finally convening in 2021 and will examine the above-mentioned HB 1275. If there’s enough legislative momentum, it’s possible that this bill could be passed in the House and Senate and then put on the ballot for public voting as early as 2022. In theory, this could lead to a launch in early 2022 or mid-2022 for both retail and mobile sports betting operators.

Legalization Effort In Texas

The sports betting legalization effort in Texas has been relatively slow going so far. This is because the Texas Legislature has not convened since 2018. They are convening this year to discuss HB 1275 and other potential sports betting bills.

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’s governor, Greg Abbott, 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).

For now, we must wait and see how Texas’s legislators view HB 1275 and whether or not they significantly amend it before putting it on a future ballot.

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

Texas Teams

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

But Texas is also 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 at minimum.

On a cultural level, college sports are treated as a favorite pastime for Texans and a major source of professional or 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.

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:

  • Darts
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Racing like NASCAR
  • Tennis
  • MMA fighting
  • And more

Texas Sports Betting FAQs

Is online sports betting legal in Texas?

No. In fact, no sports betting is legal in Texas whatsoever, including at the two currently active tribal casinos.

Is it legal to bet on college sports in Texas?

No. But it may be possible sometime in the future when sports betting is legalized. It’s unclear whether Texas will allow in-state collegiate betting.

Do I need to be a resident of Texas to bet online?

Yes. When sports betting comes to Texas, you’ll need to be a physical resident of the state in order to place wagers using any licensed sportsbooks.

Is it safe to use an online sportsbook app?

Yes, if the online sportsbook app in question 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.

Is DraftKings Sportsbook legal in Texas?

No. However, many big sports players or owners have stakes in DraftKings, making this operator one of the most likely to launch if sports betting ever comes to Texas. DraftKings does offer daily fantasy sports to Texas residents.

How old do I have to bet online in Texas?

If sports betting comes to Texas, you’ll need to be 21 years of age or older in all likelihood. This is the standard age for gambling activities throughout the country.

Is Bovada and MYBookie Legal in Texas?

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.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of football (not soccer) and Gaelic sports.

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