Historically, its gaming and gambling were outlawed in the 70’s, meaning the state has a longstanding opposition to most gambling and, at the time of writing this, sports betting is illegal in the state of Texas. Interestingly there is no specific law about the legality of online gambling, but online casinos are effectively prohibited. Currently standard forms of sports betting such as betting on dog and horse races, are legal as well as Casinos on native land, owed by the tribes. Texas does offer Casino Cruises, taking passengers on international waters to avoid gambling laws completely. In February 2019 a Bill regulating sports betting in Texas was introduced.
Gambling Laws in Texas
Gambling laws in Texas are rather complicated due to the history of legislation and consequent amendments, for example it is legal for Casinos to operate slot machines, but illegal to pay out cash prizes. In the early 20th century pari-mutuel betting was legalized and paved the way for betting on horse and dog races, which was officially outlawed later. At the moment social, charitable and standard forms of gambling are legal, or legal via loopholes deployed, such as casino cruises. Currently the Texas Lottery commission presides over and regulates charity and social gambling.
- We use trusted sources such as: Dallas morning news and the Houston Chronicle to stay on top of all industry related news and developments.
- We aren’t just experts in sports betting, we have dedicated teams across the gambling industry including for casino games such as slots and have created an online roulette guide.
- We keep on top of any changes to the law by following closely the movements of the Texas Lottery Commission and the Department of Licensing and regulation in Texas.
- Houston Chronicle
- Dallas Morning News
- Texas Lottery Commission
- Department of Licensing and Regulation
Most Popular Sports in Texas
Texas has a wide array of highly successful sports teams and huge sporting events throughout the year. Currently Football is by far the most beloved sport in the state, being home to 2 NFL teams and a lot of successful college and high school football teams. These games draw huge crowds. It is also home to 3 NBA teams and 2 MLB teams making it the most followed sports after American football. Historically the Rodeo has been one of the favorite past times by residents and the state hosts 5 PGA Golf tournaments annually.
National Football League – Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys were founded in 1960, compete in the National Football Conference East Division and their home Stadium is the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The team is not just a Texas favorite but a US favorite team with a streak of 190 consecutive sold-out post-season games since 2002. They have been to the Super bowl 7 times and won a total of 5 times.
National Basketball League – Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks aka Mavs are based out of the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas and compete in the Western Conference Southwest Division. The team was founded in 1980 and has since won 3 Division, 2 Conference and 1 NBA Championship title. The Mavs have set a record of 704 consecutively sold out games since 2001, the longest running sellout streak in any North American Major Sports league, at the time of writing this.
National Hockey League – Dallas Stars
Founded in 1967 in Minnesota, the team became the Dallas Stars in 1993 after relocating to the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Since, Hockey has become a growing participatory sport in the area. The team competes in the Central Division of the Western Conference and has won 1 Stanley Cup championship, 8 Division Conference titles and 2 Conference Championship titles.
Major League Baseball – Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were established in 1962 as the Houston Colts .45s and were renamed 3 years later when they moved into the Astrodome, the world’s first domed sports stadium dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. They compete in the American League West Division. 2017 was their biggest year to date, winning the World Series for the 1st time and for the state of Texas as well as being the first team in MLB history to win a pennant in the NL and AL.
Local History of Sports Betting
As previously mentioned, Texas laws on gambling and its history are rather complicated. There were many instances were specific gambling, even sports betting was legalized but was then prohibited again. In fact, in some instances there are no laws prohibiting gambling but opportunities to do so are limited if not unavailable. The industry has found some loopholes to this, but gambling overall has been deemed illegal for most cases.
|1933||Pari-Mutuel betting is legalized pertaining to dog and horse races, overseen by the Texas racing commission.|
|1937||All gambling was banned at a special legislative session by Governor John Allred.|
|1988||First Casino Cruise sets sail, allowing for gambling on international waters starting a series of legal challenges.|
|1989||Charitable gambling is officially legalized.|
|1992||The Texas state lottery officially kicks off offering scratch-offs and draws.|
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Texas
As previously mentioned, the Texas sports betting activities are currently illegal and no official minimum age has been set. As marijuana, medical or recreational has not been legalized, there is no age to be compared with. It is anticipated that the minimum age to place sports bets will be in accordance with the legal drinking age, currently set at 21.
Sports Betting Age
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of the State?
As of 2018 the supreme court struck down a law essentially banning commercial sports betting in most states. Since, a number of states have passed bills legalizing sports betting. On Oct 16th, 2018 New Mexico took its first sports bets in the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel. No new sports betting legislation was passed but the New Mexico (tribal) gaming compact permits any and all form of class 3 gaming. Since November 2018 Arkansas voters approved a measure expanding legal gambling to sports betting. Licenses for vendors are currently being allocated under the Arkansas racing commission.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
As mentioned beforehand, sports betting is currently illegal in Texas and no taxation has been set. The currently filed House Bill 1271 proposes to implement an income tax of 6.25% on winnings from sports betting and gambling. Compared to taxes withheld on State Lottery winnings above $600 which are at 30%, this proposal is very reasonable. States which have legalized sports betting e.g. Mississippi, are imposing 6% state tax on winnings. This is very similar to the proposed 6.25% tax rate in Texas.
Upcoming Regulation Changes in Texas Sports Betting Law
Currently, only social and charitable gambling is legal in Texas. In February 2019, HB1275 was filed by State Rep. Eddie Lucio the 3rd to authorize sports betting operations including mobile and online wagering. Specifically, it proposes that operators acquire a permit at $25,000 of which only 5 will be allocated. It also calls for a 6.25% tax implemented on winnings and other regulatory measures. The Department of Licensing and Regulation is supposed to have oversight. It will require a referendum to amend the state constitution by voters in November 2019, but due to the states’ gambling law history it is anticipated to take much longer until sports betting will become legal.