Texas is one of the strictest states in the US when it comes to gambling. Only a few types of gambling are technically allowed within the state, and online gambling isn’t one of them.
However, some Texas legislators are attempting to amend the standing legislation. It’s possible that Texas may allow online gambling in the near future. However, exactly what this will look like remains to be seen.
When Will Legal Online Gambling Come To Texas?
Online Sports Betting In Texas
At the moment, Texas is behind most other states when it comes to legalizing online gambling, and this includes online sports betting.
However, there are five sports franchises in Dallas and four in Houston. So, with interest groups in the area, it’s possible that online sports betting will become a reality sometime soon. With nearly 30 million residents, Texas represents a huge market for sports betting and similar online gambling opportunities.
There are currently two bills within Texas’ House of Representatives aiming to legalize sports betting and other types of online gambling. But there’s no exact timeline for when they may (or may not) be passed.
Online Casinos In Texas
As mentioned above, online gambling for real money is not allowed in Texas. However, there are several online sweepstakes casinos available to state residents. These casinos allow you to exchange digital coin winnings for sweepstakes prizes, which can include real money.
Currently, the Texas House of Representatives is considering a bill that would legalize casino gambling.
Online Poker In Texas
It is not currently legal to play online poker for real money in Texas. However, sweepstakes online poker is an option. In fact, it is quite popular in the state given Texas residents’ proclivity toward this card game.
What Online Gambling Options Are Allowed In Texas Today?
Sweepstakes Online Poker
As previously mentioned, Texas does not currently allow online real money poker games. Poker options are limited to recreational (no money) games or online sweepstakes. Sweepstakes games are legally distinct from gambling. They essentially operate under a loophole and are allowed to persist despite the state’s regulations against gambling for money online.
How Online Sweepstakes Poker Works
Sweepstakes poker sites allow you to play poker legally all across the United States and win prizes along the way. In a nutshell, you bet using “Sweeps Coins”, which you can later exchange for cash prizes. New users start out with a free sign-up bonus of $20 worth of coins.
To sign-up, all you need to do is fill out a relatively simple form. You don’t even have to verify your information until you’re ready to cash out. When that time comes, you can get paid out through Visa, Mastercard, or Skrill e-wallet, with more options arriving soon.
Do a little research to find out what sites are available.
Online Sweepstakes Casinos
You can technically play at online casinos for money. Both of these sweepstakes providers offer cash prizes for player redemptions.
Funzpoints is a sweepstakes casino site that allows you to enjoy casino-style games like slots and Keno for a chance at real cash prizes.
It offers a great selection of slots and Keno games to choose from, each with its own bonuses, features, and theme. The prospect of winning cash prizes is also exciting. You can enjoy Funzpoints legally anywhere in the US aside from Washington.
Fantasy sports, also called daily fantasy sports (DFS), are games in which participants assemble imaginary teams of digitized avatars based on real professional sports players. Simulated games are then carried out based on statistical data points gathered from the real-life actions of the sports players.
For that reason, DFS games aren’t entirely games of chance. They can be won through intimate knowledge of players and statistics. As such, there’s an open debate about whether or not DFS games should be considered gambling. Of course, whether or not they are classified as such has legal implications in Texas.
History of Fantasy Sports In Texas
Currently, Texas allows DFS games through a couple of different online providers including DraftKings and FanDuel. FanDuel only recently returned to Texas in 2018. The opinion of a standing Attorney General had led to a hostile environment for the sports gambling provider. To avoid possible legal complications, it left Texas for a short two-year period.
Prior to 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel had teamed up to convince Texas legislators that winning at DFS is more about skill than luck. Thus, such competitions could not be classified as actual gambling and should remain legal. When the campaign did not prove fruitful, FanDuel left Texas only to return two years later. DraftKings remained and continues to offer DFS gaming to Texas residents.
With FanDuel now back and both providers currently operating in Texas, legislation could swing in either direction. Time will tell whether the standing Attorney General is successful in his bid to get rid of daily fantasy sports.
Fantasy Sports Offerings In Texas
Both DraftKings and FanDuel provide access to DFS games via online or mobile apps. You can play for real money through these websites or applications, all the way up into the thousands or millions of dollars.
Both providers offer a robust and thorough selection of daily fantasy sports offerings. They allow you to participate in DFS contests across multiple sports and organizations including the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Participants can enter into various contests with potentially millions of dollars on the line.
Betting On Horse Races
Currently, betting on horse races is legal on eight different racetracks in Texas. However, these tracks only allow wagering on the racing site itself, meaning you have to be physically present at the race. Off-track betting (OTB) is not allowed in Texas.
Online Lottery Options
Texas law currently forbids buying or redeeming lottery tickets online. The Texas Lottery Commission clearly outlines that “state laws and regulations do not permit the sale of tickets by mail, phone or Internet”. Residents of Texas may purchase State Lottery, Powerball, and Mega Millions tickets in person only. However, if legislation is passed, online lottery ticket purchases may become possible.
What’s Holding Texas Back From Legalizing Online Gambling?
In a nutshell, Texas isn’t likely to legalize online gambling anytime soon. Currently, the state has stringent laws when it comes to gambling and doesn’t even allow retail casinos. This stands in stark contrast to what many people believe to be a state of rebels and outlaws, particularly because of Texas’ unique iconography and history.
Although poker is almost synonymous with Texas itself, playing poker for money in Texas will only net you a misdemeanor charge. Similar charges are possible if you are caught gambling online. Texas’ penal codes restrict any form of gambling, which is defined in this state as, “a bet based on the notion of winning or losing something based purely on chance”.
Gambling On Native American Reservations
There are three casinos operating on Native American reservations either within or just outside the Texas border. Texas residents can theoretically gamble in these territories, since they are not subject to state law.
Only federal laws regarding gambling apply within these reservations. This means that Texas residents, when on Native American land, can fully participate in these casinos’ online gambling platforms or websites that would otherwise be illegal within Texas state territory.
Current Online Gambling Legislation In Texas
Recently, Texas representative Eddie Lucio filed H 1275, a legislative bill that would both authorize and regulate various sports betting operations (including in-person and online variations). An additional bill, House Resolution 61, is currently being debated though it has not yet made it to the floor. House Resolution 61, if passed, would authorize betting on collegiate and professional sports.
Two-thirds of Texas’s House of Representatives and Senate will need to vote in favor of the bills in order for them to pass. In essence, Texas legislators and the people will need to amend the state constitution in order for any headway toward legalizing online gambling.
It’s likely that the legislation will eventually pass, though it might not be anytime soon. Other states are collecting enormous amounts of tax revenue from online gambling, and Texas will at some point want to embrace the opportunity.
Legal Online Gambling In Texas FAQs
Can you play at online casinos in Texas?
It depends. The only online casinos that are legal in Texas are those that allow you to play for sweepstakes, through which you can get real cash prizes. There are no online casinos that allow you to gamble with real money available to play in Texas at this time.
You can technically access online casinos that are not based in Texas or registered with Texan organizations. However, most of these online casinos use geolocation technology. This technology will detect that you are from Texas and block you from accessing the website.
Can you legally bet with sportsbooks in Texas?
No. It is not legal to bet with sportsbooks in any context in the State of Texas, whether it’s online or in-person.
Where’s the nearest state to Texas where you can participate in legal online sports betting?
Oklahoma is the closest state for many Texans looking to get their gambling fix. Technically, Oklahoma doesn’t have any laws allowing or prohibiting people from playing online games or using a sports betting interface. It’s a bit of a gray area. Other nearby states that allow gambling include Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Is DraftKings available to play in Texas?
Yes. DraftKings allows Texas residents to play daily fantasy sports, and it allows you to play for real money. Note that you will not be allowed to access its other online gambling options because its geolocation technology will detect that you are in Texas.
Is FanDuel available to play in Texas?
Yes. Texas residents can play daily fantasy sports through FanDuel’s online website and app. Similar to DraftKings, gambling options will not be available because of Texas laws against these activities.
Will this year be the one that Texas legalizes online casinos and sports betting?
Perhaps. As mentioned earlier, Texas representatives are currently putting forward bills that may amend the state constitution and allow for certain types of gambling to be regulated. However, this may take some time. Even if the bills are passed this year, they will take time to implement.
Online casinos and sports betting organizations will need to create infrastructure to bring these activities to Texas residents. Residents should not expect online casinos or sports betting to become available for at least another year, and it will likely be longer.