With its huge population, massive land size, tremendous economic development and wealth, major pro sports galore, and an overload of major college sports, Texas would seem to be a natural state for online gambling.

Yet it has not happened. But in the eyes of many, it’s only a matter of time.

While Texas can legislate legal sports betting, they have been slow. Gambling in Texas is limited to the state lottery, horse and greyhound racing, bingo, and various charitable games. Gambling on tribal lands is exempt from state law. As such, tribes can offer all your traditional casino-style games like slots, cards, and table games. However, there are only two such tribal casinos in the entire state. And their locations, one on the Mexican border and the other in Livingston make them nearly unreachable for most of the population.

Private poker clubs are one exception; 18 are fully operational in Texas. Private poker clubs found a loophole and have taken advantage of a legal technicality. Lawmakers frown upon gaming, but no legal action has been taken to stop them from happening.

Regarding daily fantasy, lawmakers deemed the activity illegal in 2016. However, there’s been nearly no action taken by any state in the US against DFS players where these games are deemed illegal. So playing these games in Texas falls into a grey area.

State of Texas Sports Betting Overview

With Texas’ 2023 legislative session underway, mobile sports betting advocates face an uphill climb toward legalization. Professional teams, top politicians, and most citizens are in favor, but a large contingent remains opposed.

Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, and former Gov. Rick Perry are prominent Texans who have spoken out in favor of legal sports betting in the state.

According to LSR’s projections, sports betting revenue in Texas could be $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion in the first full year, depending on the tax rate and how the industry is deployed via mobile and retail.

State of Texas Sports Betting Timeline

Jan. 17, 2023  Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Clifton police raided suspected illegal gambling sites.

Jan. 5, 2023  The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which recently purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks, has reportedly bought land near downtown Dallas, which some believe could be the future sight of a casino.

Jan. 2, 2023  An Oklahoma legislator is pushing for legal sports betting in Oklahoma to “take money from Texans.”

Dec. 29, 2023  The NBA approved the sale of the Dallas Mavericks. The Adelson and Dumont families purchased the majority of the shares in the team.

Dec. 7, 2023 — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reiterated that legal casino gambling still does not have the votes in the state Senate.

it’s not yet legal to bet on sports in Texas. However, Texas legislators and citizens are joining the growing ranks of US states considering legalizing sports betting. Sports betting bill HB 1942 was introduced during the Texas legislature on February 6, 2023, and had the backing of major sports teams in the state.

A resolution proposing a constitutional amendment (HJR 102), which placed the question of legalizing sports betting on the ballot in November, passed through the House with a two-thirds majority vote during the 2023 session. However, Lt. Gov. Patrick exercised his power as president of the Senate in Texas to stop the resolution before the Senate could vote on it. Despite bipartisan support for HJR 102 and HB 1942 in the House, that came. Patrick claimed to have taken the pulse of Senators before throwing cold water on the issue. “We don’t waste time on bills without overwhelming GOP support,” he tweeted.

Texas continues to become a more bipartisan location as the years go by, and the dominance of the conservative pushback to gambling may eventually fade. However, Republicans currently hold small majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives following the November 2022 election. The governor and lieutenant governor of Texas are also Republicans, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threw cold water on the idea of expanded sports betting in the state while Gov. Greg Abbott has voiced his opposition to legalizing in the past.

Furthermore, older citizens remain both the most likely group to vote and the most likely group to contribute to political causes. In Texas, this cohort tends to look unfavorably upon gambling. Thus, the minority of opposing voters in the state tend to be the most vocal and have the resources to catch the ear of state politicians.

Texas politicians also receive substantial contributions from out-of-state casino interests. For instance, the Chickasaw Nation, which owns WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma (roughly an hour north of the DFW Metroplex), has donated more than $15 million to political interests— many in Texas.

In the meantime, professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers, could become partners with online sportsbooks and have voiced their support for legalization. Austin FC of Major League Soccer announced a deal with PointsBet in September 2021. And in 2022, Fubo Gaming (Fubo Sportsbook) partnered with the Houston Dynamo, the Houston Astros partnered with BetMGM, and Rush Street (BetRivers) joined forces with the Frisco Fighters. In December 2022, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban became the first Texas team owner to publicly state his desire to partner with a casino if the state legalizes sports betting.