Despite sharing its name with one of the most popular forms of poker (Texas Hold’em), gambling in Texas is actually subject to some of the strictest gambling laws in the United States.

That said, conservative Texas does offer its citizens and visitors a range of legal betting options, including live horse racing online, a single Tribal Casino, a popular state lottery, some live poker, participation in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions and charitable gambling.

Depending on the outcome of the latest legislative sessions, mobile sportsbooks and online casinos in the style of New Jersey online gambling sites may become reality for Texas as a form of state budget repair.

Texas Casino Gambling

Whilst there are no commercial casinos in Texas, the state does offer one Tribal Casino that offers limited casino services (live poker, live bingo and approximately 2800 slots only) on Kickapoo Tribal lands.

Many bus companies ferry Texan residents each day on excursions to visit nearby casinos in the neighboring states of Nevada, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Cruise Ships and converted mega-yachts occasionally sail into international waters off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico in order to legally offer casino games, including slot games, live dealer casino table games (including baccarat, blackjack, roulette and poker) and sportsbooks.

Online Casinos in Texas

In addition to an unsuccessful attempt to legalize online horse racing in 2017 with bill HB 3926 proposing to amend the Texas Racing Act , Texas has some history in attempting to legalize types of online gambling.

In 2013, Texas Ballot Measure SJR No. 43 and the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 (HR 2666) both sought to legalize online poker in the Lone Star State. Their approval would have surely led to a precedent whereby online casino play in general would have become legal in Texas.

Despite these successive online gambling legalization attempts, Texas has decided that unlicensed and unregulated online gambling is illegal under State Law.

Online players in Texas are advised to refrain from using both U.S. based online casinos and off-shore sites and not run the risk of running afoul of the state laws until the Lone Star State’s lawmakers can get up to speed by expanding the legal online gambling options in Texas. In the meantime, online players can use the sole legal online gaming option, i.e. DFS.

Poker in Texas

Surprisingly, social ‘home’ Poker games are legal in Texas as long as the participants need to demonstrate a prior social relationship, and nobody must profit from hosting the game/s.

For information on how to play Poker legally for real money in Texas, please read on below.

Poker Rooms

Live Poker can be played at Texas’ sole Tribal Casino, and of course, Cruise Casinos also offer Live Poker, although theoretically they are not-based in Texas.

Online Poker Laws

Online Poker is an absolute no-no in Texas. See above section – ‘Online Casinos in Texas’ for further clarification.

  • The American Sports Betting Coalition recently estimated that legal sports betting in Texas could add $1.7 billion annually to the state’s economy and overnight create up to 9,300 jobs.
  • How far any potential sports betting legislation in Texas may go will depend on the economy at the time of debate in the State House. Depending on the state budget at the time, if important state issues like hurricane relief, education funding, domestic violence, policing, fire departments and other key goodwill-and-charities should potentially take priority over any philosophical gambling debate.
  • When sports betting is legalized it should assist in developing other sectors of the gambling industry. For example, if gamblers head to a racetrack to place a bet on the Dallas Cowboys, they might stick around to have a meal, a few drinks and perhaps even place a bet on the horses.
  • With nearby Mississippi and Nevada already offering legal sports betting, legalizing sports betting in Texas could assist in keeping some of the estimated $3 billion annually leaving the state, in the Texan economy.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Texas

1933-37; Horse Racing betting legal in Texas.

1971; Charitable gaming legalized in the Lone Star State.

1973; All gambling outlawed.

1987; Horse Racing re-legalized.

1989; Charitable gaming re-legalized.

1992; Texas State Lottery begins.

1996-2002; Disputes between Tribes and the State Government result in only one Tribal Casino remaining open in Texas.

2013-2017; Multiple Bills introduced to Texas State Legislature on legalizing online poker, horse-racing and DFS. All were defeated.

2021: A renewed sports betting legalization push begins with a strong lobby from the Adelson Las Vegas Sands Group.

To read about Texas’s top online casino gambling sites Click Here