When Will Texas Legalize Gambling

  • Apr 28, 2020 The state governor is opposed to legalized sports betting, as are many state politicians. A two-thirds majority would be required to pass the bill in the Texas legislature. With numerous professional and college teams in a state of nearly 30 million people, the Lone Star State is a potentially large market for the sports betting industry.
  • Dog and horse racing are legal in Texas, however, gamblers can only place in-person wagers. OTB betting isn’t allowed. To give the current situation some context, let’s look at the most pivotal moments in Texas’s gambling history: 1933 – Texas implements its first Pari-Mutuel horse race betting.
  • The state governor is opposed to legalized sports betting, as are many state politicians. A two-thirds majority would be required to pass the bill in the Texas legislature. With numerous professional and college teams in a state of nearly 30 million people, the Lone Star State is a potentially large market for the sports betting industry.

Iowa legalized sports gambling in 2019, with multiple sites beginning to take bets at the end of that summer. State law allows for betting on both pro and college sports. Kansas: Not legal, but.

Texas is one of the strictest states when it comes to gambling and its laws can cover a wide variety of activities. Under Texas law, (Penal Code §47.02) gambling is considered a criminal offense if someone:

  • makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest
  • makes a bet on the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
  • plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device.

The law does provide for some exceptions such as participating in the state lotteryor placing bets on horse and greyhound dog races (sometimes referred to as pari-mutuel wagering). The law also provides for some affirmative defenses to prosecution:

  • the actor engaged in gambling in a private place;
  • no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and
  • except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants

Additional exceptions include if the person reasonably believed their conduct:

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling
  • was permitted under Chapter 2001, Occupations Code; (Charitable Bingo)
  • was permitted under Chapter 2002, Occupations Code; (Charitable Raffles)
  • was permitted under Chapter 2004, Occupations Code; (Sports Charity Raffles)

The first page of this guide will provide you with an overview of the Texas laws on gambling while the subsequent pages will discuss more specific topics like bingo, eight-liners and poker.

Texas Could Legalize Sports Betting in 2020, Despite Opposition

If there is one thing that is true in Texas, it is that lawmakers in the state do not like casinos.

Countless attempts over the years to bring casinos into the state have failed when proposed.

Gambling

But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to give the power back to the states, Texas has become a hotbed of discussion for legalized sports gambling.

With the stigma that sports betting has in the state, progressive lawmakers understand that hearts and minds will have to change to get wagering on sporting events legal in the state.

Two bills were recently introduced by Democrat Representative Eduardo Lucio that could bring sports gambling to the state by 2020.

But Rep. Lucio knows the bills don’t have much of a chance to pass the Republican-controlled legislature, but that measures like these will have to be introduced for the conversation to change.

U.S. gaming expert, attorney Daniel Wallach, feels the more bills proposed, the more likely Texas could cave to outside pressure.

“I think the introduction of a bill like this starts the conversation, and while it may not end up on the ballot this year,” Wallach said.

“I think going forward, the prospects are promising for Texas because it’s probably one of the most important markets for sports betting, probably a top 5 market.”

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling Rules

The proposed bills do have a unique wrinkle as each bet would be taxed 6.25% rather than a casino’s revenue.

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling

But until sports betting is considered not to be an evil endeavor by the Texas Legislature then hope right now is on life support.

How are Casinos in Neighboring States Influencing the Texas Bill?

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling Soon

The biggest obstacle in the fight to get sports betting into Texas is coming from casino lobbying from other states.

Native American tribe run casinos in Oklahoma have been significant contributors to Texas legislators in an attempt to kill the sports betting bills proposed recently.

Reports suggest that two Oklahoma tribes, the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, have given more than $5 million in donations to Texas lawmakers since 2006.

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling

When Will Texas Legalize Sports Betting

“The tribes have a major-league seat at the table,” said Bill Pascrell III, a gambling lobbyist that seeks to legalize sports betting across all 50 states.

In a show of strength, the Native American-run casinos in Oklahoma flexed their muscle with the help of “America’s Team.”

The Dallas Cowboys recently joined into a partnership with the Oklahoma-based Winstar Casino, a gaming location that rests on the Oklahoma-Texas border along the Red River.

The agreement does not use the word “betting” in the contract but rather calls the Cowboys a “casino partner.”

Other experts, including documentary filmmaker Bradley Jackson, creator of the Showtime docu-series “Action” about sports gambling in Las Vegas, believes Texas will adopt sports gambling soon.

“I don’t think Texas will necessarily do it right off the bat,” Jackson told Texas Monthly.

When Will Texas Legalize Gambling Winnings

“But I think it in a couple years, when they see how much money there is to be made and that there are smart ways to go about it, it’ll happen.”

When Did Texas Legalize Gambling

With the amount of money that states like New Jersey are generating for their general funds, it is hard not to see Texas falling to internal pressure to create revenue via sports gambling.