Texas allows more forms of land-based gambling than non-Texans might think, but it still does not regulate online gambling. Most Texans who want to gamble for real money at online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms must do so at offshore gambling sites. That might not always be the case.
In April 2023, an online and mobile sports betting bill passed out of committee in the Texas House of Representatives. The bill is opposed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the presiding officer of the Texas Senate, so Texas sports betting is a long way from approval. Still, Texas now is one of the US states that might allow mobile sports betting (and land-based casinos), if proponents can find a way forward.
Read our guide to Texas gambling laws, including the latest details on Texas online and mobile gambling laws. Before discussing the future, an overview of the past and present is a good place to start.
Texas Gambling Laws at a Glance
- Legal Gambling: Land-Based Casino (domestic), Online/Mobile Casino (offshore)
- Minimum Gambling Age in Texas: 18 (through offshore sites)
- Retail Sports Betting in Person: No
- Online Casinos: Offshore, Sweepstakes Casinos
- Online Poker Sites: Offshore
- Online Sportsbooks: Offshore
- Live/In-Play Betting: Offshore
- College Sports Betting: Offshore
- Horse Racing: Domestic and offshore
- Estimated Sports Betting Revenue: To Be Determined
- Licensed Sports Betting Operators: None
- Online Gambling Licensing Fee: To Be Determined
- Tax Rate: To Be Determined
- Tax Funded: To Be Determined
Timeline: Texas Online Gambling Law History
- Pre-1836: Houston Gambling Houses: During the period of Mexican control, Texas gained a reputation for saloons and gambling establishments. Notably, the City of Houston became known for its active liquor sales and gambling houses.
- Mid-19th Century: Texas Tolerates Gambling: Following Texas’ independence, the state acquired a reputation for lenient laws. Many individuals seeking refuge from justice in the USA saw Texas as an escape, leading to the popular saying “Gone to Texas.” Gambling was tolerated as a vice during this time.
- 1865: Famous Texas Gamblers: Carlotta “Lottie Deno” Thompkins and her husband, Frank Thurmond, relocated to San Antonio. Both were renowned gamblers. When Frank killed a man in a gambling dispute and evaded the authorities, Lottie embarked on a search throughout West Texas to find him. She gained various nicknames such as The Angel of San Antonio, Mystic Maud, and the Queen of the Pasteboards due to her exploits.
- The 1870s: Fort Griffin Gambling: The cattle boom attracted a wave of new immigrants, leading to a surge in unregulated gambling during the Reconstruction Era. Fort Griffin emerged as a notable hub of vice and corruption.
- May 12, 1874: Doc Holliday’s Dallas Gambling: Doc Holliday and 12 others were indicted for participating in illegal gambling activities in Dallas.
- January 1875: Dallas Gambling Den: Doc Holliday was arrested for exchanging gunfire in a Dallas gambling den. Later in the same year, he left the state to avoid the pending charges. Before his passing in 1887, he gained notoriety in Arizona for his shootout at the OK Corral.
- Late 19th Century: Frogtown and Hell’s Half Acre: Texas gained recognition for its numerous gambling dens. Frogtown thrived in Dallas, Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth, Happy Hollow in Houston, Guy Town in Austin, and The Sporting District in San Antonio.
- The 1920s: The Balinese Room: The Balinese Room became a renowned underground gambling establishment during the Prohibition era. It cleverly incorporated secret compartments to conceal cards and chips during police raids.
- 1933: Texas Pari-Mutuel Wagering: Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in Texas, leading to the operation of four major race tracks from 1934 to 1937.
- 1937: Ban on Pari-Mutuel Wagering: Texas once again prohibited pari-mutuel horse betting. The ban was imposed through a vote during a special legislative session called by then-Governor James V. Allred.
- The 1950s: Famous Texas Poker Players: A new generation of gamblers embarked on the Texas circuit, engaging in a new poker variation called Texas Hold’em. Notable figures like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Bryan “Sailor” Roberts honed their skills in these underground poker games. Eventually, they migrated to Las Vegas, where fellow Texan Benny Binion had opened the Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Las Vegas.
- 1970: Texas Hold’em at WSOP: Benny Binion hosted the inaugural World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe Casino. He selected Texas Hold’em as the main event variant, contributing to its rise in popularity and establishing it as the most favored poker variation.
- 1987: Texas Horse Race Tracks: Texas voters approved pari-mutuel betting on races. Presently, Texas has three active racetracks: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie (Dallas-Fort Worth), Retama Park in Selma (San Antonio), and Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. Additionally, the Gillespie County Fair in Fredericksburg offers Class III racetrack betting on select weekends during the summer, along with simulcasting. Individuals aged 18 and above are permitted to place horse race bets.
- November 5, 1991: Texas State Lottery: In a statewide referendum, Texas approved the establishment of a state lottery. The vote was made possible by the passage of House Bill 54 on July 11 of the same year.
- 1996: Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino: The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino was inaugurated in Eagle Pass. Operated by the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, one of the three federally recognized Native American tribes in the state, the casino has become the largest employer in Maverick County, boasting a workforce of over 700 employees.
- December 5, 2003: Texas Joins Mega Millions: Texas became a member of the Mega Millions multi-state lottery association.
- January 31, 2010: Texas Joins Powerball: Texas joined the Powerball multi-state lottery association.
- June 15, 2022: Texas Tribes Win Supreme Court Case: The US Supreme Court sided with the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe of Texas and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo of Texas (Tiguas) in their lawsuit about whether the tribes can establish land-based casinos in Texas. The SCOTUS ruled 5-4 on behalf of the tribes, who own gaming venues in El Paso and near Houston, respectively.
- April 3, 2023: Texas Mobile Sports Betting Bill: The Texas House State Affairs Committee approved House Bill 2843, which would permit casino gambling in Texas, or House Bill 1942, which would legalize online and mobile sports betting in the state. The vote was 9-3.
The Best Texas Online Casino Sites List 2023
|Texas Online Casino||Best Feature|
|MyBookie Casino||Best Combination Online Casino and Sportsbook|
|Big Spin Casino||The Best for Online Casino Table Games and Live Dealer Games|
|XBet Casino||Solid Combination of Casino Games, Sports Bets, and Live Casino Games|
My Bookie Casino
Is you want real money online casino gambling in Arizona, then MyBookie Casino is one of the best choices you can make. MyBookie has made a sterling reputation for itself since it launched in 2017, offering casino games, live dealer games, and sports bets. Whichever betting options you prefer, you’ll find a full range of gambling games.
MyBookie’s welcome bonus gives players a 150% match offer up to $750. Make a $500 deposit to max out the offer, then clear the 40x rollover requirement. If you prefer, you can accept a 10%, $200 first deposit cash bonus with a 1x rollover requirement. Casino players receive 50 free spins offer on deposits over $50 on Wednesday and a Weekend Casino Bonus of 200% up to $500 on deposits over $100.
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What We Like:
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Big Spin Casino
If you want a site a specialty gambling site that focuses only on casino games, Big Spin Casino is an option. Big Spin Casino features hundreds of online slots, but it also has so much more than that. The social games section also features several Keno variants, plus a large list of online scratch cards. Meanwhile, you can enjoy 64 different table games ranging from a dozen blackjack games to VIP European Roulette. Enjoy craps, baccarat, several types of roulette, and Casino Hold’em. Play less well-known games like 6Up Pocket Poker, Casino Solitaire, Ride’m Poker, Bonus Texas Hold’em, Blackjack 11, and Oasis Poker.
Big Spin Live Casino
The live dealer casino has all of the games you’d expect in an American live casino: Live Blackjack, Live Baccarat, Super 6, Live American Roulette, and Live European Roulette. The live blackjack games have bet limits between $10 and $2500, so you should find a game that appeals to you. Early Payout Blackjack is an option, though we wouldn’t recommend it. Live Roulette has betting options between 50 cents a spin and $12,000 a spin, so the bet range is huge.
Big Spin Casino features a 200% signup bonus up to $1000, a 100% reload bonus up to $1000, and a 250% Weekend Reload Bonus up to $2000. It’s rare to find a reload bonus that’s better than the first deposit offer, so pay special attention to the Weekend Reload Bonus. Because it’s redeemable many times (once a week), it’s the most lucrative bonus at Big Spin Casino. If you don’t make sports bets, Big Spin Casino is a great gambling site option.
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What We Don’t Like:
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XBet Casino is comparable to MyBookie Casino, though we place it here because its bonus is less lucrative. When it comes to casino games, XBet has everything you would want: hundreds of slots, table games, and video poker games. It has live dealer games, social games, 3D slots, and tournaments.
XBet Casino Live has huge bet limits. Live Blackjack’s min and max bets are a more standard $10 to $2,500, while the Live Roulette games range from 50 cents a spin to $12,500 a spin. Enjoy Live Blackjack, Baccarat, Super 6, American Roulette, and European Roulette.
One thing that sets XBet apart is its online sportsbook. Bet on any sporting event that Americans find important, including NFL games, MLB, NBA, NHL, UFC, NCAA games like CFF and CFB, and NASCAR. Make a wide range of bets on the Phoenix Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, or Arizona Rattlers.
What We Like:
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What We Don’t Like:
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How to Gamble Online in the United States