Is Sports Betting Legal in Texas?

Just call Texas “Tennessee on steroids.” They, too, have a very strong sports market, both on the collegiate and professional levels. But they, too, turn out to be an inflexible state when it comes to most gambling laws, both of the casino and sports variety. Texas has not sanctioned sports betting, which means it’s no different from the overwhelming majority of other states who’ve yet to pass laws legalizing the act.

Texas Sports Betting Law

However, their opposition to other forms of gambling is fairly unique. They do not leave the letter of the law open for interpretation. What it says is what they enforce. They have shown an unwillingness thus far to shift off this slant. They remain one of the more hardliners when it comes to wagering on all fronts.

A Single, Solitary Casino 

Only one tribal casino is currently up and running in Texas. There are other federally recognized tribes within the state, but the local government hasn’t expressed much, if any, interest in expanding its current selection of gambling options.

Gambling Cruises to “Nowhere”

Gambling cruises to nowhere have increased in popularity over the years across many different states. Texas has seen an uptick more so than others, mostly because they are a large state with an avid demographic with fairly easy access to large bodies of open water.

These cruise ships are basically casinos afloat. They have table games, poker rooms and slot machines that patrons are able to use upon reaching international waters, often in the middle of nowhere—hence the concept. Then, after a certain amount of time, the ships head back to land, the gamers on board having successfully avoided breaking any state or federal laws.

Bingo Halls and Race Tracks for the Culture

In lieu of full-fledged casinos, Texas does have a rather large collection of bingo halls and race tracks. Though none of the latter establishments are racinos (i.e. filled with slot machines, simulcast races and other electronic gaming options), they are the closest thing residents get to on-shore gambling outside the state’s lone casino.

Daily Fantasy Sports Are Dunzo

Daily fantasy sports are recognized as illegal in Texas, a stance that has everything to do with literality. Reps have cited that gambling is defined as any event or wager predicated on any trace of chance. They looped daily fantasy sports into this group, arguing that it’s not entirely skill, because human performance, though based on skill, is not entirely predictive. 

Operations like FanDuel and Draft Kings have vacated the state as a result. There are lawsuits against the government pending, but they haven’t made any headway. Additional proposals to legalize daily fantasy sports have been reviewed and rejected since they were first deemed in breach of gambling law back in early 2016.

Texas Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Texas at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Legal (tribal only
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Legal (restricted to casinos)
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not legal (fights to legalize it remain in progress)
  • Social Gambling: Legal (albeit with heavy restrictions)
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal (also with restrictions)
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

Texas Sports Teams

Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

The Cowboys aren’t just the most popular team in the NFL; they might be the most popular team in the country. They’re often referred to as “America’s Team,” an unofficial designation they gained during the 1990s, when they secured three Super Bowls victories before the end of the decade.

Granted, the franchise’s performance since hasn’t been too inspiring. They waffled in and out of the playoffs for more than a decade, only sniffing Super Bowl contention a handful of times. Now, however, they seem primed for a return to prominence. They’ve found their quarterback of the future in Dak Prescott and boast one of the best offensive lines in football, behind which sits one of the most explosive running backs in football, Ezekiel Elliott.

A lot about these modern-era Cowboys remains up in the air. Prescott and Elliott are both only entering their second year. Still, the Cowboys’ 13-3 record and NFC East division title during their debut seasons counts for a whole lot.

San Antonio Spurs (NBA)

Just refer to the San Antonio Spurs as the New England Patriots of the NBA. This is not hyperbole. This is serious and accurate.

Since the debut of Tim Duncan, now retired, back in 1997-98, the Spurs have won a whopping 71.2 percent of their regular-season games. More incredible than that? No other team has even won 60 percent of their tilts over this same span; the Dallas Mavericks come closest, with a 59.7 percent victory rate.

Few franchises across every major sport are able to remain relevant for so long. The Spurs are like a never-ending dynasty; they have not ever won back-to-back titles, but they have five championship rings to their name over the last two decades.

What’s more, they’re not going anywhere. We can debate their proximity to the juggernaut Golden State Warriors until we’re blue in the face, but they’re seemingly never without star power. David Robinson became Tim Duncan, who became Kawhi Leonard, who is only 26 years old and already one of the seven best players in the league. 

Needless to say, the Spurs won’t be falling off the NBA’s contender radar anytime soon.

Houston Rockets (NBA)

Forget about the Houston Rockets‘ rich history. Yes, they have 31 playoffs appearances and two championships on their 50-year resume. And sure, they’re one of the most globally recognized teams, thanks to the worldwide reach they established during the over-too-soon Yao Ming era.

What makes the Rockets so fascinating is the roster right now. General manager Daryl Morey has acquired two top-10 superstars in James Harden and Chris Paul. These formations don’t just happen. Even when LeBron James joined Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat in 2010, you’d be hard-pressed to argue either of his two running mates ranked among the 10 best talents in the game. Ditto for LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers today.

Right now, the Rockets and Warriors are the only two franchises who can say they have a pair of top-10 superstuds on the roster. That should make for an interesting rivalry in the coming years.

Texas’ Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

Can you guess what the second-most watched sport in Texas is, behind american football?



Baseball? Nuh-uh.

It’s auto racing, specifically NASCAR events. And since there are no annual football hooplas—college Bowl games, for example, rotate in and out of Texas—we land on the Texas Motor Speedway, which holds up to 181,655 fans at the moment and plays host to a multitude of NASCAR races throughout a given year. These contests include the: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, AA Texas 500, My Bariatric Solutions 300, O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, 400 and Longhorn 350—the latter two of which are NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.

Results / FixturesNFL, NBA