Texas does not currently offer any domestic online gambling options. However, much can change in any legislative session, and the state has seen at least some momentum regarding the legalization of sports betting (which is considered the logical first step toward expanded online gambling in general).
This page is dedicated to taking a look at the Texas online gambling laws and domestic land-based gambling options available in the Lone Star state.
Right from the start, of course, it bears mentioning that despite there being no domestically regulated online gaming opportunities in TX, there are no state laws that prohibit residents from participating in all the real-money casino gaming, sports betting, and poker offered by licensed international Texas online gambling sites.
Other Texas Gambling Pages
Where Does Texas Stand On Gambling In General?
Texas is not particularly known for being a “gambling state.” Whether due to historically conservative politics, its proximity and partnership with nearby Nevada (and the Las Vegas tourism dollars hanging in the balance), or any other reason, the fact remains that the state has no real gambling presence to speak of. Everything’s bigger in Texas except gambling, apparently.
In total, Texas offers no commercial casinos, only one tribal casino, a state lottery, charitable gaming (bingo, raffles), pari-mutuel horse racing betting and – for the time being – greyhound betting.
Texas also has a selection of “8-liner” cafes, which are venues that have slot-like VLTs (video lottery terminals) that offer payouts no larger than five dollars.
However, the state also has not criminalized online gambling provided that residents are 18+ and use licensed, regulated, international betting sites that operate outside of US borders. All the sites listed here fit that bill to a T – for “Texas”!
Is Social Gambling Legal In Texas?
Yes, social gambling is legal in Texas. That said, there are caveats. First and foremost, these games must be held in private residences or venues that are not open to the public.
In addition, no entity can take a rake or act as the “house” and earn a cut of the action. This would render the “house” an unlicensed gambling operator, which is absolutely against the law.
As long as these social games are played among private parties who risk and win all the money wagered and pay no operator fees to anyone else, you are free to gamble in private settings in the state of Texas.
Is Playing Poker Legal In Texas?
It is illegal in Texas to bet money or anything of value at any game played with balls, dice, cards, or other gambling device. Therefore, playing house-banked poker in Texas – or playing poker in any venue that receives a direct financial benefit from hosting the games, is unlawful.
However, many restaurants and bars in Texas regularly hold poker tournaments, and numerous card clubs are situated in the state. Playing in these venues is legal as long as the players do not risk money or anything of value to try to win any prize.
Further, Texas poker rooms and card clubs are permitted to operate so long as the house takes no rake and are not open to the general public. There is no law in Texas that bars social poker games, provided – again – that no entity takes a house cut.
Texas Online Gambling Laws Concerning Poker, Casinos, and Sports Betting
While Texas offers no domestic online gambling options, there are no laws in Texas which makes it illegal to play with licensed casino sites, sports betting sites, or online TX poker sites operating offshore. Nor does accessing licensed offshore sites violate any federal law.
However, there have been many bills pending in the state legislature which have attempted to regulate or legalize domestic online poker, sports betting, and even expanded casino gambling (albeit only at brick-and-mortar venues).
That said, there is a US federal law that is often confused with being a ban on online gambling: the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA. Despite its scary-sounding name, the act in reality deals with the processing and transfer of funds from US banking institutions to any unauthorized gambling entity, domestic or foreign.
This law does not apply to the players utilizing online gambling platforms, though it can occasionally automatically decline credit card and debit card deposits, which is a mild annoyance (and is why we recommend Bitcoin gambling online).
You can learn more about USA online gambling laws to take a look at the US online gambling situation from a Federal perspective.
Texas Gambling Laws
The following is a resource for those interested in reviewing the actual statutes and local Texas gambling laws for themselves. Texans can find official documentation of the laws in their formal language via the Texas Legislature Official Website.
Texas Online Gambling Laws FAQs
Which gambling markets are legal in Texas?
Tribal-owned casinos, non-banked poker games at card clubs, lottery gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, bingo, keno, and online gambling through licensed offshore providers are all legal according to Texas law.
Are there any land-based casinos in Texas?
Yes, but only one. The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass, TX, is the only brick-and-mortar casino venue in Texas.
There are no commercial casinos in the state, and legislation to expand gambling to include commercial casino destinations has not received much traction to date.
Are there real-money poker rooms in Texas?
No. While there are plenty of poker clubs in the state, these are not open to the general public, and the poker games themselves are not played for real-money pots or prizes of any kind.
That said, social gambling is legal in the state, so you can freely play private poker games with real cash on the line, as long as no operator or “house” entity takes a cut.
Is DFS legal in Texas?
Technically, no. But daily fantasy sports providers do business in the Lone Star State, as there are no laws barring these games, and DFS is not universally acknowledged to be a traditional form of gambling as defined by law.
If you live in TX, you can play DFS contests for real-money payouts with all the top operators, and there is no record of any individual getting in legal trouble for doing so.
Will Texas legalize sports betting?
We believe that Texas sports betting legalization is imminent. In 2020, HJR 61 was introduced to put domestic sports betting on the November ballot, but it languished in congress and didn’t make the cut.
Nevertheless, the momentum is clearly there, and Texas sports wagering should be the first major gambling expansion that passes into law in the state.
This would likely include online sports betting, though action would be limited to Texas residents per the Federal Wire Act, which means you’ll get almost always get better odds at offshore sportsbooks on locally popular teams.
Disclaimer: If you are seeking legal interpretations of any TX gambling law or statute, we suggest you contact a lawyer specializing in the field. We are professional gambling consultants well-versed in gambling laws, but we are not lawyers and cannot offer legal advice.