Last updated: December 17, 2021.
The Texas sports betting market would instantly become one of the most lucrative in the United States if it became legal.
Sports betting in Texas came under consideration during the 2021 legislative session. Multiple bills appeared that would create a legal sports betting market throughout the large state. However, they ultimately failed. The next opportunity for legalization is now more than a year off.
What’s happening in TX sports betting right now
- Jan 20. 2022 – Fubo Gaming announced a deal with the Houston Dynamo which would potentially grant Fubo a Texas online sports betting license when legal.
- Jan. 18, 2022 – Cara Gustafson with the Sports Betting Alliance told local news that Texas is “delaying the inevitable” by not legalizing sports betting.
- Dec 17, 2021 – Texas Rep. Dan Huberty told the NCLGS gaming conference in Austin: “I really believe there’s an opportunity here to pass sports betting in 2023. If you present it to the voters in the right way, it’s going to pass.”
- Oct 31, 2021 – Global sportsbook operator bet365 announced a deal with the San Antonio Spurs to free-to-play prediction game. Bet365 will also advertise at AT&T Center during Spurs home games and have a presence on Spurs.com and the team’s social media channels. The deal could extend to sports betting when/if it is legalized in Texas.
Texas sports betting basics
Right now, it’s not legal to bet on sports in Texas. That could change in the near future though.
Texas legislators are joining the growing ranks of US states considering legalizing sports betting as states search for new revenue sources to bolster their budgets. Multiple bills are being considered in the state legislature in 2021.
That does not guarantee legal sports betting will come to Texas though. Political opposition could make it quite complicated for the Lone Star State to make it legal to wager on professional and college sports.
There is chatter as well that professional sports teams including the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers could become partners with sportsbook operators. That would allow the teams to feature sports betting as part of their marketing, as well as possibly within their stadia.
When will online sports betting launch in Texas?
It’s essentially a given that sports betting in Texas will include some kind of online component.
There are no legal casinos in Texas, so there’s no built-in retail gaming network fit for sportsbooks. Texas does have a lottery but given the lobbying power and interest of the state’s professional teams it seems unlikely they’d be cut out at this point.
Should one of the 2021 proposals pass, there could be legal online sports betting in Texas by 2022.
Latest Texas sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Texas
Right now, there are no legal ways to bet on sports in Texas.
There are a number of websites and apps that say they can accept bets from anywhere in the United States. Since there are no federally-regulated sports betting apps it’s easy to identify these websites as offshore unregulated operators.
Since there’s no US jurisdiction licensing these sportsbooks, there’s no guarantee US bettors will get their winning bets paid out. Some offshore sportsbooks have also closed operations without returning customer funds.
Most popular sports to bet on in Texas
Given Texas’ second overall rank in population and size, there’s no surprise the state has 11 professional sports teams. Those teams include three NBA teams, two NFL teams, two MLB teams, two MLS teams, a WNBA team and a National Women’s Soccer League team.
NFL betting in Texas
Given the excitement over just about every level of football in Texas it’s expected that NFL betting would reign supreme.
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the largest fanbases around the country including plenty of support throughout the state. Their home, AT&T Stadium, could also become one of the largest sportsbooks in the world if sports betting is allowed in a team’s stadium.
Texas also has the Houston Texans, which debuted in 2002 to fill the gap left by the Oilers, which moved to Tennessee.
NBA betting in Texas
Basketball betting is also sure to be popular with the state’s three professional NBA squads.
The teams have varying levels of popularity throughout the state. The San Antonio Spurs have been the least flashy Texas basketball team over the years but have five championships to their name, the most recent coming in 2015.
The Dallas Mavericks, led by outspoken owner Mark Cuban, won their only title in 2011.
There could be some issues down the line concerning betting on the Houston Rockets, especially if they have their own sportsbook operations. That’s because owner Tilman Fertitta, who owns a gambling empire of his own.
NCAA betting in Texas
Betting on college sports will get plenty of attention should the enabling legislation allow NCAA betting.
Some schools that routinely appear in NCAA postseason games include the Baylor Bears, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas daily fantasy sports
Texas has been one of the hottest legal battlegrounds for the daily fantasy sports industry in recent years.
Is it legal to play DFS for real money in Texas?
There appears to be no problem for DFS players who want to take part in DFS contests in the state.
Is it legal for DFS operators to take customers in Texas?
That’s a complicated question, but several sites do still accept players in the state.
For a snapshot of which DFS sites allow players from which states, click here.
Daily fantasy sites for Texas players
DraftKings is the largest daily fantasy site that still accepts players from Texas for real-money contests.
DraftKings is challenging the opinion issued by the Texas attorney general that DFS is illegal gambling under state law. It still accepts Texas residents for real-money contests, as of the start of NFL season.
While a court case is pending, DraftKings has continued to take customers in the state.
FanDuel now serves the Texas market again with real-money DFS contests as of 2018. Players in Texas can still play any DFS contests.
FanDuel entered into a settlement with the Texas AG early in 2016 to avoid any possible legal issues down the road, but things have changed since FanDuel was acquired by Paddy Power Betfair.
Yahoo Texas and other DFS sites
Yahoo is the third largest DFS operator, and it also takes customers for real-money play in the state.
FantasyDraft is among the other operators that also accept Texas residents.
History of daily fantasy sports in Texas
Before 2016, almost all DFS operators allowed users to play for real money at their sites.
That all changed in January, when Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that said, in part:
Under section 47.02 of the Penal Code, a person commits an offense if he or she 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. Because the outcome of games in daily fantasy sports leagues depends partially on chance, an individual’s payment of a fee to participate in such activities is a bet. Accordingly, a court would likely determine that participation in daily fantasy sports leagues is illegal gambling ‘under section 47.02 of the Penal Code.
While DraftKings and FanDuel initially released statements saying they disagreed with that opinion, things were quiet in the short term. Then came the revelation in March that FanDuel had been working on a settlement with Paxton; DraftKings decided to go its own way and fight the opinion in court.
An attempt to legalize DFS with a new law was not enacted in 2017. The next time the legislature could act would be in 2019.
Is horse racing legal in Texas?
Horse racing and parimutuel betting are both legal in Texas.
Texas sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Texas?
Right now, there is no legal sports betting in Texas. There are rumors that could change in 2021, but Texas is a notoriously conservative state, especially when it comes to gaming.
Who would oversee sports betting in Texas?
The enabling legislation would likely call for the creation of a regulatory board to oversee Texas sports betting, though regulation could be handed to the Texas Lottery as well.
Is it legal to bet on my phone in Texas?
Since all betting is currently illegal in Texas, there are no legal mobile sports betting apps available despite what they might say.
Any sportsbook offering to take bets from a bettor within Texas’ border is an offshore operator. These unregulated operations are risky for US bettors because there’s no guarantee their winning bets will be paid.
Is daily fantasy sports legal in Texas?
That depends on whom you ask. According to the Texas AG and some experts specializing in gambling law, it is illegal to offer. Lawyers for the DFS sites would beg to differ.
So far, there has been no momentum from any state — Texas included — seeking to take any type of action against people who are playing DFS. The concern would be for the operators running DFS contests, generally not for players.
Only one state has actually sought to take action against DFS operators, to date — New York. And that state eventually legalized DFS contests in the summer of 2016.