Texas Online Casinos
Online casinos are not legal in Texas, nor is that likely to change any time soon. At present, social and sweepstakes casinos are Texans’ only resort for online-style poker and casino games.
As far as retail casinos go, Texas has no commercial casinos and only three tribe-owned properties with Class II gambling.
Game rooms, smaller casino offshoots, offering eight-liner slot machines have popped up throughout the state.
Here is an overview of Texas casinos, including information about the current and future status of online and retail casinos in the Lone Star State.
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Snapshot of Texas Casinos
Are Online Casinos Legal in Texas? No.
Will they become Legal Anytime Soon? Not for at least 3-5 years at the absolute earliest.
Are Commercial Casinos Legal in Texas? No.
Will Commercial Casinos become Legal Anytime Soon? 2023 may well be the best chance for casino legislation to pass the legislature. Current casino legislation would authorize resort-style casinos in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
Does Texas Have Any Tribal Casinos? Texas has one tribal casino, The Lucky Eagle, in Eagle Pass, TX.
Are There Any Other Casino Options? Online Sweepstakes Casinos are legal in Texas. They offer casino-style slot and card games. These can be played for fun or for the chance to win cash prizes?
What is the Casino Gambling Age in Texas? For retail casinos: 21; for sweepstakes casinos: 18.
Are Sweepstakes Casinos Safe? They are regulated by watchdog groups like the Malta Gaming Authority, which protect player identity, and most require identity verification procedures if you wish to play for cash prizes.
Will Texas ever legalize online casinos?
It is very unlikely that online casinos will be legal any time soon in Texas. The progression would likely see online casinos only after retail casinos, retail sports betting, and online sports betting were legalized, in that order. Lawmakers have tried to introduce casino gambling legislation over recent years, although none of those attempts have reached floor debate.
For example, Sen. Carol Alvarado has been filing bills consistently since 2009. Her most recent attempt in 2021 proposed amending the state’s constitution to allow casinos. In the House, Rep. John Kuempel filed similar legislation. However, neither bill advanced.
Industry representatives have lobbied in favor of bringing commercial casinos to Texas, with Las Vegas Sands being the most conspicuous to do so over recent years. 2023 will be a pressurized year for Texas casinos. As the legislature meets for three short months in the Spring, casino and sports betting legislation will be on the agenda.
Only after such a significant victory could attention turn to online casinos.
Social and sweepstakes casinos in Texas
While real money online casinos are not legal in Texas, players can play online at social and sweepstakes sites that use virtual currencies.
Most sweepstakes casinos offer two forms of virtual currency for two types of players:
- Gold coins for social players
- Sweepstakes coins for players who want to win cash
Both forms of currency must be purchased and neither are redeemable for cash.
Gold coins usually come in large bundles ($10 for 10,000 gold coins), allowing players to play a lot of social casino games for a low price. These players compete to rise up a site’s social leaderboard or to earn some bragging rights among friends. Social gaming offers no cash prizes. As such, these are good options for players who want to scratch a gambling itch or get some practice before heading off to a retail casino to play the real thing.
Playing with sweeps coins gives players a chance to win cash and prizes on sweepstakes casino games. Sweeps coins are more costly, usually $1 per coin, and sweepstakes casino games cost roughly the same as Vegas-style slot games.
Here are some of the most popular social and sweepstakes casinos available to Texans:
- Top games: Sun of Egypt 2, Cycle of Luck
Pulsz offers well over 200 slot games as well as some table game options, like blackjack and roulette. There is even an option for an Ultimate Texas Hold’em-like game.
- Top games: Stampede Fury 2, Twin$pin Megaways
Visitors to Chumba Casino will find more than 80 slot titles, plus video poker, blackjack and roulette. Many of the slots are exclusive to Chumba, too, meaning this site offers an experience you cannot find elsewhere.
- Top games: Winner and a Movie, Neon Valley
A sister site to Chumba, LuckyLand Slots features around 40 slots titles. Many are exquisitely rendered games with fantastical themes and vivid backgrounds. The site also offers some instant win games (i.e., electronic versions of lottery scratchers).
- Top games: Maximo the Magnificent, Paintball Keno
Funzpoints offers nearly 60 slots plus one keno game. The site also features jackpot drawings that give players an additional way to win.
Top games: Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha (including tournaments)
Global Poker almost exclusively offers poker games. Obviously, the most common game on Global is Texas Hold’em. There are also numerous variants of Omaha games, as well as some versions of Crazy Pineapple. Tournaments on Global Poker can feature huge fields and big prizes.
Are there casinos in Texas?
Yes, but only one. Texas is the largest state by size in the continental United States. It is also the second-most populous, with close to 29-million residents, behind only California. But there is only one casino in the entire state, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass, close to the Mexico border.
The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas operates the casino about 100 miles south of San Antonio. The property first opened in 1996 and was rebuilt in 2004 before expanding in 2013.
With a Class II gambling license, the Lucky Eagle offers bingo, keno and non-banked card games such as poker. However, no Vegas-style table games such as blackjack, craps or roulette exist on the property. In fact, Texas is one of only four states that entirely forbids tribes from offering any Class III casino games. The other states on that list:
That said, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel does offer a large number of slots-like electronic bingo games that technically fall under what the Class II license allows.
There are two other land-based tribal facilities in the state as well.
Naskila Gaming is a Class II gambling facility on tribal lands located just east of Livingston that offers hundreds of electronic bingo machines. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas owns and operates the venue and recently saw Attorney General Ken Paxton drop a lawsuit that would have stopped the venue from offering electronic bingo.
The third federally recognized tribe in the state, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (aka the “Tigua”), recently won a Supreme Court victory allowing them to offer electronic bingo games at their facility, the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center El Paso.
Will more casinos open in Texas?
The potential for casino legalization got a small shot in the arm with a recent admission of interest by Gov. Abbott. Abbott has slowly softened on his stance around legal gambling over the last few years, and he seems interested in leaning into the casino debate.
Sen. Carol Alvarado has already pre-filed legislation (SJR-17) in advance of the 2023 legislative session. Her legislation would provide for the building of four resort casinos in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio as well as legalize retail sports betting.
A recent PlayTexas survey has indicated support among Texans for legalizing and taxing casino gambling.
The coming legislative session will begin with the most momentum surrounding gaming legalization the state has seen in some time. Over 300 gaming lobbyists have descended on Austin, aiming to bring legal gambling to the congress floor. Texas will also debate legal gaming on the heels of a major legal gaming ballot failure in California.
We think Texas is a toss-up for legalizing casinos in 2023.
Closest casinos outside of Texas
There are a number of large, noteworthy casinos just beyond the borders of Texas, including in Mexico. Here are a few of the most popular casinos near Texas.
- WinStar World Casino and Resort (Thackerville, OK): Just five miles north of the state line and 90 miles north of Dallas, the world’s largest casino is actually multiple “gaming plazas” rolled into one, with an incredible 370,000 square feet of total gambling space. With over 8,500 slots, more than 100 table games, and a poker room with 55 tables, WinStar is a popular destination for Oklahomans and Texans alike. Also, the Chickasaw Nation casino is open to anyone 18 and older.
- Zia Park Casino Hotel & Racetrack (Hobbs, NM): Located a few miles from the Texas border, Zia Park is another popular destination for Texans, especially those looking for slots and horse racing. Technically a “racino,” Zia Park is a Penn National Gaming facility. The property features 750 slots and video poker games as well as a quarter horse and thoroughbred racetrack.
- Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs, AR): A two-hour drive from the Texas border, Oaklawn is the largest gambling facility in Arkansas. Oaklawn features a thoroughbred racetrack, more than 1,500 slots, over 30 table games, a sportsbook and a small poker room.
Those in east Texas might also look to Louisiana for casino gambling options, starting with the multiple casinos in Bossier City.
- Boomtown Bossier City
- Horseshoe Bossier City
- Margaritaville Resort Casino
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
All four are popular riverboat casinos (Harrah’s is a racino), featuring 1,200 or more slots and video poker machines, as well as a wide selection of table games.
There are a couple more popular riverboat casinos just over the border in Lake Charles, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Houston.
- Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino: features 1,600 slots and 60 table games
- L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles: features 1,600 slots and 75 table games.
Both casinos also feature small poker rooms.