Texas Sports Betting

Sports betting is not legal in Texas at this time. The next chance to legalize sports betting will come during the 2023 legislative session, and PlayTexas sees the upcoming legislation as nearing on a toss-up for sports betting’s chances.

It’s no surprise that the majority of Texans are either in favor of legal sports betting or are indifferent to it. According to a PlayTexas survey, only 11% of Texans oppose expanding legal gambling while the majority support sports betting in some form.

Public opinion might finally sway lawmakers in 2023. Money continues to flow into the state from pro-gambling interests and with that, pressure to bring legislation to the floor. Whatever happens, this page will be your guide for everything to do with betting on sports in Texas. Read on for the latest on sports betting in the Lone Star State.

Latest updates

Updated: Dec. 1, 2022

With California sports betting legislation failing spectacularly, eyes and checkbooks will now to turn to Texas.

There is reason to be hopeful. State Sen. Carol Alvarado has refiled legislation that would legalize casinos and retail sports betting. As well, over 300 lobbyists from the gaming lobby have already descended on Austin.

The Sports Betting Alliance, a collective of Texas sports teams and sports betting operators, has just presented their newest spokesperson: former Tex. Gov. Rick Perry. The hope is he’ll turn Republican lawmakers towards sports betting.

PlayTexas provides its own projections on what the state can expect from both legalized sports betting and legalized recreational marijuana. See which would generate more revenue here.

Snapshot of Texas sports betting

Sports betting is not legal in Texas, but there are rumbles that 2023 might be the year that changes. There are some powerful advocates for it in the state, and it probably has a better chance of becoming law than it ever has. Below are some quick bullet points for the current status:

  • Is Sports betting legal? Not in any form.
  • Launch: Potentially 2024 at the absolute earliest, but 2025 is a more reasonable estimate even with an optimistic view of how quickly legislation might pass.
  • Availability: Texas has little in the way of casinos, so racetracks and sports arenas are the most likely locations for sportsbooks.
  • ETA for online launch: 2025 is probably the earliest, if at all, as there is no precedent for online gambling in Texas. Even the lottery and all horse betting must take place in person.
  • Anticipated Texas betting apps: Texas has the population and interest to support as many sports betting apps as any other state, and those factors would draw all the big names.
  • Legal age for sports betting: Although most of the limited gambling in Texas requires players only to be 18, sports betting would almost certainly require bettors to be 21 or older.

Key Information for all Texas bettors

  • Texans interested in betting will need to travel across state lines to Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana or New Mexico to place bets. Arkansas, Colorado and Louisiana offer online sports betting. New Mexico offers retail sports betting only.
  • You might find conflicting information about sports betting’s legality elsewhere online. Google search results and other sites might show sportsbooks that accept online bets in Texas. Any site that currently accepts bets from someone in Texas is an offshore site. And thus illegal.
  • While the state does have a blanket prohibition on gambling, it does not specifically mention online sports betting in Texas. Therefore, while we say that sports betting isn’t legal in Texas (because it isn’t), some sites argue that online sports betting isn’t illegal, either.
  • Legality is likely the least of the reasons that you should avoid playing on an offshore site. Such sites are based outside of the United States and do not have any reason to follow Texas or US law. They also don’t answer to lawsuits or other legal actions filed in Texas. That means if you end up in a dispute with one of these sites, you may not have any way to get relief.

Where will I be able to place a sports bet?

Assuming that sports betting were to become legal in Texas, the most likely locations for retail sportsbooks would be the horse tracks and former dog tracks in the state. It is also possible that the major professional sports arenas could be locations for sportsbooks.

That said, few states are better suited to online sports betting than Texas. The state covers more than 260,000 square miles, which means no matter where physical sportsbooks appear, many Texans are not going to be able to visit one conveniently. The state’s geography would make online sportsbooks in Texas an especially attractive option, were sports betting to become legal.

Popular teams for betting in Texas

Texas is the second-most populous state in the US and is home to roughly 30 million people. It’s no surprise that many major sports teams call the state home. With several cities whose populations exceed 1 million, there are multiple loyal fanbases to which teams can sell tickets and merchandise. With that in mind, here is a rundown of the teams that are sure to be popular choices if sports betting launches in Texas.

NFL

Football is king in Texas, but to be fair, the actual favorite of many Texans is high school football. No state allows betting on high school sports, so anyone who’d want to wager on the Friday night lights is going to be out of luck. However, there are two NFL teams in the state:

  • Dallas Cowboys: AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington, TX 76011
  • Houston Texans: NRG Stadium, NRG Parkway, Houston, TX 77054

NBA

Texas hosts three NBA teams. All three have brought home championships to their respective cities, although not as recently as their fans would like. Still, there’s no denying that Texas is a major spot for NBA teams:

  • Dallas Mavericks: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219
  • Houston Rockets: Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St., Houston, TX 77003
  • San Antonio Spurs: AT&T Center, 1 AT&T Center Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78219

One thing to note is a potential issue that could affect betting on the Rockets. Gambling commissions around the country have often viewed businessman Tilman Fertitta’s ownership of both the Rockets and the Golden Nugget casino chain as an uncomfortable conflict of interest for fairly accepting wagers on Rockets games. As a result, betting on the Rockets might not be available if Golden Nugget launches in Texas.

MLB

Texas is home to two Major League Baseball teams and several minor-league affiliates. Both MLB teams have experienced postseason success, although the lone World Series championship to the state’s credit (in 2017) is unfortunately shrouded in controversy due to the revelation that the champion Houston Astros were stealing opponents’ pitching signs. Regardless, both baseball teams are big draws in the state:

  • Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford St., Houston, TX 77002
  • Texas Rangers: Globe Life Field, 734 Stadium Drive, Arlington, TX 76011

NHL

Texas is not known for its cold weather or hockey tradition. However, the state is home to a single NHL team, and there is talk that a second team might be moving to the state sometime soon. The Arizona Coyotes have been a contender to relocate to Texas in the near future, and Houston has emerged as one of the most likely destinations for the “Yotes” to reappear. The Dallas Stars, however, are the state’s only current NHL franchise.

  • Dallas Stars: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219

MLS

Soccer has never caught on in the US to the same degree as it has in other parts of the world. Where top soccer leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A are some of the most prestigious sports outlets in their respective countries, MLS is a distant rival in popularity to the four leagues mentioned above. However, with so many in Texas from different countries where soccer is king, it’s no shock that there is a strong MLS presence in the state:

  • Austin FC: Q2 Stadium, 10414 Mc Kalla Place, Austin, TX 78758
  • FC Dallas: Toyota Stadium, 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco, TX 75033
  • Houston Dynamo FC: PNC Stadium, 2200 Texas Ave., Houston, TX 77003

NCAA

It’s no surprise that a big state like Texas has plenty of NCAA teams. In fact, in line with its population, Texas has more Division I NCAA schools than any other state besides California. There are 21 colleges and universities that play at the highest level of competition, to say nothing of the many Division II and Division III institutions around the state. Here are the Division I schools in Texas:

  • Baylor University, Waco
  • Houston Baptist University, Houston
  • Lamar University, Beaumont
  • Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View
  • Rice University, Houston
  • Sam Houston State University, Huntsville
  • Southern Methodist University, Dallas
  • Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches
  • Texas A&M University, College Station
  • Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi
  • Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
  • Texas Southern University, Houston
  • Texas State University, San Marcos
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • University of Houston, Houston
  • University of North Texas, Denton
  • University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington
  • University of Texas at Austin, Austin
  • University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso
  • University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg

Note that some states that have legalized sports betting do not allow wagering on in-state college teams. Additionally, some states may not allow certain types of bets, such as prop bets on individual college athletes. It’s hard to know where Texas might come down on this topic, but it’s likely to be a debate if the state ever moves closer to legalizing sports betting.

Texas Sports Betting FAQ

It’s not for certain, but quite likely. Texas’ immense area means that millions of Texans would not be able to visit sportsbooks in person with any kind of regularity. Since physical books would likely only be in the cities, online sports betting would be the only way to include small-town Texas sports bettors.

No. You would be able to place a wager if you are in the state’s borders, but it will not be necessary to show that your residence is in Texas. However, be prepared for each online book to demand that you verify your physical location in Texas, as interstate sports betting remains illegal on the federal level, and would likely be illegal on the state level, too.

The Texas Lottery, most likely. The lottery commission is one of the only gambling-related entities in the state, and it has the most experience with betting, for whatever that’s worth. It is possible, however, that new sports betting legislation could also allow for the creation of a genuine gambling commission.

It’s impossible to say. In-state college teams are a frequent target for lawmakers looking for concessions or other restrictions on a new sports betting market. A limitation or ban on betting on the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, or any other school in Texas would certainly not be a unique stance for a state to adopt.

Almost certainly. If sports betting comes to Texas, it’s quite likely that DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook would be a part of it. Both companies already serve Texans as DFS providers and wouldn’t want to turn their backs on the second-largest state in the nation.