Texas Sports Betting

Texas sports betting is illegal for now. But there is hope for the Lone Star State as it inches forward toward legalization.

Texas made history when, for the first time, the Texas House passed an online sports betting bill. The bill would have put the question of online sports betting to Texas voters. An amendment to the Texas Constitution is required to legalize sports betting in TX. While the bill passed the House it did not pass the Senate. However, this does represent the first time the State House has passed sports betting legislation.

Given the situation, it will be 2025 at the earliest that new online sports betting legislation will be introduced. A PlayTexas survey found a majority of Lone Star State residents favor or have no opinion on legalized sports betting. The survey found that only 11% of state residents oppose legal gambling in Texas.

The PlayTexas team will keep you up to date and be your guide for everything on Texas sports betting.

Legal sports betting in Texas

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Latest updates

Updated Feb. 23, 2024

States near or neighboring Texas, such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Mississippi, are all currently considering legalizing sports betting. In Texas, however, there is no such movement. At least not at the moment. The next session of the Texas Legislature is in 2025.

For the time being, most gambling discussion in Texas revolves around the expansion of retail casino gambling — spurred by the purchase of the Dallas Mavericks by casino titan Miriam Adelson, as well as Mark Cuban’s very open discussion about wanting to build a casino/arena entertainment complex in Dallas.

Snapshot of Texas sports betting

Progress was made in the Texas Legislature in 2023, but sports betting remains illegal. Below is a quick snapshot of the current status for Texas sports betting:

  • Is Sports betting legal? Not in any form.
  • Launch: Potentially 2025 at the earliest depending on if it’s discussed at the next Legislature session. 2026 is a more reasonable estimate if legislation is passed.
  • Availability: There is little in the way of Texas 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. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars all lobbied the Texas Legislature to pass legislation in 2023.
  • Legal age for sports betting: Although most of the limited gambling in Texas requires players to be over 18, sports betting would almost certainly require bettors to be over 21.
  • Social sportsbooks: One legal sports betting option for Texans is the social sportsbook Fliff. Players can bet on live sports for free but have the opportunity to win real money. Fliff, a sweepstakes gaming site, is a free-to-play game that allows players to wager on sports via coins and virtual Fliff Cash.

Key information for all Texas bettors

  • Texans interested in betting must 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. Bottom line: any site that 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 have little recourse for relief.

Where will I be able to place a bet when sports betting passes?

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 will not 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.

One prominent online sportsbook has already dipped its toe into Texas. FanDuel Faceoff recently launched in the state. It’s an app with cash games endorsed by several prominent former athletes, including Rob Gronkowski, Pat McAfee and Texas’s own Jordan Spieth. If you’re expecting that to resemble a sports betting platform, though, think again. It features content that has more in common with video games and esports than sports betting.

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 will 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 will 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 nationwide have often viewed businessman Tilman Fertitta’s ownership of 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. The first 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. The team’s repeat win in 2022 was a statement that all ‘Stros fans can be proud of. 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, And hey, with the addition of the GOAT, Lionel Messi, to the league in 2023, MLS’s popularity should only rise:

  • 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 25 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:

  • Abilene Christian University, Abilene
  • Baylor University, Waco
  • Houston Christian 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
  • Tarleton State University, Stephenville
  • Texas A&M University, College Station
  • Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce
  • 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
  • University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio

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.

Types of sports bets in Texas

When and if sports betting debuts in Texas, there will be a variety of wagers available. If you are new to sports betting, you might find some terms and wagers that don’t immediately make sense. The first thing to discuss is the most basic type of wager, moneylines, because their odds format is important to understand for pretty much any bet you place. After that, we’ll go over some additional bets.

Moneylines

Moneylines are simply wagers on which side you expect to win the game, regardless of the final score. However, moneyline bets might initially seem intimidating because of the standard format for the odds.

Moneyline odds use a three-digit number for each team. This is called the “American” odds format and is quite common in sports betting. It’s important to understand because sportsbooks use it for almost every wager as a method to display their payout ratios for each bet.

Other types of sports bets

Here are some other common types of sports bets that you’ll find in Texas if sports betting ever comes to the state:

  • Point spreads — Point spreads, or spread bets, take the eventual margin of victory into account. The sportsbook provides an estimated margin, and bettors wager whether the favorite will exceed that margin or the underdog will do better than the estimate. Generally speaking, point spreads pay out at odds of -110 on either side, though the numbers may move a little.
  • Totals — You may also see these appear as over/under bets. The sportsbook estimates how many total points the two sides will combine to score, and bettors can wager on whether the actual total will be over or under the estimate. Colloquially, “taking the over” or “taking the under” can be a way to estimate the chance of an event occurring repeatedly, such as the number of times Shaq will refer to the fact that Charles Barkley never won a championship during a broadcast.
  • Futures — Futures wagers are bets about events that occur at the end of a season of play or high-profile tournament. Often, a futures bettor is wagering on the eventual champion team or an individual award winner from that season. Futures usually appear as a long series of moneylines. Most of the time, every wager will be an underdog because even the favorites are less likely to win than the field. Futures are the dominant type of wager for golf odds, and they are quite common for March Madness odds, too.
  • Propositions — Proposition wagers, or “prop bets,” are wagers about smaller events within a game. Most fun betting stories are about prop bets, since the descriptions of the terms are so colorful. You could even argue that kids daring one another on the playground is a form of prop betting. Prop bets in sports betting tend to be about statistical achievements of individuals or teams or the result of a partial period of play, rather than the entire game.
  • Parlays — These are combination wagers that fold several different single bets into one conglomerate wager. Each constituent part of the parlay is a “leg.” Parlay bets are high-risk, high-reward bets because of their one inflexible rule: You must be correct about every single leg in order to win anything. Even a single miss is enough to lose the entire bet. As the number of legs increases, so do the risks and the payout potential. Successful parlays with many legs can yield outsized wins, but realize that many other parlays failed in order to generate that payout.
  • Live betting — A live bet takes place after the game has commenced and usually asks short-term questions about smaller chunks of the contest. In fact, many live bets are on the outcome of individual plays. You may also see pregame wagers like spreads and moneylines carried forward into the game, but understand that these will be new bets that are taking the progress of the game into account. Because live wagering is so fast-paced, it is almost exclusively available online. The logistics of managing live betting in a retail sportsbook are usually untenable.

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 sports 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. Or, some hybrid regulation utilizing both the Texas Lottery and a new sports betting regulator.

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. As well, they are both members of the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, which has a major hand in crafting Texas online sports betting legislation.