Texas Sports Betting
Texas sports betting is not legal at this time. While offshore sportsbooks will take bets in Texas, those are illegal and unregulated, and we take no account of them here.
The next chance to legalize Texas sports betting will come during the 2023 legislative session, which is underway, and PlayTexas sees the upcoming session as nearing a toss-up for sports betting legalization.
It’s no surprise that the majority of Texans are either in favor of legal sports betting or 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.
Whatever happens, this page will be your guide for everything to do with Texas sports betting. Read on for the latest on sports betting in the Lone Star State.
Latest Texas Sports Betting Updates
Updated: Mar. 23, 2023
March Madness heads to Texas for the Final Four, and more than 2.5 million Texans will attempt to place sports bets on the NCAA Tournament. Most will get blocked by geofencing services.
Rep. Jeff Leach, with the support of the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, has filed online sports betting legislation, which received a committee hearing on Wednesday and was left pending. PlayTexas has published its projection for sports betting handle and revenue for Texas’s first year of legal sports betting.
For the first time, Gov. Abbott has given a positive assessment of legal sports betting. Tilman Fertitta, Houston Rockets owner, has also thrown his hat in the ring.
Texas Sports Betting News
Legal Texas Sports Betting Still A Risky Bet To Pass
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a research group, released a newsletter and their insights on legal Texas sports betting are far from optimistic.
Houston Sports Owners Fully Support Texas Sports Betting
Multiple Texas sports betting bills were filed in 2023 and some of the biggest supporters are the owners of Houston’s pro sports teams.
Texans Continue Trying To Place Legal Bets During Major Sports Events
Data shows that during the first week of March Madness, Texans tried to place over 70,000 legal bets in other states’ sports book apps.
Snapshot of Texas sports betting
Though sports betting is not legal in Texas, there are rumbles that 2023 might be the year that changes. Below is a quick snapshot of the current status for Texas sports betting:
- 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: 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, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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 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. Most of the time, there will be a positive number and a negative number. For example, an NBA listing might appear as follows:
Screen-captured from DraftKings Sportsbook
The listing in the right column is the moneyline for this game between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets. Let’s discuss what these numbers are telling us.
First of all, we know that Indiana is the favorite because it has negative odds. The negative number indicates the favorite unless there are two negative moneylines. In that case, the number farthest from zero indicates the favorite. In a game with two teams at -110 and -115, the team at -115 would be the favorite.
Indiana’s number indicates that a winning bet of $150 on the Pacers would get you $100 in profit. The payout will scale up and down to match your wager automatically, but the ratio will remain the same. In essence, you are paying a premium to bet on the Pacers because they are more likely to win.
Conversely, you would win $130 in profit if you successfully wagered $100 on the Rockets at odds of +130. Because the odds are not in your favor, taking the extra risk provides the potential for a greater payout.
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.