Bringing sports betting to Texas has been a Texas-sized headache for lawmakers who feel the state is ready and could use the tax revenue and jobs it brings.
Editor Note: Some rumors in early 2021 indicate Texas online football betting may become a reality sooner than later.
A Democrat-sponsored proposal in 2019 to amend the state constitution to allow Texas sports betting legalization efforts to proceed is probably doomed by the Republican-controlled legislature. The body has strongly opposed expansion of legal gambling and there is no indication of any change of opinion.
It would need a referendum vote in November 2020. Still, as the second-biggest potential sports betting market in America and as a true hotbed of all sports (and therefore sports betting interest), Texas lawmakers will pursue this strongly.
Other than the pitch to change the law to at least consider sports betting, no action was on the books as of March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Texas?
No, and it will require surmounting many hurdles – legal, political, biblical – to gain any traction. Still, the proposed system would allow for mobile betting and five permits (which could have two operators/brands each).
Texas justice officials swiftly kicked out daily fantasy operators Draft Kings and FanDuel several years ago. So making the jump from no DFS to full-blown sports betting is a big one.
Where can I bet at Texas sportsbooks?
The proposal calls for five licenses/permits (as above) but how that would play out and who would be able to apply, was not clear. Currently, gambling is limited in Texas, with the state’s three recognized native tribes each managing one casino.
The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas runs the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass. The Tigua Tribe of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo owns the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in El Paso. Elsewhere, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe has Naskila Gaming in Livingston.
What about mobile sports betting apps in Texas?
Mobile sports betting apps and online sportsbook brands are envisioned in the proposal.