Currently, the state of Texas does not have any authorized retail or online sportsbooks in operation. Fortunately, online sportsbooks that operate outside the United States and accept bets from Texas residents interested in prominent sports continue to provide some options.
Everything you need to know about the legality of sports wagering in the Lone Star State, including the best sports betting sites for Texans, is detailed on this page.
When state-licensed wagering operators are absent, numerous offshore sportsbooks accept wagers from participants located in Texas. Each of the following sportsbooks is duly licensed and regulated in the country in which it operates:
The Antigua and Barbuda Bovada
The Costa Rica BetUS
BetNow – Costa Rica section
The MyBookie Costa Rica account
Xbet, Costa Rica branch
These sportsbooks are authorized to operate in their respective countries and are not subject to United States jurisdiction.
But is their use authorized in Texas? It is explicitly stated in Texas Penal Code 47.02 that engaging in “bets on the partial or final result of a game or contest, or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest,” constitutes a Class C misdemeanor.
Since Texas gambling laws predate the internet, they fail to define online gambling. For instance, if an operator’s servers are located offshore, it is not specified where “a bet” occurs.
A Comparison of Sports Betting in Texas to Other States
Texas lags behind the national trend in sports wagering at the present time. In May of 2018, the United States Supreme Court rendered a decision declaring unconstitutional the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a legislation that had hitherto forbade states from permitting sports wagering.
More than thirty states and the District of Columbia have since legalized sports wagering in some capacity. This enumeration comprises the following four neighboring states of Texas:
The jurisdiction over this state is the Colorado Division of Gaming.
Arkansas: Under the jurisdiction of the Arkansas Racing Commission
Governed by the New Mexico Gaming Control Board in New Mexico.
The jurisdiction of Louisiana is the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Although legislative proposals have been put forth in Texas to initiate the process of legalizing sports wagering, thus far, no tangible advancements have been achieved in this regard. At present, the feasibility of legalizing sports wagering in Texas is uncertain, so any progress in this direction could take several years.
The Origins of Sports Betting in Texas
A number of proposals have been introduced in Texas in an effort to establish legalization for sports wagering. Each of these proposals was not introduced for the ballot. The measures in question are as follows:
In February 2021, HJR 97 becomes law. Legislators in Texas would have been permitted to legalize the sports wagering industry under this proposal. It remained unresolved in committee.
In February 2021, House Bill 2070 is introduced in conjunction with House Bill HJR 97. Supporters of this legislation would have been able to cast ballots in Texas regarding a 10% sportsbook tax. In addition, it remained pending in committee.
The House Bill 1121 is introduced in January 2021. This measure introduced a proposal to regulate sports betting in Texas by imposing a 6.25% levy and prohibiting wagering on collegiate teams from the state. The bill failed to progress beyond the House State Affairs Committee.
In February of 2019, House Bill 1275 is introduced. The objective of this measure was to establish a department charged with the licensing and taxation of professional sports wagering in Texas. It remained dormant within the committee.
February 2019 marks the introduction of Bill HJR 61. This law introduced a proposition to include an item on the November Texas ballot concerning the legalization of sports wagering within the state. It was not advanced from committee and was omitted from the ballot.
Bills HB 4040 and 4019 are introduced in March 2015. The aforementioned measures proposed that sportsbooks operating within the state of Texas ought to be obligated to obtain an annual license, with the absence of such a license constituting a criminal offense. None of these proposed laws materialized.