The Rules and Laws of Texas Gambling Laws Explained Here

In 2018, the Supreme Court set precedent in the world of gambling, in that they gave states the right to handle their own legalization. 

There are a number of different types of gambling, so while one state might have casinos with table games, they might not allow sports betting, and vice versa. You'll need to know where your state stands if you enjoy games of chance. 

So is gambling illegal in Texas?

To learn the ins and outs of Texas gambling laws, read on. 

Understand Texas Gambling Laws

It's important to keep up with gaming law so that you can know your rights and figure out what sort of games of chance you can play. 

In most cases, gambling is a state by state legal issue. There are a number of gambling facets that you should be aware of as it pertains to state law. Consider the information below so you are up to speed with Texas gaming laws:

1. You Can Play Bingo

When you live in Texas, you're legally able to play bingo for cash prizes. Bingo games take place in halls all over. 

People buy in with a set cash amount per card. The person that wins the round of bingo gets the cash prize. 

While this isn't a casino game per se, it is legal in a number of states that don't allow casino games. With this game, you win by having the numbers on your card called until they arrange in a line that spells out "BINGO". 

2. The Lottery is A-OK

In Texas, you're legally able to play the lottery to your heart's content. 

Right now, it's reported that close to 30 percent of Texas lottery proceeds go toward the education system. However, in some states that doesn't translate to an increase in educational funding.  Instead, states pull money from education with the assumption it will be reimbursed by lottery income.  So, for the educational system, there is no net gain.  Still, at least some of the proceeds go to education and if one is going to play the lottery, it makes it a little more reassuring.  

3. Native American Operations

Texas is home to some Native American owned casinos. These tribes are federally recognized, and the casinos are located on reservations throughout the state. 

The proceeds of the money go toward the tribe's infrastructure and whatever other areas they see fit. Texas is very strict about the designations for these casinos, so it's important that the tribes be federally recognized and maintain their designation and non-profit status in order to legally run their casinos. 

These casinos offer a wide area of gaming options from slot machines to table games.  But not all of them have the same lineup of games.  Be sure to check what games are offered before planning your next trip.   

4. Sports Betting is Illegal 

However, the biggest deficiency and the next big frontier in gambling revolves around sports betting. 

Professionals sports today are more lucrative than ever, and fantasy sports have even casual fans paying more attention than ever to stats and nuances. Because so many people participate in some form of sports betting, it's easy for the casual gambler to unknowingly cross the legal line.   

If Texas follows the lead of other states like New Jersey and legalizes sports betting, it will open up an incredible opportunity and legitimize something that millions of Americans already do.  Like the lottery, funds could be used to support a number of needs and initiatives.

Sports betting in Texas, if legalized, could potentially open up revenue streams both online and in establishments like sports bars, Native American casinos, and other venues.  It remains to be seen what the state will do, but for now, sports betting in Texas is against the law.  

5. Poker Clubs... A Legal Gray Area

According to Texas law, private poker clubs are legal.  However, there are many nuances to the law and it's easily misunderstood.  If the hosting establishment takes a cut of gamblers winnings, they will run afoul of the law and face harsh penalties. Typically, private clubs let you pay rental fees to participate, and the owners aren't allowed to take home any of the winnings. 

These loopholes allow people to legally participate in poker matchups, which are big business in the state of Texas. While these are legal in the state, cities and counties generally have the final say about whether or not they are allowed in their jurisdiction.  Recent busts in Harris county of two popular poker rooms have raised questions surrounding these laws.  The operators are fighting the charges and it remains to be seen which side will prevail. 

In the meantime, be sure to do your homework before participating or potentially operating what could be considered a private poker room.  Expert advice is always a good idea. 

6. Fantasy Sports Have Endured Some Legal Battles

A number of fantasy sports based games that compete for cash have popped up in recent years. 

These games, such as Draft Kings and Fan Duel, either left Texas altogether or had some legal battles in order to stake their claim and rights. Time will tell how popular these sites become in Texas under current laws, or whether they will be allowed to operate at all. 

7. Online Poker Isn't Legal

Though the online poker boom has died down a bit, it's still one of the most popular forms of gambling. However, you're not currently allowed to play online poker for money in Texas. 

People tend to find their way around it by using IP addresses and foreign bank accounts, but it's illegal for Texas residents under current laws. 

Keep Up With the Ebbs and Flows of Legislation

While Texas doesn't currently have legal gambling, they do have a bill on the docket that advocates are pushing for. 

Sports betting will be the most likely law to pass sooner than later, and the proposed bill states that operators of sports betting enterprises will have to pay a quarter of a million dollars to get a license. 

As you can tell, this can bring a tremendous amount of revenue to the state that can be used in a lot of different areas. 

Understanding Texas Gambling Laws

Use these tips to learn more about Texas gambling laws. These sorts of issues are always fluid, so it pays to stay in the loop. 

For more information on gambling in Texas or representation in a case, contact us today. 

Jake Steven