Texas gambling laws are among the strictest in the country. But online casino and gambling enthusiasts still have options in the Lone Star State.
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There are no legal, real money online casinos in Texas. This means players can’t gamble on or access any online casino that is offering cash prizes, and that includes online slots and online poker rooms.
Several states are considering legislation to permit these games but Texas is not among them — and likely won’t be for the foreseeable future. Texas remains one of the states most averse to gambling in all forms, and this extends to online casino gaming, which for some jurisdictions has been even more controversial than brick-and-mortar casinos.
Online casinos would require a law change, which seems unlikely anytime soon. The legislature only meets in odd-numbered years, and lawmakers have shown little interest in taking up a bill.
Even though playing for real money is not legal in Texas, social casinos are. Players don’t have to deposit any money to play, and awards are typically sweepstakes or prizes. They are accessible with any mobile device and most social casino sites like WinStar, LuckyLand and Chumba feature popular casino games such as blackjack and slots. More and more social casinos are coming online in Texas, so follow Gambling.com for the latest developments.
Though real money online options are banned, there are some brick-and-mortar options. Two Native American tribes still operate casinos on sovereign tribal lands (despite repeated legal challenges from the Texas government). There are also "cruises to nowhere" along the Gulf Coast, which allow players to take casino boats into international waters, where there are no gambling laws.
For the foreseeable future, these remain the only real money casino gaming options in the Lone Star State. Social gaming will continue to grow, but other online wagering options in Texas (as well as commercial casinos) remain prohibited.
While many states have legalized online gambling and sports wagering following the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to let individual states allow legal sports betting, Texas has shown no indication it intends to follow suit any time soon.
A 2019 sports betting proposal from Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lucio III went nowhere in Texas’ GOP-controlled legislature. This continues a pattern of dead-end legal gambling bills in the state.
If and when Texas ever does move to legalize online gambling sites, it will still be months to sort out regulations and determine approved operators and partners. Legal online gambling in Texas is still a long way down the road.
In the meantime, playing at a social casino is perfectly legal in Texas. They have the same table games and slot machines based on the ones you’d find at a real money online casino. The best part is social casinos are totally free. Many also provide the chance to win real money or additional prizes with sweepstakes coins or other sweepstakes-style games. Chumba is one of the most popular online casinos and users can even compete for prizes and even real cash once they register.
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel||Eagle Pass, Texas||794 Lucky Eagle Drive||24 hours|
|Naskila Gaming||Livingston, Texas||540 State Park Rd 56||24 hours|
One of just two legal land-based Native American casinos in Texas, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino first opened in 1996. The 249-room hotel was added in 2013. There are no traditional table games like blackjack, craps, roulette or Let it Ride, but the casino has a massive offering of more than 3,300 slot machines. Kickapoo Lucky Eagle also has a poker room open from noon-5 a.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. There are four restaurants on property, including an IHOP, and two full bars. And the Que Pasa Lounge features karaoke, line dancing and live music on the weekend.
The Naskila Gaming casino includes a modest lineup of more than 800 slot machines and electronic games. Owned and operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Naskila Gaming first opened in May 2016. It offers a Players Club membership with special promotions and the 30,000-square foot property includes three restaurants and a private VIP Lounge.
It’s difficult to say which online casino operators would receive licenses should legal online gambling in Texas ever come to fruition. The law currently prohibits gambling outside of the two Tribal casinos, which are exempt.
It stands to reason a move to legal online gambling could open the door for more land-based casinos in the state. If this happens, the existing brick-and-mortar casinos would likely have first crack at legal online casino gambling.
In states where online gambling is legal, land-based casinos typically partner with online gaming operators such as BetMGM, 888casino, Caesars Casino, Unibet and bet365. These popular operators would likely be among the first to partner with land-based casinos should Texas move to legalize online gambling in the future.
Mobile casino apps would almost certainly be included under any bill that legalizes online wagering in Texas. These are increasingly popular for casino players with a full offering of traditional table games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette and craps along with online slots.
These casino apps are very easy to download from your iOS or Android phone and can be used to play real money casino games as soon as the player registers and makes an initial deposit. SugarHouse, PokerStars and Scores are just a few examples of online casino sites that offer a great mobile app.
The convenience factor is off the charts and mobile casino apps mean you’ll never have to worry about finding an open seat at the blackjack table or losing your place at your favorite slot machine.
Popular online casino games are currently illegal in Texas and therefore unavailable with no real money casino sites. But social casinos offer a very similar lineup and are completely legal in Texas. Should Texas eventually move to legal online gambling, here’s a look at the popular online casino games Texans will be able to play.
The same online prohibitions for casino are true for online poker in Texas. Playing online poker on any gaming site that offers real money or cash prizes in Texas is illegal. Despite the state’s historic reputation for "Wild West" poker games, there is virtually no political will for a new frontier of real money online poker games. There are no avenues for poker players now and little likelihood that changes anytime soon.
Though there are no online poker rooms, there are brick-and-mortar poker options at the same handful of locations that offer casino gaming. Poker players can visit one of the two Native American casinos (which are located in Eagle Pass and Livingston, respectively). There are also poker options on the cruise ships departing from the Gulf Coast.
Online slots are available at legal social casinos in Texas and work just like the machines you’d find at a land-based casino. Slots at online casinos continue to grow in popularity and would be widely available in Texas if the state were to legalize real money online gambling. Texans can legally play slot machines at both of the state’s land-based casinos.
Online blackjack is also illegal in Texas and not offered at either land-based casino. This falls in line with Texas’ strict gambling laws, though those could change in the coming years. Colorado was conservative on gambling laws but has evolved in recent years, recently legalizing online gambling and sports betting.
If Texas follows a similar path, online blackjack is a great way to play the game in a comfortable setting. There’s no need to hunt for an open seat at a table with your preferred limits and the hands move very quickly. That allows online blackjack players to really improve their skills so eventually they won’t even have to think about whether to hit or stay in various scenarios. It becomes second nature with enough practice.
Roulette is another classic casino game that’s much easier to play online at home. You don’t have to throw elbows in order to get your chips down at a crowded table and can easily keep track of previous spins with mobile casino apps.
Online roulette isn’t legal in Texas but will be offered by all the top mobile casino apps should the state pass any legislation in the future.
Live dealer casino table games are similar to standard mobile app offerings with one big exception. There’s a real human being serving as the live dealer from a remote location, giving online casino players a more realistic table game experience.
Live dealer isn’t legal anywhere in Texas, but that’s not uncommon. Live dealer options are hard to come by even with states that offer legal online gambling. But most states with mobile casino apps usually have live dealer blackjack, roulette and baccarat.
If and when Texans have access to legal online gambling, the first thing they’ll need to figure out is the deposit process. Most top online casinos and online sportsbooks now accept various forms of payment, so players should find at least one if not several options that work for them.
Play+ is one of the more common ways to make an initial deposit. Rather than depositing directly from the bank to the casino, you load up a Play+ card with the funds you intend to put in your online casino account. Then you simply transfer the funds from the Play+ card to the casino. You can withdraw funds from the Play+ card at an ATM.
PayPal is another easy one to use. If you’re already signed up with PayPal, most online gambling sites allow the user to transfer money from their PayPal account to the online casino or mobile app.
Debit/credit card deposits are becoming more common but still run into issues from time to time. The banks haven’t quite caught up with legal online gambling in various states, so transactions can get denied even though the online casinos are perfectly legal. Check with your bank if you want to deposit this way and run into any issues or prefer to deposit with a bank/wire transfer.
Check out the information and bookmark the page to stay on top of accepted payment methods in Texas.
If and when online casinos launch in Texas, you’ll want to keep your eye out for all the various bonus offers. Most top online gambling sites and mobile apps offer solid bonuses or incentives for new users. These aren’t scams or empty promotions – they include real money you can use to play with, sometimes for nothing in return.
Matched deposit is a popular one, especially for users making sizable first-time deposits. The online casino will match whatever you put in up to a certain amount, usually around $500. So you’re doubling your money right from the start. Some of these offers come with a stipulation that the player will have to wager a certain amount, known as a playthrough requirement, before they can access the funds from the matched deposit.
Free spins are another good one for slot machine players. These are essentially credits for the player to use on online slot machines without having to risk any of their own money. The number of spins and required action from the user vary from casino to casino, so read the terms and conditions carefully.
Refer-a-friend bonuses kick in if the player finds an acquaintance who also wants to play online casino games. They can give the friend a code to input upon signup and the player who referred them will get a bonus deposit added to their account. However, they might not have access to the bonus funds until their friend wagers a specific amount.
Tradition is strong in Texas, and that tradition still has a lot of sway, especially when it comes to gambling laws. The Lone Star State outlawed gambling entirely at certain points during its history, and while an increasing number of jurisdictions have embraced new gambling options, Texas remains largely resistant.
Texas has a state lottery as well as pari-mutuel horse racing tracks, and is one of the few remaining jurisdictions with greyhound racing. Most other gaming options are banned, and those that do exist do so on the periphery of state law. The two Native American casinos only operate due to federal law giving recognized tribes autonomy to offer gaming options on their sovereign lands. The Gulf Coast cruise boats that leave from the Texas shores can only take wagers when in international waters. Most of these venues are multiple-hour drives for the vast majority of the state.
Charitable gambling, as well as social gambling, are also legal, but that is a far cry from a growing number of states with full-time brick-and-mortar (or online) gaming options. The only other major offerings are via "eight-liners," devices that mirror slot machines but can only offer non-cash prizes that are worth less than $5.
Legal gaming options via the internet are nonexistent in Texas. There are no legal options for online and mobile sports betting, iCasinos, slots, blackjack, poker or any other option. The state-sanctioned lottery was the last major gambling development, and there doesn’t appear to be another significant entity coming in the future.
Texas settlers have gambled since before it became a republic and long before it joined the United States. The millions of modern-day Texas residents, like their neighbors in the other 49 states, still enjoy a pull of a slot machine or a hand of blackjack. But public taboo, and decades of recent tradition keep Texas gambling largely illegal. There may come a time when Texas warms up to legal gambling, for now it remains one of the more restrictive jurisdictions in America.
Texas has no legal online or retail sports betting options. Nearly 20 states have legalized sports betting, including in some instances online sports betting, and up to two dozen more have introduced legislation to consider doing so. Texas is not among them.
Despite some push from lawmakers and gambling stakeholders, few efforts have gained traction. Neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana have considered sports betting legislation, and Arkansas started taking bets in 2019, so that may spark a similar response in Austin. But Texas’ long-standing opposition to most forms of gambling means any substantial change is a longshot.
Even so, sports betting may have the best chance of any major real money online gaming form of passing into law. Texas is a notoriously sports-crazed state, and undoubtedly many fans of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys or the NCAA’s Texas Longhorns would like to place a legal bet on their favorite teams. With a young, growing population full of sports fans, Texas is a top target of the sports betting industry as a whole. Combined with pressures from new online and retail sports betting options in neighboring states and across the country, Texas’ opposition to legal wagering may begin to thaw, even if it may take years to do so.
Sports betting is still illegal in Texas with no set timetable for new proposals or legislation. Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lucio III recently tried to introduce a legal sports betting bill, which failed without much noise or promise.
If legislators were to introduce a new legal sports betting bill with success, it would still take time before Texans could actually place a legal sports wager. This can take months as the gaming commission works out various regulations and sorts through the logistics. Then they need to figure out who can apply for licenses, whether or not mobile is offered, requiring an in-person or remote signup, etc.
For now it looks like legal sports betting in Texas is still at a minimum several years from becoming a reality.
Most leading daily fantasy sports providers operate in Texas. The legislature failed (again) to clarify DFS as a game of skill in 2019, which would have formally exempted it from anti-gambling statutes. The attorney general’s office had previously argued the games technically violated Texas law but has so far not prosecuted any operators or players. This ruling, industry observers believe, was intended to prod the legislature to take up a bill to regulate the fantasy sports games, which didn’t become widely popular until 2015.
Lawmakers won’t formally regulate the games, but they also seem unwilling to enact a direct a legal ban. That means players should be free to enjoy playing fantasy sports contests for the foreseeable future.
Because of the legal uncertainty, daily fantasy in Texas has had a long on-and-off legal battle with the state government. FanDuel left the state over fears officials would take the attorney general’s advice and crack down on the games. Competitor DraftKings remained in Texas, the nation’s second-most populated state, while challenging the state in court. By 2018, FanDuel re-entered the market, and every indicator is all top DFS operators will remain going forward.
Most states that legalize sports gambling eventually offer a wide variety of sportsbooks and mobile betting sites. Popular options include DraftKings, FanDuel, 888sports, William Hill, BetMGM, PointsBet and others.
In many states sportsbooks are required to partner with land-based casinos to offer in-person or mobile sports betting once the states legalize sports wagering. The type of wagers offered, consistency of point spreads, bonuses and sports do vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. That’s why it’s important for players to shop around to find a sportsbook that fits with their preferred wagering style.
Most top sportsbooks in states with legal sports betting include point spread, moneyline, totals and other additional betting options on all the top leagues. Some states have restricted wagering on in-state colleges, while things like high school athletics are never available.
If Texas legalizes sports gambling, players can expect many wagering options, including on the following sports:
No, states with legal online gambling allow visitors and tourists to use betting sites and mobile casino apps while they’re within state lines.
The legal gambling age in Texas is 21 for land-based casinos and horse racing. The legal age is 18 for lottery and bingo.
States that choose to legalize online gambling receive millions in additional revenue, which they distribute in various ways for schools, infrastructure and other public services.
Daily Fantasy Sports is currently the only available legal online betting options for Texans, though it’s still unregulated by the state and falls in somewhat of a gray area.
No. Gambling.com only recommends legal online gambling sites and social casinos. Offshore casinos are unregulated and therefore risky. There’s no governing body that holds them accountable for timely payments and fairness. Texans should stick with legal social casinos until other options become available.
If online casino sites become operational in Texas, players will be able to sign up with a bit of personal information to register. That usually includes name, date of birth, proof of residence and Social Security number. It may require a driver’s license or other formal identification. This is totally normal and players can feel at-ease because these sites are regulated and required to keep your information private at all times.
There are two legal tribal casinos in Texas which offer a variety of slot machines and digital games. Licensed horse racing and greyhound dog racing is legal. State-run lottery, bingo and daily fantasy sports are additional legal betting options for Texans.
States with legal gambling have varying revenue tax rates for operators, and Texas would reach its own tax when it chooses to legalize online gambling. Texans would pay a 6.25% state tax on winnings, while the amount owed to the IRS would depend on their individual tax bracket.
Texans should choose whichever online casino best suits their wagering style if and when legal online casinos become available. All legal online casinos have solid options with table games and online slots, so bettors should shop around for the best bonuses, their favorite games and stakes they’re most comfortable with.
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