Texas Sports Betting — Legal Mobile Sportsbooks, Timeline, and Updates 2022

Texas, a state that still celebrates its “Wild West” roots, prohibits the famous poker game that bars its name – and most other forms of commercial gaming, including sports betting. But for how much longer?

With exceptions for the state-run lottery and a handful of horse and dog tracks, most forms of gambling remain illegal in Texas. A few scattered gaming facilities on tribal lands and beyond Texas waters in the Gulf of Mexico aside, there are no brick-and-mortar gambling destinations in Texas, even as more such facilities boom on its borders and throughout the country.

This means legal Texas online sports betting – or even a retail sportsbook of some sort – is still a long way out. However, online sports betting in Texas is gaining steam and may well have a chance once the legislature meets again in 2023. Below we’ll breakdown the entire Texas sports betting scene.

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Gambling history in Texas

Texans have pushed for legal gambling venues ever since the state started cracking down on organized gaming before the turn of the 20th century. The aforementioned caveats aside, they’ve gained little traction over the years. For generations, Texas’ political leaders, and the culture at large, have dismissed gambling as a detrimental moral vice. Despite millions of Texan dollars pouring into New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana, Gov. Greg Abbot and much of the Republican-controlled legislature continue to oppose gambling.

Still, public attitudes in Texas and across the country continue to shift in gambling’s favor. Already the nation’s second-most populated state, Texas continues to grow at one of the country’s fastest rates, bringing a cultural and demographic shift that could upend decades of conservative dominance, both culturally and politically.

And, despite lawmakers’ and the governor’s views, Texans are still gambling – on sports and more – often online and from the comfort of their own homes. Illegal bookmakers have flourished in Texas, as have hundreds of unregulated offshore betting sites.

With nearly 30 million residents and a deep-rooted sporting culture, Texas remains one of the biggest targets in the U.S. sports betting expansion race. With Texas now able to legalize sports gambling in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal ban, sports betting stakeholders remain excited for what would be the nation’s second-most lucrative wagering market.

Political hurdles remain, and a quick sports betting resolution doesn’t seem likely at this time, Texas’ sports betting potential keeps it as one of the most-watched jurisdictions in the early stages of nationwide U.S. sports betting.

The road to sports betting legalization in Texas

For generations, Texas has built a reputation as a cultural and political bastion of conservatism. Even as its ideological and geographical counterparts such as Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico have slowly embraced gambling, Texas’ leaders remain vehemently opposed.

Texas’ steadfast conservatism – and massive geography – has helped it resist gambling even as nearly 1,000 casinos have opened in the past 50 years across the country. First with government-sanctioned lotteries and more recently with commercial gaming facilities, states have felt compelled to accept new gaming forms, if simply to keep residents’ dollars within state lines. Louisiana riverboat casinos and New Mexico tribal gaming centers have opened near the Texas border largely to draw Texans, but with the major population centers of Dallas – Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio so far removed from any other state, Texas has thus far overcome financial pressures to match out-of-state gaming offerings.

The Texas Senate, where Sports Betting will be discussed in 2023

For decades, lawmakers have floated gaming expansion bills, none of which have gained much traction beyond the 1991 enactment of the Texas Lottery. Conservative and religious groups still pull powerful sway in the capital and that, plus Texas’ unusual biennial legislative calendar, gives gaming proponents few opportunities.

That being said, Texas’ demographics are changing rapidly away from its conservative religious, political and cultural traditions and more towards a less homogenous population less bothered with morality concerns around regulated gambling. Though it has been and remains an uphill climb politically, these more gambling-friendly voices are carrying greater political sway, especially in Texas’ population centers. All macro-level demographic trends point toward a warming gaming environment in years to come.

Hope for Texas sports betting

Sports betting business opportunities could accelerate this process. Texas has a little under 10% of the U.S. population, which means, theoretically, it could capture about $15 billion of the estimated $150 billion U.S. gambling market if legalized. Aside from California, which is also currently working on legalizing sports betting, Texas would be far and away the biggest U.S. wagering market.

This has not only drawn the interest of the world’s largest sportsbooks but Texas business leaders as well. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already partnered with Oklahoma’s WinStar Casino and would likely jump at the chance to further affiliate with a sportsbook.

Beyond sports and gambling stakeholders, there are possibly billions of dollars at stake in a regulated Texas market, money that is already being wagered through offshore sites or unregulated bookies. The financial opportunities alone may be enough to compel otherwise reticent lawmakers that the monetary benefits outweigh their moral apprehensions. When – or if – that tide comes in remains to be seen.

The timeline for Texas sports betting

While many Texans hope the issue will be revisited ahead of the 2023 legislative session, efforts to legalize gambling in Texas have been in place dating back to 2020.

2020: Casino bill jumpstarts Texas gambling talks

Las Vegas Sands owner and billionaire Sheldon Adelson first got the ball rolling back in December 2020, when it was made apparent that he and his group planned to bring casino-style gaming to various locations within the state of Texas. Adelson’s group played a major role in HB 477, a casino bill filed on November 10, 2020 by Representative Joe Deshotel that would allow for retail gaming to take place at nine different locations in Texas. The bill did not specifically mention sports betting, but would effectively legalize Class III gaming – meaning sports betting would be included, if passed. Casinos would be taxed at an 18% rate on all gross revenue and all gaming would be overseen by the Texas Lottery Commission.

2021: First Texas sports betting bill is filed

Shortly after the calendar turned to 2021, the first of many eventual Texas sports betting bills was officially filed. Rep. Harold Dutton’s HB 1121 called for statewide mobile sports betting taxed at a 6.25% rate, a legal betting age of 18, a $250,000 application fee for operators, a $200,000 renewal fee, and a ban on betting on local college teams.

Texas professional teams get involved

About one month later in February, it was revealed that a coalition of Texas professional sports teams and sports betting operators alike joined together to push a new proposal that would bring legal wagering to the Lone Star State. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Dan Huberty and backed by the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, and FC Dallas, would require future operators to partner with the state’s pro teams or horse tracks in order to offer retail and mobile sports betting. The bill would also come with a $500,000 application fee, a $50,000 retail operating license, and a tax rate of 10% on all gross gaming revenue.

Unfortunately for the group behind the bill, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick shot down the idea just one day later. Patrick spoke on a local radio station, claiming that “we don’t even have a bill that has been filed in the Senate on the issue.” This proved to be untrue, as a pair of bills known as SJR 36 and SB 616 were each filed just one day earlier.

About two weeks later, Rep. Dan Huberty officially filed the drafted proposal that was backed by various Texas professional sports teams, which would be known as HB 2070 moving forward. If passed, the bill would allow each licensee just one online skin apiece.

Huberty makes his case

By mid-April, Huberty was ready to make his official case. His main point in pushing HB 2070 to Texas lawmakers was the amount of potential revenue being left on the table that could go towards special education funding in the state. The bill would also be tied to HJR 97, which would allow voters to legalize sports wagering via constitutional amendment, something we’ve previously seen happen over in Louisiana.

The public hearing before the State Affairs Committee featured both Huberty and various representatives from The Sports Betting Alliance, the group of Texas professional teams backing HB 2070, pleading their cases. Joining them were Penn National Gaming Senior Vice President Eric Schippers and Attorney Scott Ward, who would represent BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings. And despite a decent turnout, no dice.

By June, the 2021 legislation session had officially come and gone with no bills related to sports betting or casino gaming reaching the floor of either legislative chamber for a vote. With the state’s legislature only meeting up on odd-numbered years, Texans would now be forced to wait until 2023 at earliest.

2022: O’Rourke voices his support

In April 2022, Texas politician Robert “Beto” O’Rourke publicly voiced his support for legalizing casino gambling and sports betting in the state. O’Rourke is currently running an underdog campaign against Gov. Greg Abbott and many hope his support can help the cause moving forward whether he wins or loses the race. During a recent press conference, a confidant of Abbott stated that the Governor was actually starting to warm up to the idea of legal sports wagering. And while the rest of his fellow Republicans may not be at the moment, their next opportunity will come in 2023 and Texans everywhere hope they can figure something out before it’s too late.

Potential online & mobile sportsbooks in Texas

Texas’ uncertain sports betting future makes it difficult to guess how legal online wagering would be structured, but it’s safe to assume that all of the major U.S. and international operators would seek to enter the state. The usual market leaders such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM would all use their considerable financial resources to push entry, but Texas’ massive, sports-crazed population would leave plenty of room for many smaller or more narrowly focused operators as well.

With no traditional commercial casinos, Texas loses the straightforward tethering agreement enacted in most other states with legal wagering. Aside from Penn National’s two horse tracks, the state’s few remaining tribal casinos and horse tracks leave few natural partnerships on the table.

That means an untethered market would be the key for most market entrants and the major determinant in overall revenue success. Without the ability to enter Texas sans a brick-and-mortar betting partner, only a handful of sportsbooks could go online, crippling the market’s potential before it even begins. An uncapped, untethered market would be the best – and only way – for a competitive Texas online sports betting market.

But that solution also presents obstacles. Only Tennessee has an uncapped and untethered market, and both the legislative and regulatory procedures getting to that point have proved difficult. This could be even more complex in Texas, where many elected officials are against any new form of gambling to begin with. This would likely be exacerbated by a law that allows a theoretically unlimited number of Texas mobile betting operators and the potential to gamble via a mobile device anywhere within state lines. 

That being said, Texas’ potential will attract all major operators and many smaller ones. In a hypothetical legal sports betting scenario, and assuming wide-ranging market access, Texans could expect interest from all of the following brands (and likely more):

bet365 TX

bet365 has been a massive name overseas for years on end, but is still fairly unknown among most Americans living outside of New Jersey. Texas could change that reputation in a big way, and it would be in the brand’s best interest to seek a move down south.

BetMGM TX

The sports betting product for one of the most iconic U.S. casino brands, BetMGM is steadily launching in conjunction with all of its land-based affiliates in every legal sports betting state in which it operates. Currently without a Texas property, BetMGM could conceivably look to acquire a facility and/or some other workaround into the market. Considering the brand has already surfaced in more than 15 legal U.S. gambling markets and recently became the official sports betting partner of the Houston Astros, Texans should expect BetMGM to eventually make a push into their state.

BetRivers TX

Best known for its east coast and Midwestern sports betting and casino options, BetRivers’ parent company Rush Street Interactive has made it clear that it hopes to eventually become a nationwide leader. Texas would go a long way toward achieving that goal. The brand already launched in one of the country’s biggest markets in New York in January 2022 and followed that up by entering Texas’ neighbor, Louisiana, later that month. 

Caesars Sportsbook TX

Since Caesars acquired William Hill, one of the biggest names in sports betting prior to the acquisition, the expanded company has emerged as a U.S. market leader thanks to its innovative product and heavy marketing tactics. Available in nearly every single legal gambling state in some capacity (whether retail or online), there is little doubt that J.B. Smoove and company will be making a push into Texas at some point down the road.

DraftKings Sportsbook TX

The DFS titan-turned bookmaking giant has been a market leader in countless states with online sports betting since it first became legal in 2018. In May 2022, the company announced it had officially acquired Golden Nugget Online Gaming from Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and would move forward with some sort of alliance between the two companies. With clear ties to one of the state’s most powerful figures in sports, DraftKings Sportsbook should be in good standings when it comes to entering Texas’ future sports betting market.

FanDuel Sportsbook TX

Much like its arch-rival DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook is a nationwide market leader. In nearly every state that goes live with legal betting, FanDuel is among the first commercial operators to set up shop. Now available in more than 15 markets nationwide, FanDuel’s platform is on another level from the competition and the amount of loyal players using the app can attest. With the resources of its European gaming conglomerate Flutter Entertainment and an extremely strong track record backing its operations, FanDuel should have no trouble finding a way into Texas.

Hard Rock TX

The Hard Rock name has long been affiliated with Native American gaming and could be a logical fit for an online or retail skin at one of the state’s tribal gaming facilities if Texas ends up working out some sort of deal that involves those locations. Hard Rock Sportsbook expanded into both Arizona and Virginia in 2022 and has plans for Ohio in 2023, meaning this brand is moving fast and should be interested in entering one of the largest markets in the nation.

PlayUp TX

One of the lesser-known sportsbook brands currently available in the United States, PlayUp Sportsbook made headlines back in February 2022 when it announced a partnership agreement with Texas’ Panther City Lacrosse Club. The deal, which is being tabbed as the largest team sponsorship agreement in National Lacrosse League history, officially made PlayUp the team’s first ever sports gaming partner. If Panther City Lacrosse Club eventually receives its own sports betting license, it would lead to direct market access in Texas for PlayUp.

PointsBet TX

The Australian-based sportsbook has gone all-in on America and would presumably push hard to open a book in Texas if and when the time comes. Now into double-digits in terms of its active state count, PointsBet Sportsbook knows how to get around and will likely make an effort to get into Texas before it’s all said and done. They’re already the official sports betting partner of the new MLS team Austin FC.

Unibet TX

Another European gaming giant taking a methodical approach to the U.S., Unibet Sportsbook and its streamlined approach to wagering could make sense in a sports hotbed such as Texas. The brand is already live across multiple states on the east coast and recently expanded into Arizona in September 2021.

Professional Texas sports teams

Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook and they are subject to change.

ClubLeagueEstablishedOdds
Houston AstrosBaseball1962Win World Series +650
Texas RangersBaseball1961Win World Series +30000
Dallas CowboysFootball1960Win Super Bowl +1800
Houston TexansFootball1999Win Super Bowl +30000
Dallas MavericksBasketball1980Win NBA Championship +2000
Houston RocketsBasketball1967Win NBA Championship +50000
San Antonio SpursBasketball1967Win NBA Championship +39000
Dallas StarsIce Hockey1967Win Stanley Cup +4500
FC DallasSoccer1995Win MLS Cup +4400

Austin FC

  • League: MLS
  • Founded: 2021
  • Stadium: Q2 Stadium
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: PointsBet – exclusive sports betting partner

Austin FC are the newest professional sports team in the state of Texas and the very first to call Austin “home”. Q2 Stadium, a gorgeous open-air stadium in the “Domain” area of Austin has become one of the city’s major draws.

Austin FC officially joined MLS and began play during the 2021 season. While the results on the field didn’t quite live up to the rocking home atmosphere, there’s plenty of hope for the future. In 2022 Austin FC have been amongst the best teams in the league. Soccer is alive and well in the capitol of Texas.

Dallas Cowboys

  • League: National Football League
  • Founded: 1960
  • Stadium: AT&T Stadium
  • Location: Arlington, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: WinStar World Casino

Arguably the most iconic franchise in all of sports, the Dallas Cowboys embody everything there is to love about the state of Texas. Dallas first broke into the league in 1960 as an expansion team and would spend its first eleven seasons playing at the Cotton Bowl before moving into Texas Stadium in 1971. The franchise would experience great success early on, ripping off eight consecutive playoff appearances from 1966-1973, including a pair of NFC Championships and a 1971 Super Bowl VI victory led by the great Roger Staubach. Following the organization’s first championship, Staubach would lead the Cowboys back to the promised land three more times between 1975-1978, securing Dallas’ second title in 1977’s Super Bowl XII.

After hitting the skids throughout the 1980’s post-Staubach, the franchise was sold to Jerry Jones on February 25, 1989 – a move that would precede one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. Miami University head football coach Jimmy Johnson took over for HC Tom Landry and instantly transformed Dallas back into a winner by building his team through trades and the draft. Headlined by 1989 first overall pick Troy Aikman and 1990 first round pick Emmitt Smith, among a slew of other talent, Dallas would go on to reach the postseason in all but one year from 1991-1999 (1997). The Cowboys’ dominant run of the 1990’s resulted in three Super Bowl appearances in 1992, 1993, and 1995 – each of which ended with a Cowboys victory. 

After winning its fifth total championship in 1995 (3rd-most in NFL history), the franchise has fallen on some hard times, failing to make it back to football’s greatest stage ever since. In Dallas’ previous eight playoff appearances dating back to 2003, the team has failed to make it out of the second round.

Dallas Mavericks

  • League: National Basketball Association
  • Founded: 1980
  • Stadium: American Airlines Center
  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: Betway, Jackpocket

The Dallas Mavericks were first established in 1980 and have undergone few changes as a franchise over the years. The team locked up its first of four Southwest Division titles in 1987 but aside from that, the Mavericks experienced very little success early on. After a rebuild throughout the 1990’s, the franchise struck gold when they drafted German big man Dirk Nowitzki with the 9th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Nowitzki would go on to lead Dallas to a pair of NBA Finals appearances in 2006 and 2011, defeating LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the latter to hand Dallas its first and only NBA Championship. Following Nowitzki’s retirement, Dallas has seemingly landed another gem in Slovenia’s Luka Doncic, the 2019 Rookie of the Year and a player who appears to be in position to dominate the NBA for years to come.

Dallas Stars

  • League: National Hockey League
  • Founded: 1967
  • Stadium: American Airlines Center
  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: N/A

Texas’ lone professional hockey franchise did not arrive until 1993 despite being founded in 1967. Prior to becoming the Dallas Stars, the organization spent more than 25 seasons playing in Minnesota known as the North Stars. Once the franchise arrived in Texas in ‘93, it spent about eight seasons playing at Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas before permanently relocating to the American Airlines Center in 2001. During its time at Reunion Arena, Dallas won its first and only Stanley Cup title in 1998 before returning to the title game in 1999 and falling short to the New Jersey Devils. The Stars would eventually return to the Stanley Cup Finals during the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 campaign, where they would come up short against the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

FC Dallas

  • League: Major League Soccer
  • Founded: 1995
  • Stadium: Toyota Stadium
  • Location: Frisco, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: N/A

An original member of Major League Soccer since its inception in 1995, FC Dallas was known as the Dallas Burn prior to its name change in 2004. Following the rebrand, the team also moved into Toyota Stadium ahead of the 2005 season, its new home located in Frisco, Texas. The club would make its lone MLS Cup Finals appearance just a few years later in 2010, suffering a heartbreaking loss in extra time on an own goal against the Colorado Rapids, 2-1.

Houston Astros

  • League: Major League Baseball
  • Founded: 1962
  • Stadium: Minute Maid Park
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: BetMGM

Originally established in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s, the Astros wouldn’t receive their current name until three years later in 1965. After its first few seasons playing in Colt Stadium, the team moved into the Astrodome, the world’s first domed sports stadium and one that inspired the organization’s eventual name change. The franchise started out as a member of Major League Baseball’s National League after joining as an expansion team alongside the New York Mets, and would spend 51 seasons as a member of the NL before switching over to the American League in 2013.

Aside from the team’s lone National League Pennant in 2005 that resulted in a World Series loss at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, the majority of this organization’s success has taken place in the 2010’s and beyond. Since 2015, Houston has made the postseason in six of seven seasons while capturing three American League Pennants along the way. After winning the franchise’s first and only World Series title in 2017 (in controversial fashion, no less), Houston has returned to baseball’s biggest stage twice – falling to the Washington Nationals in 2019 and the Atlanta Braves in 2021.

Houston Dynamo

  • League: MLS
  • Founded: 2005
  • Stadium: PNC Stadium
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: FuboTV

The Dynamo were founded in 2005 after the San Jose Earthquakes elected to relocate the club. They found immediate success behind long-term coach Dominic Kinnear who led the team to back to back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007. They finished as MLS Cup runners-up in both 2011 and 2012.

After initially moving to Houston the team played it’s home games at the University of Houston for several years before finally moving into a gorgeous 22,000 seat, soccer-specific stadium in downtown Houston. PNC Stadium remains one of the league’s top destinations.

The dynamo have a ‘premier partnership’ with FuboTV, which is in the process of rolling out its own Fubo Sportsbook. It’s possible that should legislation break the right way that the Dynamo will serve as a launching platform for Fubo in Texas.

Houston Rockets

  • League: National Basketball Association
  • Founded: 1967
  • Stadium: Toyota Center
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: DraftKings

Originally surfacing in 1967 as an expansion team known as the San Diego Rockets, this famous franchise would relocate to its permanent home in Houston after just four seasons out west. The team struggled mightily from its first year in Houston in 1971 up until the 1976 season when they acquired All-Star big man Moses Malone in a trade with the Buffalo Braves. Malone went on to win a pair of NBA MVP awards in 1979 and 1982 as a member of the Rockets, along with carrying the team to its first NBA Finals appearance in 1981, in which they lost to the Boston Celtics. Following Malone’s departure to Philadelphia, the team landed the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft and used it to select Hakeem Olajuwon – a 7-foot center out of Nigeria that would transform the organization moving forward. Throughout The Dream’s tenure in Houston, the Rockets appeared in three NBA Finals – once again falling to Boston in 1986 before winning back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995.

Ever since the Olajuwon era ended, Houston has failed to reach the NBA Finals despite acquiring a myriad of star players over the years. The franchise spent most of the early 2000’s led by Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady before the torch was eventually passed to James Harden in 2012. Harden never managed to win a big game for the Rockets in the postseason but did record three consecutive scoring titles from 2018-2020, on top of bringing home the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2018.

Houston Texans

  • League: National Football League
  • Founded: 1999
  • Stadium: NRG Stadium
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: Caesars

The lesser-known NFL franchise from the Lone Star State was founded just 22 years ago in October of 1999. The franchise was formed as an expansion team that would replace the Houston Oilers, who bolted for Nashville in 1996 and rebranded into the Tennessee Titans. The Texans would officially enter the league in 2002 for their first season and struggle for the better part of the next decade, eventually making their first playoff appearance in 2011. This would jumpstart the best era in franchise history, as the team went on to secure six total AFC South Division championships from 2011-2019. Despite all of its recent success in the regular season, Houston is still in search of the franchise’s first ever AFC Championship appearance after six consecutive postseason losses in either the Wild Card or Divisional round.

San Antonio Spurs

  • League: National Basketball Association
  • Founded: 1967
  • Stadium: AT&T Center
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: bet365

The San Antonio Spurs began their journey in 1967 as the Dallas Chaparrals, a member of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The team briefly changed its name to the Texas Chaparrals for one season in 1970 and would eventually become the San Antonio Spurs by 1973. The Spurs would spend their first three seasons as a member of the ABA before officially making the switch over to the NBA in 1976. As a result of the transition, the Spurs became one of just four ABA teams to remain intact following the 1976 ABA-NBA merger and currently stand as the only one to capture an NBA championship.

After a few short stints of success in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, San Antonio’s franchise would change forever after its hiring of head coach Gregg Popovich prior to the 1996 campaign. Backed by the help of 1995 NBA MVP David “The Admiral” Robinson and Tim Duncan, the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Popovich helped deliver San Antonio its first ever title in 1999. It would mark the first of five NBA championships won by the Spurs over the next 15 seasons, grabbing titles in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014 led by the team’s core of Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. All that said, it’s safe to say that Popovich and his supporting cast over the years have done more than enough to cement San Antonio’s place among the most successful franchises in NBA history.

Texas Rangers

  • League: Major League Baseball
  • Founded: 1961
  • Stadium: Globe Life Field
  • Location: Arlington, TX
  • Partners/Sponsors: Jackpocket, Choctaw Casino & Resort

While many may be unaware, the Texas Rangers organization was first founded in 1961 as the Washington Senators, an expansion team based in Washington D.C. The team would spend the next decade playing in D.C. before relocating to Arlington and officially taking its current name in 1972. From that point forward, Texas wouldn’t find a ton of success until the 1990’s, when the franchise locked up its first three AL West Division titles in 1996, 1998, and 1999. 

The team’s winningest era would occur nearly ten years later, when they won back-to-back American League Pennants and starred in both the 2010 and 2011 World Series. Texas unfortunately lost both times and remains without a title, but the future is surely looking bright. Backed by ownership that is willing to spend on players and a brand new home in Globe Life Field that opened in 2020, the Rangers should have no trouble competing for the foreseeable future.

Betting on college sports in Texas

As many are already aware, youth football is the backbone of Texas. The same can be said about college football, which features nationally-relevant programs such as Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, TCU, and Texas Tech going at it year after year. We’ve already seen multiple states impose a ban on in-state college wagering, and strongly hope that Texas decides to take a different route. It would certainly deliver a huge hit to the state’s online betting market if locals are unable to smack down some cash on their beloved Longhorns, Aggies, Red Raiders, or any of the other countless Texas college teams.

Division I college football teams in Texas

In total, the state is home to twelve high-profile DI Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams:

  • Baylor Bears (Big 12)
  • Houston Cougars (American Athletic Conference)
  • North Texas Mean Green (Conference USA)
  • Rice Owls (Conference USA)
  • SMU Mustangs (American Athletic Conference)
  • TCU Horned Frogs (Big 12)
  • Texas Longhorns (Big 12)
  • Texas A&M Aggies (Southeastern Conference)
  • Texas State Bobcats (Sun Belt)
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders (Big 12)
  • UTEP Miners (Conference USA)
  • UTSA Roadrunners (Conference USA)

Texas is also home to a handful of impressive DI Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams, including 2020-21 FCS National Champion Sam Houston State. After a successful run at the FCS level, the Bearkats are set to join the FBS’ Conference USA ahead of the 2023-24 regular season. But for now, they remain among the packed list of FCS schools located in Texas:

  • Abilene Christian Wildcats (WAC)
  • Houston Baptist Huskies (Southland)
  • Incarnate Word Cardinals (Southland)
  • Lamar Cardinals (WAC)
  • Prairie View A&M Panthers (SWAC)
  • Sam Houston State Bearkats (WAC)
  • Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (WAC)
  • Tarleton Texans (WAC)
  • Texas Southern Tigers (SWAC)

Division I college basketball teams in Texas

Each of the schools mentioned above also participates in Division I college basketball, another increasingly popular sport to wager on – especially around March Madness. With the high amount of in-state college hoops teams, the NCAA Tournament won’t quite be the same if residents of the state can’t bet on their school to make a Cinderella run. Here is the full list of Texas’ DI college basketball programs:

  • Abilene Christian Wildcats (WAC)
  • Baylor Bears (Big 12)
  • Houston Cougars (American Athletic Conference)
  • Houston Baptist Huskies (Southland)
  • Incarnate Word Cardinals (Southland)
  • Lamar Cardinals (WAC)
  • North Texas Mean Green (Conference USA)
  • Prairie View A&M Panthers (SWAC)
  • Rice Owls (Conference USA)
  • Sam Houston State Bearkats (WAC)
  • SMU Mustangs (American Athletic Conference)
  • Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (WAC)
  • Tarleton Texans (WAC)
  • TCU Horned Frogs (Big 12)
  • Texas Longhorns (Big 12)
  • Texas A&M Aggies (Southeastern Conference)
  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (Southland)
  • Texas Southern Tigers (SWAC)
  • Texas State Bobcats (Sun Belt)
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders (Big 12)
  • UT Arlington Mavericks (WAC)
  • UTEP Miners (Conference USA)
  • UTRGV Vaqueros (WAC)
  • UTSA Roadrunners (Conference USA)

Sports betting status in neighboring states

Despite its massive size and stature, the state of Texas is surprisingly only surrounded by four other U.S. states. The lower half of this gargantuan territory is bordered by Mexico to the south and the Gulf of Mexico to the East, while New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and a very small portion of Arkansas border the remainder of the state. Both Louisiana and Arkansas implemented online sports betting in the first quarter of 2022, while New Mexico has featured retail betting at five tribal casinos since launching in 2018. 

As neighboring states continue to evolve, the pressure on Texas to legalize sports betting will continue to mount. Until that day comes, Texas-based bettors will need to seek out other options if they wish to place any sports action legally. We’ll break down each of Texas’ neighboring states and their current sports betting statuses in greater detail, down below.

Louisiana

Residents of the Pelican State have access to a plethora of legal sports betting options, both in-person and online. Retail betting launched back in October 2021, and was quickly followed by a statewide mobile launch on January 28, 2022. Unlike the rest of the legal gambling states in the U.S., Louisiana is divided up into 64 parishes that were given the opportunity to individually vote on the matter. While 55 of the 64 parishes went on to approve sports betting in their areas, nine parishes ultimately voted against it. Closest in proximity to Houston and College Station, Louisiana is a bit of a hike for most Texans but should be considered the nearest legal sports betting option for anyone residing in the Houston area.

Arkansas

Located just above Louisiana is Arkansas, which happens to be the only other state connected to Texas with legal online sports betting. Sandwiched between Louisiana and Oklahoma, only a small section of Arkansas actually connects to Texas, however it is the closest gambling state for those living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. After opening the state’s first ever retail casino in 2019, Arkansas has continued to make strides within its gambling community. Mobile betting officially went live on March 7, 2022 and is now available for both locals and visitors of the state.

New Mexico

Closest to some of Texas’ most western cities such as Amarillo, Lubbock, and Midland, New Mexico is yet another nearby state where Texans can legally bet on sports. New Mexico was quick to get involved in the industry, becoming just the sixth U.S. state to accept a legal sports wager post-PASPA when it launched retail betting in October 2018. The state currently has five casinos accepting action on sports, two of which are located in Albuquerque, one in Santa Fe, one in Mescalero, and another in Bernalillo. Unfortunately for bettors in Texas, even New Mexico’s closest casino is at least a four hour drive from Lubbock, so it’s best to make a trip out of it rather than just coming and going.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma is up there with New Mexico in terms of shared real estate with Texas, as the panhandle state covers the majority of Texas’ northern border. The state has yet to implement any form of legal sports betting thus far, but has extended efforts to offer action at two Native American tribal casinos – which was effectively shot down by the state Senate on May 13, 2022. Out of all of Texas’ neighboring states, Oklahoma appears to be in the most similar situation when it comes to legalizing sports betting – it could be a while.

Potential sports markets and bet types in TX

If and when Texas does come around and decides to legalize sports betting within its borders, players can expect to find a wide range of sports markets and bet types at their disposal. As briefly mentioned above, the ability to wager on collegiate sports varies from state to state and has been one of the few controversial subjects within areas that have legalized. Some states only allow wagering on college teams specifically from out of state, while others allow their residents to tout the entire field of schools.

When it comes to Texas, we expect the entire circuit of college programs to be available for wagering, including all of your local favorites. With that being said, players should have access to the following sports markets in Texas:

Once you’ve narrowed down which sport or league you’d like to wager on, more decisions will await! When it’s all said and done, Texas-based bettors should have access to a full suite of bet types at hand, including the following industry favorites:

Potential banking options in TX

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the list of available banking options should be no exception. Similar to just about every other legal market that has launched thus far, residents of the Lone Star State can expect to find the same exact banking options offered on their online sportsbooks. The complete list of options will vary depending on which operator you ultimately choose but generally speaking, most industry-standard books offer some variation of the following banking methods:

  • ACH/eCheck
  • Credit/Debit Card (VISA/MasterCard, sometimes Discover)
  • Online Banking Transfer
  • PayPal
  • Play+ Prepaid Card
  • Apple Pay
  • Venmo
  • Skrill
  • PayNearMe
  • Cash at the Casino Cage
  • Wire Transfer
  • Paper Check by Mail

History of casinos, racetracks and legal gambling in Texas

From the early days of statehood through the present time, Texas has shed its “Wild West” reputation for saloons and gambling halls and remained one of the most gaming-averse states in the nation.

Though underground gambling halls would continue for decades with wavering degrees of law enforcement, Texas’ 1856 penal code restricted gambling until it was replaced by the updated code in 1973. The update codified strict gambling prohibitions – even as New Jersey was nearing the first legal casinos outside Nevada and nationwide options began to shift.

Leading up and through the 1973 code, gambling measures drew little support from most of Texas’ elected officials. Pari-mutuel horse racing, which had existed in some form in the United States for centuries and was widely embraced in much of the rest of the country, wasn’t legalized until 1987. A state lottery wasn’t approved until 1991, decades after the first modern U.S. lotteries had begun.

Texas’ approach to gambling hasn’t changed much since those notable exceptions. The state’s three Native American tribes are permitted to operate gaming facilities on their sovereign tribal lands, but even these venues have brought about years of legal challenges from Texas officials. A few casino cruise ships have sailed from Texas’ Gulf Coast beaches into international waters over the years, but these are just a blip in the larger U.S. casino market.

Like the rest of the country, Texas is shifting culturally and demographically toward broader gambling support. It could be years until Texas catches up to most of the rest of the nation, where commercial casinos and now sportsbooks are increasingly common, but macro trends point toward a massive change in what has been centuries of gambling opposition.

Texas sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in the state of Texas?

No, both online and in-person sports betting remain illegal in the state of Texas.

when will online sports betting become legal in Texas?

No, both online and in-person sports betting remain illegal in the state of Texas.

Is sports betting legal in the state of Texas?

Texans will have to wait until at least 2023 for legal sports betting. Texas’ elected officials remain largely opposed to all forms of gambling and seem to have little interest in passing a sports betting bill in the immediate future.

How many sportsbooks will launch in Texas?

It’s far too early to tell how many sportsbooks could launch if Texas decides to legalize sports betting. Most states affiliate or “tether” their online sportsbooks to brick-and-mortar facilities. Since Texas has no commercial casinos and just a handful of horse tracks and Native American gaming facilities, it would likely have to allow “untethered” access to have a true competitive market. However, that could prove more politically difficult.

Who would be eligible to bet on sports in Texas?

If online sports betting gets legalized in Texas, residents over the age of 21 would presumably be able to place a bet anywhere within state lines, however its far too early to tell what further restrictions lawmakers or regulators would enforce should a sports wagering bill pass into law.

Will Texas mobile sportsbooks offer bonuses and free bets?

Assuming mobile sports betting is eventually going to get the green light in Texas, it’s a safe bet that most, if not all, Texas online sportsbooks will offer welcome bonuses, Texas risk-free bets, odds boosts, and other promotions similar to the deals offered in other states.

What sports betting markets will be available in TX?

A legal Texas sports betting market would undoubtedly allow wagering on the NFL, as well as all other major U.S. and foreign professional sports leagues. Betting on college athletics, and NCAA football in particular, would also likely be allowed, but Texas could restrict or ban wagering on in-state college programs, which has occurred in several other states with legal betting. High school sports betting, as with every other state, will almost assuredly be prohibited.

Will I be able to bet from anywhere in Texas?

It would depend on any legislation, rules, and regulations approved by Texas officials. A statewide mobile network would be a necessity for revenue success in a state as vast as Texas, but officials may be politically unwilling to allow wagering beyond a select few areas.

Michael Sciangula

Michael Sciangula

Michael is a New Jersey-based sports writer who recently began working in the online gaming industry. He now contributes to various online publications for Better Collective. He is an alumnus of Rutgers University and avidly follows Rutgers basketball and the New York Mets.

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