If you want to learn the latest news about legal online casinos in Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Unfortunately, we have to open with some bad news – Texas hasn’t made any moves to legalize online gambling activities. However, on this page, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the available gambling options in Texas (as well as the closest states where you can legally engage in some online casino action).
Gambling, in general, is illegal in Texas. Most gambling activities are considered criminal offense. Texas is one of the strictest states regarding gambling activities, so it’s doubtful that we’ll see any online gambling options anytime soon. Even though online casino and sports betting is now completely legal on the federal level, states like Texas are unlikely to legalize it.
Interestingly, legislators are out of touch with public opinion. In a recent poll conducted by the Dallas Morning News (March 2021), 57% of Texans support casino gambling in the Lone Star State. Just 29% were opposed, and 13% said it doesn’t matter. Simply put, gambling is popular in Texas. In fact, many Texans are known to visit other states to enjoy various gambling and online gambling activities.
Even though gambling is illegal, there are some exceptions, so let’s check them out.
Texas currently has three federally recognized Native American tribes, and each tribe operates a land-based casino. These casinos are the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, and Naskila Gaming. We’ll cover each of these facilities later in this overview. Apart from them, no other land-based casinos exist in the state.
Poker is also illegal in Texas, and the only places where you can play it are the three tribal casinos, which feature a decent offer of cash games and tournaments. Still, for full-scale poker experience, Texans have to leave the state.
Parimutuel wagering is completely legal in Texas and is overseen by the Texas Racing Commission. Placing bets is only available at horse and greyhound tracks. The most popular tracks are Retama Park in Selma, Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, and Houston’s Sam Houston Race Park. There are several classes of racetracks.
Bingo is also legal in Texas, but only non-profit organizations and certain community groups can operate it. They need to have a license issued by the Bingo Operations Division of the Texas Lottery Commission, and sessions are limited to three per week. The maximum prize one can win by playing bingo is $750 per game.
There are currently three tribal casinos in Texas, and they are the only available gambling facilities in the state.
Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is owned and operated by the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. It includes gaming, dining, entertainment, a hotel, and an RV park. It’s an all-in-one package, and it’s pretty unique to Texas. Those interested in gaming will find more than 3,300 slots, poker, and bingo. The private poker room offers Texas Hold ‘em on a daily basis, and there’s even a bad beat jackpot. The facility is located at 794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852, United States.
Speaking Rock Entertainment Center is owned and operated by the Tigua tribe of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Casino gaming is not its primary focus, as it’s listed as a live music venue. However, it also features a casino, a video game room, and a couple of dining and nightlife options. It’s located at 122 S Old Pueblo Rd, El Paso, TX 79907, United States.
Naskila Gaming is a property in Livingston, TX, operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. The property features a gaming floor with more than 800 electronic games, in addition to a popular restaurant. It’s important to mention that both Speaking Rock and Naskila have been subject to litigation, as the state argues that they don’t operate 100% legally. Until then, however, they’re receiving visitors from all over the state and beyond. You’ll find Naskila Gaming at 540 State Park Rd 56, Livingston, TX 77351, United States.
Even though a couple of states offer land-based casino gambling, there are no states that legalized online casinos anywhere near Texas. Texans will have to go all the way to Nevada, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey if they want to have a decent online gambling experience that includes more than just sports betting.
Nevada is the most popular gambling state in the US, and all forms of land-based gambling are legal in it. That said, online casinos are still not fully legal in the state, meaning you’ll only be able to access online poker. Then again, who needs online casinos in Nevada as there are land-based casinos everywhere. Las Vegas is 1,456 miles away from Austin.
West Virginia legalized online casinos and sports betting in 2019. Even though it’s a relatively small market, there are still some great online gambling platforms that residents and visitors of WV can visit. If you don’t mind going all the way to this state, you’ll definitely have a chance to have a decent online casino experience. The distance between Austin and the WV state capital of Charleston is 1,165 miles.
PA is also a relatively new online casino market, and it’s also the most potent one, given the population in the state. Everyone living in or visiting Pennsylvania can access online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms and enjoy high-quality gambling. PA’s capital, Harrisburg, is 1,547 miles away from Austin, and you’d need a 24-hour drive to get there.
New Jersey is the oldest and most popular online gambling market, as online casinos have been legal in this state since 2013. It was also the first state to launch sports betting shortly after the PASPA ban was lifted. There are also plenty of great online poker options for residents and visitors to the Garden State. If you want to go to NJ and experience online casinos in all their glory, you’ll have to travel 1,601 miles from Austin to Atlantic City.
Texas might rank amongst the most anti-gambling states in the US today. But a long, long time ago, TX was known as the Wild West of gambling, before the state decided to stop all games of chance in 1903. Here’s a quick overview of the history of TX gambling since then.
The Balinese Room was opened on a 600-ft long pier in Galveston, TX. It quickly became an iconic facility, hosting many celebrities who gambled and partied until dawn. It was raided and closed in 1957.
Parimutuel wagering on horses and greyhounds was finally legalized in Texas decades after other states (Florida, for example, legalized the sport back in the 1930’s)
The Texas Lottery Commission was created and lottery was added to the (short) list of legalized gambling games.
Talking about the future of online gambling in TX is difficult in 2021. It doesn’t seem like anything is going to change anytime soon. However, gambling is clearly gaining support among the residents — in fact, the support was always strong, but the lawmakers never bothered making exceptions.
If online gambling becomes legal, the most likely scenario is that sports betting would be first to get the green light. Remember, this is the state of the Dallas Cowboys – so betting interest must be huge. Casino betting would lag far behind, so we don’t see legal online casinos in Texas anytime soon. That’s a real shame – and with the Lone Star state so far from the legal online casino markets on the east coast, it’s just too bad for Texan online casino fans.