Texas Casinos, Gambling, and Law Regulations: An Overview

Texas is one of the states with the most stringent gambling laws in the country, after Utah and Hawaii. If you thought that one of the world’s best-known poker versions, Texas Hold’em, would be available all over the Lone Star State, think again.

The ban does not apply only to this game but to all other standard casino table games as well. Furthermore, while people hope Texas will loosen up the gambling belt, the authorities are tightening it even more.

However, there are a few gambling options to cheer you up in Texas, and we will go through all of them in this text. We will also mention everything there is to know about online gambling, as well as the applicable gambling laws. If you are willing to learn all about it, stay tuned.

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Gambling Laws in Texas — The Law Overview

Texas has had problems with gambling from the time of the first settlers. As soon as horse racing and lottery gained popularity in Texas, the local authorities prohibited gambling activities. Then the activities were legal again and banned one more time until the state finally approved them.

From the beginning, gambling laws in Texas have been pretty strict and apparently won’t change any time soon. Texas Penal Code PEN 47.01 et seq. and Texas Revised Civil Statutes CIV STAT 179e et seq are in charge of gambling regulation in Texas.

According to them, gambling in Texas is: “an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance.” The definition of gambling is so broad that it covers almost all forms of gambling. However, some games are allowed by certain exemptions.

Article 3, Section 47 of the Texas Constitution deals with laws that prohibit “lotteries and gift enterprises,” providing exceptions for charitable bingo, state lotteries and charitable raffles. Moreover, there is a specific code related to bingo — the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 2001. This is the state law that regulates bingo games, organizations authorized to conduct bingo games, and licensing requirements.

Texas state law also has a specific part that regulates certain types of coin-operated machines, which is stated in Chapter 2153 of the Texas Occupations Code.

Breaking any of the gambling laws in Texas won’t go unnoticed. For example, if you get caught playing Texas Hold’em in Texas, you will have to pay a $500 fine. What is more, regardless of the form of gambling, breaking the law is considered a class C misdemeanor. You can find all the regulations regarding gambling-related criminal offenses in the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 47.

One of the things in which Texas differentiates from many other states is a clearly defined internet gambling law. You might have heard of it under the name “Federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.” Well, in Texas, you can read all about internet gambling laws in 31 US Code, Subtitle IV, Chapter 53, Subchapter IV.

As these laws can very often be difficult to interpret, we will simplify them for you. If you find yourself in Texas, you won’t be able to enjoy any form of casino games or sports betting, either land-based or online.

What Forms of Gambling are Allowed in Texas?

It looks like the second-most-populous state in the US isn’t interested at all in increasing its annual revenue by expanding gambling laws. The gambling market in the Lone Star State is mostly restricted and permits only hand-picked types of gambling.

Horse and Greyhound Racing

A gambling form that is, by all means, legal in Texas is betting on horse and greyhound racing. You can even bet on horse racing off-track, which is, in a way, considered online betting. There are several racetracks in Texas, together with greyhound racetracks.

Bingo

Bingo is a part of charitable gambling in Texas. All the profit made from this game is used to fund different organizations. Bingo is very popular in Texas due to the extremely limited gambling offer. However, any establishment featuring bingo games must possess a valid license and oblige to strict rules regarding the prizes and game frequency.

Lottery

You can play the lottery in Texas in one of the two following ways. The fastest way to get the extra cash is to buy a scratch-off card. Another way is to take part in lotto drawings — the in-state and multi-state ones. The in-state lotto drawings include Lotto Texas, Texas Two Step, Texas Triple Chance, All or Nothing, Pick 3, Daily 4, and Cash 5. If you prefer the multi-state drawing, the options are Powerball and Mega Millions.

Tribal Casinos

Although Texas does not approve of commercial casinos, it does allow Native Tribes to own a gambling establishment on their land. This is why the state can say that at least some form of a casino exists there. Tribal casinos are the only places where you can find games like slots and several table games. However, Tribes need to follow the rules created by the state in order to legally do the gambling business on the Native territories.

Online gambling is not the most appreciated topic across the US. Particularly in Texas, there is no point even to mention it, as the state has internet gambling laws written in black and white. Unfortunately, the Lone Star State does not seem to even think of legalizing online gambling.

The only form of online gambling that you can legally participate in is the off-track betting on horses.

This is disappointing for any gambling fan living in Texas. The situation results in people visiting offshore gambling operators online and playing the desired games. These offshore sites are legalized under other jurisdictions and gladly accept players from Texas. While they might have your back when it comes to game selection, offshore sites can’t protect you in case the Texas authorities decide to prosecute you.

Where to Gamble in Texas?

While Texas’ laws are strict, you are still able to enjoy certain types of gambling while in the Lone Star State. Even though the laws are severe, there are a few options for gambling fans.

Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel

If you go to 794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852, you will come across the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel. This establishment is a fair substitute for a typical commercial casino.

You can choose any of the 3,300 slot games, including the prominent ones like Wheel of Fortune, So Hot, 1,000,000 Degrees, La Loteria, and many more. Your investment can go up to $25, but if you don’t mean to spend your entire fund on slots, you can also play for $1 only.

The casino features the best poker room in the state that can accommodate both smokers and non-smokers. Bingo is also there, and you can play it for free if you happen to be there on your birthday.

This gambling establishment has four restaurants, two bars, and two cafés that offer food on the go. Also, if you plan to stay longer than one day, Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel provides accommodation for your convenience. The room offer goes from a standard to the King Corner Suite, and the hotel offers a pool as well. What else can you ask for?

Lone Star Park

Lone Star Park is a racetrack located at 1000 Lone Star Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75050. If you are more interested in betting on animals then in playing casino games, this is the right place for you. The racetrack features interesting races throughout the year. Your only job is to decide which one you want to bet on and check the dates for which the race is scheduled.

You can even rent a suite from which you can watch the races. Of course, there are places where you can fill your empty stomach and even eat and watch your favorite horse win at the same time. Make sure not to miss this incredible experience if you are in Texas.

FAQ

What forms of gambling are legal in Texas?

In Texas, you can legally bet on horse and greyhound racing, play bingo or lottery, and enjoy games at tribal casinos.

Is online gambling legal in Texas?

No, Texas has strict laws that regulate both land-based and online gambling.

What is the minimum legal gambling age in Texas?

The legal gambling age in Texas is 18.

Is sports betting legal in Texas?

Unfortunately, sports betting is not legal in Texas at the moment.

Are there commercial casinos in Texas?

The Lone Star State does not allow the existence of commercial casinos. However, there are tribal casinos that offer some exciting games.