- Bingo (1982), Horse racing (1987), Lottery (1991), Kickapoo Casino (1996)
- $1.2 billion
- $4.6 billion
- 18 for lottery and bingo, 21 for racing and Kickapoo Casino
- Texas does not have a statewide smoking ban
- Horse racing is the only form of legal online gambling
Texas casinos and gambling is not very common within its borders. The same cannot be said about its neighbors. Every state that borders Texas offers casinos. Oklahoma stacks casinos along its border with Texas. Lake Charles, Louisiana is just east of the Texas state line. There are also casinos just across the New Mexico border.
Texas has one tribal casino. It is located near the Mexico border on the Kickapoo reservation. The games available are slots, video poker, bingo, electronic table games and live poker. The only forms of legalized gambling permitted off that reservation are a state lottery, charitable bingo and horse racing, which includes live and off-track betting.
Paying Gambling Taxes in Texas
Learn everything you need to know about paying your taxes on your gambling winning straight from a Certified Public Accountant in our exclusive Gambling Taxes article.
Texas Casinos Map & Guide
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Types of Online Texas Gambling Allowed
The only form of online gambling that is legal in Texas is off-track betting on horses. Apps like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica accept Texans.
Daily fantasy sports sites accept Texans. This goes against the public declaration by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the games are illegal. The sites that defy this opinion and continue to operate in Texas in what appears to be an illegal market include DraftKings and FanDuel.
Types of Live Texas Gambling
- Slots: Yes
- Blackjack: Yes
- Poker: Yes
- Craps/Roulette: Yes
- Horses: Yes
- Lottery: Yes
There are a few forms of live gambling permitted in Texas. The Kickapoo tribe has a southern Texas casino. It is the only Texas casino in the state. Slots, video poker, electronic table games and live poker are spread. There are about 3,300 machines at the Lucky Eagle Casino on that reservation. There are no other Texas casinos currently operating within its borders. If the Texas gambling laws were to change, this might as well.
The Texas Lottery sells two types of lottery tickets. One is an instant game that involves scratch-off tickets. The other is lotto drawings. Texas is included in the multi-state drawings like Powerball and Mega Millions. It also has in-state drawings like Lotto Texas, Texas Two Step, Texas Triple Chance, All or Nothing, Pick 3, Daily 4, and Cash 5.
Charities may spread bingo for fundraising purposes. These are very popular compared to most other states due to the lack of other Texas casinos and gambling options.
The racing industry also fares better in Texas than other locales. The lack of Texas casinos probably helps the tracks remain active. Live and off-track betting is available at horse and greyhound racing venues in Texas.
Texas Gambling Laws
There are strict Texas gambling laws. The only forms of legalized Texas gambling are ones specifically approved by voters in a constitutional referendum. The only forms of gambling voters have affirmed are charitable bingo, horse racing, and a state lottery. A gaming compact was created between the state and the Kickapoo tribe under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Slots, video poker, electronic table games and a poker room are approved. Table games are not allowed. The Kickapoo tribe has the only reservation recognized by the state for gaming purposes. They are the only Texas casino currently operating.
While Texas bans most forms of betting, its punishments are lenient compared to other states. All gambling crimes that are not handled on a federal level are only misdemeanors.
A bet is defined as “an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance”. Daily fantasy sports are illegal in Texas, likely because of this definition. The sites claim to be bona fide contests of skill that fall outside of this definition. The state attorney general and most legal analysts that follow the industry find that to be a laughable position.
The minimum Texas gambling age for lottery players is 18 years old. Live racing and off-track betting has a minimum Texas gambling age of 21 years old. The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino also is required to exclude anyone under 21. Bingo players must be 18 but state law permits minors to play if accompanied by an adult.
List of Texas Casinos and Racetracks
There is only one Texas casino and it is the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass. There are six active racetracks in Texas that have live and off-track betting. Three offers horses while the other three are greyhound tracks.
|Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino – Eagle Pass||3,300 Slot Machines||768 Lucky Eagle Dr.||www.luckyeagletexas.com|
|Gulf Coast Racing – Corpus Christie||Greyhounds||5302 Leopard St.||www.gulfcoastracetrack.com|
|Gulf Greyhound Park – La Marque||Greyhounds||1000 FM 2004||www.gulfgreyhound.com|
|Lone Star Park – Grand Prairie||Thoroughbred||1000 Lone Star Pkwy||www.lonestarpark.com|
|Retama Park – Selma||Thoroughbred & Quarter Horse||1 Retama Pkwy||www.retamapark.com|
|Sam Houston Race Park – Houston||Quarter Horse||7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy W.||www.shrp.com|
|Valley Race Park – Harlingen||Greyhounds||2601 S. Ed Carey Dr.||www.valleyracepark.com|
In addition to the Texas casinos and tracks, there are thousands of lottery retailers in the state where bettors can buy instant game and lotto tickets. There are also more than 100 places to play bingo.
Texas Gambling History
Horse racing dates back to before Texas became a state. Old time bookmakers took bets without any oversight. The industry had its issues with legitimacy before the industry died off in the middle of the 20th Century. It returned in a regulated state in 1987 to keep bettors from traveling to neighboring states for action. Live horses and greyhounds may be used.
Racing was not the first time gambling was legalized in Texas. Voters approved charitable gambling in 1980. The first bingo license was issued in 1982.
Voters approved the Texas Lottery in November 1991. The first ticket was sold in May 1992.
Tribal Texas Casinos Enter the Picture
Texas casino gambling has an interesting past in Texas. The Kickapoo tribe is the only one permitted to hold a gaming pact with the state.
The Tigua tribe was the first to open a casino in Texas. That occurred in 1993. It was done without a gaming compact. Governor Richards refused to enter into one.
The Tigua tribe sued the state and lost in 1994. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state could not be compelled to sign a gaming compact. The Tigua casino remained open without a gaming pact. The state sued in 1999 and prevailed to shut the casino down. The casino did not close until 2001 when the Tigua tribe lost its appeals.
The Tigua tribe tried again in 2008 to roll out cash games. It opened a slot parlor but was forced to shut down after enforcement action was brought by Texas officials.
The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino opened in 1996. It is still open today as it holds a gaming pact.
The Alabama-Coushatta tribe opened a casino in 2001. It closed after the Tigua Indians lost its initial court battle.
Partial Chance Gambling
State law considers any activity that involves partial chance with money on the line to be gambling. Many gaming lawyers assumed that these meant daily fantasy sports were illegal in the state. The companies that operate those contests did not agree and operated in the state. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared the games illegal in January 2016. The sites ignored his opinion as it did not include a demand to leave the market.
Texas Casinos & Gambling FAQ
What is the minimum Texas gambling age?
Lottery and bingo players must be at least 18 years old. Racing and casino players must be at least 21.
Can minors play bingo in Texas?
A bingo patron under 18 is allowed to play for real money if accompanied by an adult.
Is horse racing legal in Texas?
Yes. There is three horse racing tracks in Texas.
Is greyhound racing legal in Texas?
Yes. There are three greyhound tracks in Texas.
Is off-track betting legal in Texas?
Yes. All six tracks have race books. TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica all have mobile racing apps available to Texans.
Are there casinos in Texas?
There is one. It is Kickapoo’s Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass.
What games are offered at Lucky Eagle Casino?
Slots, video poker, live poker and electronic table games are spread at Lucky Eagle Casino.
Where is the closest casino to El Paso?
Sunland Park Race Track and Casino is just across the border in New Mexico from El Paso.
Where is the closest casino to Dallas?
There are dozens of casinos along the Oklahoma state line.
Where is the closest casino to Houston?
Lake Charles, Louisiana is home to the closest casinos to Houston.
Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Texas?
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared daily fantasy sports illegal in January 2016. His opinion was ignored by most of the companies that provide the games.
What daily fantasy sports sites operate in Texas?
FanDuel and DraftKings are the major daily fantasy sports sites still in the state.
Is online poker, casino or sports betting legal in Texas over the Internet?
No. None is licensed and all are illegal.