Legal Texas sports betting laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. Almost since its creation as a legal state, betting on all types of sporting events and even small-stakes games such as horse racing and card games has been illegal in Texas. The only exception to this rule has been when professional or college sports teams win a championship, that is still a rather unique situation. Sports bettors in Texas are subjected to some of the toughest penalties in the country for failure to abide by the law. This can include hefty fines and even possible jail time.
Because of the nature of sports betting, many states have put in place various protection for consumers who wager on games involving sporting events. Texas is one of the few states to specifically cover wagering on “professional” teams. This means that not only are players and coaches protected under current law, but the Texas Lottery Commission is also protecting the integrity of the lottery by making it illegal to run sports bets on the Texas Lottery Commission website.
A major part of Texas’s sports betting legislation was passed in 2021. House Bill 1090 was overwhelmingly passed by the Texas House and is now awaiting Senate review. House members had originally planned to table the bill, but changed their minds at the last minute and passed it anyway. If the bill were to become law, it would make life extremely difficult for those who partake in online sports betting. For example, an individual who operated an online sports betting account would be required to register with the Texas Lottery Commission in order to participate in any lottery game.
House Bill 1090 makes it illegal for individuals to conduct sports wagering on an in-person notable prohibition. Current law already makes it illegal to wager money on a lottery game in Texas, but the new bill makes it illegal to wager money on any lottery game anywhere in Texas. The bill would also require all financial institutions to apply the same criteria to in-person wagers as they do to virtual wagers. Additionally, the bill would also require all online bookmakers to apply the same standards to in-person wagers as they do to virtual wagers.
Existing law already allows individuals to bet on games involving in-state college teams, but the new House Bill makes it illegal to wager on games involving any out-of-state college teams. The House has passed a version of House Bill 1090 that allows gambling at licensed live sports venues in Texas. However, it makes it illegal to wager on games involving any out-of-state college programs. This differs from current state law, which allows a person to wager on any Texas college football games.
The House approved a version of House Bill 1090 that would allow gambling at licensed live sports venues in Texas starting with the start of the second week of the fiscal year beginning in July of 2021. A large majority of Texas residents enjoy the convenience of betting on sports, and most live games will be played at licensed sports bars and restaurants. Although a large number of residents do not enjoy the convenience of placing sports bets on the Internet, which is where the bulk of Texas residents partake in their live in-person sports betting activities. Because many traditional bookies have moved into the digital realm of online sports betting, there are now hundreds of bookies from Texas to choose from. In-person sports betting remains the most popular way for Texas residents to place sports bets.
According to the Texas House, the implementation of House Bill 1090 into law on July 1st brought about a number of immediate and short-term changes to the state’s legal system, including the lifting of in-person or in-house gambling. House Bill 1090 allows for in-person gambling only if it can be proved that a resident of Texas does not have legal access to gambling devices or gambling establishments. House Bill 1090 also authorizes the State to prohibit sales of lottery tickets, pagers, video games, or gaming systems to anyone in Texas who is underage, has been convicted of crimes involving gambling, or is under a suspended sentence for gambling.
According to the Texas House, the House will begin the process of finalizing the text of House Bill 1090 in January of next year. Once House Bill 1090 becomes law, only in-person wagering will be allowed, and only at licensed live sports venues. For example, only in-person wagering will be permitted at county-owned casinos in Texas until at least three months after House Bill 1090 becomes law. The new None Number of Casinos (as of July 1,2021) regulation will go into effect on the day after the Regular Session of the Legislature ends, and will remain in effect for up to six months after House Bill 1090 becomes law.