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Texas Casinos & Gambling

Updated on: February 16th, 2024

Texas Casinos & GamblingTexas casinos are limited in number and operate under strict regulations. As one of the conservative states around, the Texas gambling laws have ensured that only a handful of betting options can be practiced within its borders. Gamblers in the state are resigned to looking for casino games in neighboring states. If you are looking for casinos in Texas near Austin, your best bet would be Lake Charles, Louisiana. It is located just east of the Texas state line.

The Lone Star State has one of the thriving state lotteries in the land, despite years of legal battles to pass the law. The tribal casinos have also found it hard to gain a foothold in Texas, with the only Indian casino being near the Mexico border. That is the sole destination that offers slots machines, bingo, video poker, and other table games that Texans love. Discover the history of gambling in Texas in this guide, including the gambling age and online casino gaming you can find in the state.

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Is it illegal to have casinos in Texas?

No, it is not illegal to have casinos in Texas. The State of Texas has two casinos operating in the region. The law only permits Native American tribes to operate casinos in Texas. The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 is the bill that dictates the gaming venues allowed to operate within the borders of Texas. In the last three decades, there were three casinos in Texas offering gambling services.

Texas Gambling Laws

While Texans don’t have a lot of options as other states, they have gambling offers that players can enjoy. The gambling law only allows horse and greyhound racing, charitable bingo, and the state lottery. The only casino in Texas is Kickapoo Casino, operating since 1996. The casino exists as part of a pact between the Texas government and the Kickapoo tribe. The terms of the deal are set under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

As the largest casino in Texas, you can find your favorite slot machines, electronic table games, and an assortment of poker rooms. The classic table games such as roulette and blackjack games are banned by the state. Other conditions that players should consider when playing games in Texas include the following:

  • Texas Gambling Age: the legal gambling age to enter the casino is 21 years old. To place a bet on lottery numbers, a player must be 18 years and older.
  • State Lottery: the state lottery is the only legal operator of lotto games. You can buy a ticket of your favorite lotto draws such as the Powerball and Mega Millions.
  • Horse Racing: There are several racetracks in Texas that take horse bets. Here’s a full list below:
    • Gulf Coast Racing at Corpus Christie for greyhounds
    • Gulf Greyhound Park at La Marque for greyhounds.
    • Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie for horses.
    • Retama Part at Selma for horses.
    • Sam Houston Race Park at Houston for horses.
    • Valley Race Park at Harlingen for greyhounds.

Texas Online Gambling

The gambling legislation in Texas also covers online casino gambling within the borders in great detail. The form of online gaming legalized in the state is off-track betting on horses. There’s also a selected number of providers that offer that service. Betting apps that offer off-track horse racing wagers include BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and TVG.

All of your favorite daily fantasy sports websites are not supposed to offer betting options to Texas citizens. In spite of that, you can still place your bet on DraftKings and FanDuel sites. It should be noted that the penalties of being caught for illegal gambling in Texas are much more lenient compared to other states. The charge is treated as a misdemeanor and not a federal offense.

Gambling History in Texas

Texas has long been a state that loves horse racing. Even before the borders of Texas were outlined, the racebooks of the time would accept bets on horses. At the time, there was no legal authority that provided oversight to the industry. Around the middle of the 20th Century, the state started cracking down, and bettors opted to visit neighboring states.

The scope of gambling grew, and the state passed the law where voters would dictate which games are legal. Charitable gambling was the first to benefit from this referendum rule in 1980, followed closely by bingo in 1982. It would take a decade before voters allowed Texas Lottery to operate in 1992.

Kickapoo Casino Texas

Despite Kickapoo Casino being the only casino in the state, there were casinos that existed before. The Tigua tribe was the first to open a casino in Texas. The state sued the tribe and put it out of business in 1993. However, the casino only shuttered in 2001 after losing the appeal. Another casino that was shuttered as a result of battles in court was the gambling venue owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe.

FAQs for Casinos in Texas

Does Texas have any casinos?

Texas has only one casino operative currently called Kickapoo Casino.

Is casino gambling legal in Texas?

Gambling is illegal in Texas. It is only permitted on Native American land, where you can find Kickapoo Casino near Mexico.

Is horse racing legal in Texas?

Yes, you can place a bet on horses at any of the race tracks that have the license to operate in Texas.

Can I bet online in Texas?

Yes, you can only bet on off-track horse racing. Daily fantasy sports websites have been banned from offering Texans gaming offers. However, players are still accepted by the sites online.

How many casinos does Texas have?

Texas has only one casino, Kickapoo Casino.

Is Texas getting casinos?

Yes, there is potential for Austin Texas to introduce commercial casinos. According to House Bill 3043, 2019, the State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) has galvanized his colleagues in an attempt to change the law. While still in the preliminary discussions, the state cannot ignore the billions lost to neighboring states that offer casino games.

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