Gambling in and of itself can be compared to a number of concepts, in and of which it is extremely profitable, yet can be a sensitive legal subject. For example, in Canada gambling had been completely outlawed up until the 1970s, when it became a strong economic pillar for a number of its provinces, whilst Florida is currently seeing a heavy legal limbo due to a number of lawsuits, which has increased demand for gambling, due to it being one of the most sought after places for vacations by tourists.
Laws will be different based on where one gambles, which is something any prospective bettor or gambler will need to keep in mind if they want to try their hand at winning big.
The state of Texas is no different. Numerous laws and regulations related to gambling within the Lone Star state, which anyone looking to gamble or bet must adhere to in order to stay within the legal confines of the law.
Within this article, these laws will be outlined, to give you, the reader, a good idea of how to bet and gamble legally, taking a look at which forms of gambling are legal, which are not, and how you can legally hit the jackpot without having to worry about legal repercussions.
1. The Legislative Process and Constitutional Hurdles Surrounding Gambling and Sports Betting Within Texas
Of the fifty states in the U.S, Texas has been one of the most well-known to take a more conservative standing in regards to legislation surrounding sports betting and gambling.
From 2019 till today, there has been a legal struggle to introduce sports betting and gambling into the state of Texas, starting when Texas State Representative Eduardo Lucio Jr. introduced a bill to legalize gambling within the state.
This bill has been supported by a number of politicians, such as Beto O’Rourke, who outlines the economic benefits as well the bill’s potential to combat inflation, and prominent sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach.
However, the issue was tabled until at least 2024 when lawmakers extinguished any effort by gaming companies to combat this bill. As of today, this bill is currently on hold and the future of gambling in Texas is uncertain at best (Source: https://www.basketballinsiders.com/tx/).
2. The Legality of Gambling and Sports betting in Texas
Simply put, according to Texas Penal Code 47.02 on gambling, most forms of gambling are illegal, yet there do exist certain defenses against criminal prosecution, such as if bets were placed privately and no person received any winnings apart from personal economic benefits and the risks of winning and losing were the same for all participants.
Excuses within criminal prosecution are also made for those who gamble or perform any sort of betting if they believed that their conduct was reasonably permitted under chapters 2001, 2002, and 2004 of the Texas occupations code, which focuses on Bingo and Raffles, in a charitable context.
3. Not all hope is lost! How one can still gamble and bet in Texas?
Lotteries, Bingos, and Raffles
When it comes to legal methods of gambling within Texas, there are still a few: As aforementioned, raffles, lotteries, and bingos are still completely legal for the public to enjoy.
Pari Mutuel Wagering on Horse Races
However, if one is interested in something a little more fast-paced with higher stakes, they can easily delve into the realm of pari-mutuel wagering, in which they can bet on horse races.
Casinos are also a good option for one to visit, of which there are three, each one is under a different native American tribe, with the Kickapoo tribe owning the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, the Tigua Tribe which owns the speaking rock Entertainment Centre in El Paso and the Alabama-Coushatta tribe owning Naskila gaming. Despite their legality under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1980 (IGRA), the latter two have faced heavy litigation in the past.
One of the most peculiar yet ingenious methods in which gambling can be done in Texas is to not have it done in Texas at all. Casino Cruises are essentially known as “Cruises to nowhere”, where one can gamble to their heart’s desire without having to worry about gambling laws in Texas.
Of course, the aspect of Offshore betting is not unheard of, and if one would like to partake in sports betting, then Offshore betting is the perfectly legal way for one to bet on sports or even online casinos. These are usually highly regulated by the appropriate authorities and are completely legal due to them not being registered in Texas.
While gambling is currently illegal, and the legislative process surrounding gambling is currently at standstill, with its development downright halted until 2024, it can be said that between gambling cruises, offshore betting, and Indian casinos, one can still find ways in which to gamble in a legal manner rather than breaking the law.