Texas is far from a hotbed for those seeking gambling or casino-based entertainment, but that’s not to say it is a total desert for players seeking the thrill of the gaming floor or the adrenaline buzz of seeing a horse romp home.
Top Gambling Cities in Texas
The three Texas federally recognized Indian tribes have owned and operated properties in Eagle Pass, El Paso, and Livingston. Although it is not exactly a major gambling city in Texas, El Paso is in the far southwest of the state and has a population of around 679,000. This puts it in the top 25 largest cities in the U.S.
Gambling in Texas Overview
The state has a variety of legal forms of gambling, including parimutuel betting on greyhound and horse racing, pull tabs, charitable bingo, and the Texas Lottery. There have also been a trio of Indian Texas casinos in recent years, although these have been surrounded by controversy and legal battles, and at the time of writing, there were only two still operating.
It must be remembered that Texas gambling laws are among the strictest in the U.S., and while many states are looking to relax their gambling laws, the Lone Star State is not moving very fast - if at all - toward these aims. There is unlikely to be a major casino city in Texas any time soon.
The State of Online Gambling in Texas
Texas is very strict when it comes to gambling, and there are no real-money, legal online casino Texas operations.
Players are not allowed to access or gamble on any online casino that offers cash wins. This includes playing slot machines and online poker.
Online gambling Texas rules do allow social gambling, however, but these cannot offer real-money prizes. Players don’t deposit money, and wins are typically prizes or sweepstakes.
Texas Online Casino Games
Online casino games for real money are completely illegal in Texas, and there is even a limited number of brick-and-mortar options. Casino games are restricted to a very small number of tribal casinos and on casino cruises in international waters where gambling laws do not apply.
Texas Online Poker
Online poker is not allowed in Texas, and unlike in other areas, there do not appear to be any plans to change this.
Online betting for real money is not allowed. The only legal online betting choice in the Lone Star State is Daily Fantasy Sports. It is important to note, however, that this is still unregulated and falls into a gray area.
Tribal Gaming in Texas
The state of Texas has been home to three tribal Indian casinos in recent times. These are operated by the three tribes that are federally recognized in the state, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Tigua tribe of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.
The Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in El Paso, run by the Tiguas, and Livingston’s Naskila Gaming venue, owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, have both been subject to extensive litigation, however, with the state claiming that they were illegal. The Speaking Rock closed in 2002 as a result of this.
The Speaking Rock originally opened as a high-stakes bingo venue and went on to offer poker and a game called Tigua 21 (a non-banking type of blackjack) within a year of opening. In 1996, slots were added, but the venue was forced to close six years later.
The Kickapoo venue opened in 1996 to offer its blackjack variant, poker, bingo, and pull-tab machines similar to slots.
Many legal challenges have rocked the tribal casinos in Texas, and at the time of writing, there were two operating: the Naskila Gaming venue and Kickapoo Lucky Eagle. They do not offer traditional table games such as roulette, craps, or blackjack, but they do offer thousands of slot-style games.
Texas Casinos FAQs
What is the legal gambling age in casinos in Texas?
Players must be at least 21 years old to gamble in the state of Texas.
Is sports betting legal in Texas?
An attempt was made to introduce legal sports betting Texas regulations in 2021. This followed the U.S. government lifting its ban more than two years earlier. The bills did not receive enough support, however, and at the time of writing, the legislation process was on hold, meaning there are still no sports betting Texas operations.
Does Texas have a state lottery?
The Texas Lottery started in 1992 and offers drawing and scratch-off games. Drawing games include multi-jurisdiction Powerball and Mega Millions games.
What is the best Texas casino?
The best Texas casino is the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, one of the only places where you can find something akin to casinos in Texas with slot machines. This originally opened in modular buildings in 1996 but was moved to a new 100,000-square-foot venue in 2004.
What is the most popular casino in Texas?
The longest-standing casino in Texas is the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel, which has a 249-room hotel that opened in 2013 and more than 3,300 electronic gaming machines.
Can you bet on greyhound and horse racing in Texas?
Yes. Despite, its tough gambling laws, parimutuel betting on horse racing and greyhound racing is allowed in the Lone Star State.
Is online gambling legal in Texas?
Real money online casino Texas gambling is not allowed in Texas