Are Texans allowed to gamble? In this article, we took a closer look into Texas gambling laws. Read our short guide and find out more about the restrictions this state imposes over gambling.
Is Gambling Legal in Texas? Texas Gambling Law Guide
Texas is one of the US states which mostly restricts gambling. The best way to describe the state’s attitude towards gambling is to quote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He said, addressing the Texas Lottery Commission, that he vigorously supported the current restrictions of the state against gambling.
However, we can’t really say that Texas law enforcement is the strictest in the country. The truth is that the Texas government allows some forms of gambling but under specific conditions. Due to the legal pressure and some laws being written unclearly, Texas has a number of institutions operating in the gray zone. Some attempts were made among authorities to loosen up the legislative, and their main argument was that this could bring economic benefits for the state’s budget.
However, the state of Texas understands gambling as an activity based partially or entirely on chance, in which a person agrees to win or lose something of value. If you take a closer look into Texas legislation, you will see that following forms of gambling are allowed:
- state lottery
- parimutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing
- bingo games and pull-tabs, but only in charitable purposes
- private gambling (gambling which doesn’t need an institution and is conducted only as means of personal entertainment)
Parimutuel (from pari-mutuel, a French term for “mutual wagering”) stands for a betting system which enables winners’ payouts by collecting only the unsuccessful wagers. This is considered to be a system which is somewhat fair, so the state allowed this type of betting, as well as betting on horse and greyhound racing.
On the other hand, Bingo and its instant version pull-tabs are acceptable in Texas only if organized as bona fide contests, meaning that the organizers don’t profit from them. Also, the law restricts these contests to 3 per week and limits the prize amount to $750 per game.
In addition, the law allows raffles twice a year, but only in charitable purposes too. The prizes may not be in cash, and their worth must not exceed $50,000 unless donated to an organization.
Additionally, the state of Texas forbids casinos, unless they stand on federally recognized Native American lands. Therefore, there are several such casinos in Texas. Some of them are regularly equipped with slot machines and other common gambling devices. However, there’s also a sort of poker room in Houston, but this facility runs in the gray zone.
To sum up, Texans don’t necessarily need to leave the state and travel to Nevada to gamble, but the offer is scarce, and the laws are not friendly towards players. However, there’s an initiative to change this, so we might witness some legal reliefs in the future.