Sports Betting - Web Blog Sports Betting in Texas
Know what a sportsbook is? Know that they’re illegal in Texas? How long will you have to wait to legally use your FanDuel App?
I’m Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and you’re about to find out.
Surprisingly, Texas is one of the least friendly gambling states in the country. The 2021 Texas Legislative session had hope of changing that … but it didn’t happen.
Sportsbetting is when you place a bet on the outcome of a sporting activity or event. A sportsbook is where all the bets, betters, debts, and payouts are kept track of. With the help of technology, sportsbooks are now digitally accessible.
The top two things you need to know:
1. Sports bets are still illegal – in fact, it’s not only illegal, it’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL – as is betting on cards or dice.
2. Texas needs to amend its constitution to make sports betting legal – which is a decision for the legislature – so you’ll have to wait until 2023, when the legislative session meets again.
The Texas Law vs. Sports Betting
We thought this year was the year! House Joint Resolution 133 would have created the Texas Gaming Commission and allowed 4 large casinos to be built as “destination resorts” in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
The biggest sports teams in Texas – like the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars all support sports betting… but the bill died in committee.
Why are Texas lawmakers so against gambling?
Well, they don’t hate all gambling. You can play the lotto, which is, of course, controlled tightly by the state government. Horse or dog racing are legal, too. Plus, charitable bingo, but the good stuff? Nah. Texas hates fun, and revenue, apparently.
Traditional and Online Sports Bets
Are Texans able to place online bets?
No, at least not legally. Like I said, it’s illegal under Texas law. Your phone or computer knows where you are. Don’t use offshore sites – the security is trash – and you’re likely to get your money or identity stolen, among other things.
You should also know that it’s against federal law for someone to make a bet online from a state where betting is illegal. Luckily for us, tribal lands allow casinos, and we’re right next to New Mexico, where sports betting is legal.
What if you place an illegal bet?
It’s a Class C misdemeanor every time you participate, and it’s a Class A misdemeanor if you promote.
How do online sites prevent illegal betting?
They know your location. The last thing a legitimate sportsbook wants to do is get shut down for illegal betting … that’s just bad business. FanDuel, for example, works with geolocation technology. You need to have your location enabled so that it knows where you are and knows when you are in a state that allows gambling!
Are fantasy sports legal?
That question is still murky. Our Attorney General says NO. Arguments can be made on either side. But both DraftKings and FanDuel allow daily fantasy sports in Texas. As of posting this, I’m unaware of anyone actually prosecuted for fantasy sports in Texas.
So, my friends, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me at email@example.com.