Online Sports Betting Legalization in Texas – Past, Present, and Future Prospects


In the vast landscape of American sports betting, Texas has long been considered a potential goldmine. However, the journey towards online sports betting legalization has been a rollercoaster, marked by past efforts, ongoing debates, and uncertain future prospects.

Past Efforts:

Historically, Texas has been cautious about embracing sports betting. Despite the state’s passion for all types of sports, and particularly college sports, conservative values, and a significant sports culture, legislative initiatives faced numerous hurdles. The push for legalization gained notable momentum in the early 2010s when other states began reaping the financial benefits of legal sports wagering.

In 2019, a landmark moment arrived when the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 1275, a piece of legislation that aimed to legalize sports betting in the state. The bill, however, faced resistance in the Senate and failed to progress, leaving the door open for further debates and negotiations.


The 2019 effort highlighted the growing awareness among Texas lawmakers about the potential economic windfall that legal sports betting could bring. Proponents argued that regulated sports betting could generate significant revenue, create jobs, and provide a safer environment for sports enthusiasts already engaging in illicit gambling.

Current Efforts:

As of the most recent developments, online sports betting in Texas remains a pipe dream for now. The 2021 legislative session saw renewed efforts with multiple bills introduced to address the issue. House Joint Resolution 133, for instance, proposed a constitutional amendment allowing Texans to vote on legalizing sports betting.

The Texas Senate also entered the fray with Senate Bill 736, which sought to authorize sports betting activities and establish a regulatory framework. The proposed legislation emphasized a careful approach, outlining provisions for licensing operators and addressing concerns related to consumer protection and responsible gambling.


However, the progress in 2021 mirrored the past, as the legislative session concluded without a definitive decision on the future of sports betting in Texas. The complex dynamics of state politics, divergent opinions on gambling, and competing interests have continued to complicate the path to legalization.

What the Future Holds:

The future of sports betting in Texas remains uncertain but teeming with potential. Several factors will likely influence the trajectory of legalization efforts in the Lone Star State.

Economic Considerations:

Texas, home to major sports franchises and a passionate sports culture, stands to gain substantially from legal sports betting. The economic potential, especially in terms of tax revenue, could incentivize lawmakers to revisit and push for legalization in subsequent sessions. The success stories of other states that embraced sports betting may serve as compelling examples.

Shifting Public Opinion:

Public sentiment toward sports betting has evolved, with a growing acceptance of gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment. As societal attitudes change, policymakers may find themselves under increased pressure to align with the preferences of their constituents and explore opportunities for legal sports wagering.

Impact of Tribal Interests:

Tribal gaming interests play a pivotal role in the Texas sports betting landscape. Collaborative efforts between state legislators and tribal entities could lead to a mutually beneficial framework for sports betting. Negotiations on revenue sharing, regulatory authority, and the scope of operations will likely shape the landscape in the coming years.

Legislative Sessions:

The rhythm of legislative sessions will undoubtedly influence the future of sports betting in Texas. Each session provides a fresh opportunity for lawmakers to revisit the issue, refine proposed bills, and build consensus. The timing of these sessions and the political climate will play crucial roles in determining the progress of sports betting legislation.