The Lone Star State claims to be a tough sheriff when it comes to gambling. There is no casino gambling permitted, except on tribal lands.
The only legal forms of gambling in Texas in 2019 are a state lottery, betting on horse and dog racing, “social gambling” (such as office pools), bingo, and charitable raffles.
But the state also has numerous underground “casinos” offering electronic games similar to shot machines, and poker rooms also operate in a gray area of the law.
Texas is home to three major horse racetracks: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, which offers thoroughbred racing; and Retama Park in Selma and Sam Houston Park in Houston, both of which offer and thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. All also acts as simulcasting outlets when they aren’t conducting live racing.
In 2019, Texas still has one fair racing meet – the Gillespie County Fair – offering thoroughbred and quarter horse racing.
Texas also is one of the few states still conducting greyhound dog racing. Under a complex agreement with the Texas Racing Commission, three dog tracks – Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque; Gulf Coast Racing in Corpus Christi; and Valley Race Park in Harlingen — continue to hold races on a rotating annual basis in order to maintain their licenses as simulcasting hubs for both dog and horse races.
While Texas allows simulcasting at sites offering live racing, it has not expanded the practice to off-track betting sites. The Texas Racing Act of 1986 also took the unusual step of mandating that “wagering may be conducted only by an association within its enclosures.” That wording has so far prevented the state from offering advance deposit wagering, which would enable residents to bet on horse and dog races via the telephone or internet.
As a result, none of the ADW providers licensed to provide the service in other states currently cater to Texans. Their only option if they wish to bet on a horse online is with unlicensed offshore operators who operate in defiance of state law.