Texas Casino Guide
Texas was the 28th state to join the United States and has earned a reputation for being one of the most business-friendly states in the country.
Yet, to this day, Texas remains the state least likely to legalize online gambling in the US.
Currently, online gambling is illegal in The Lone Star state. Brick and mortar casinos built in the state are also deemed to be illegal.
However, there are still a few ways you can gamble legally in the state:
- Indian Casinos
- Boat Cruise Casinos
- Horse and Dog Tracks
Online Casinos in Texas
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like online casinos will ever be legalized in Texas. The government is very opposed to the idea and dismisses any attempts at trying to regulate it.
That being said, there are still options for those who want to play casino games for real money! Texas allows sweepstakes which means you can play slots online and potentially win cash.
You can also participate in legal online poker games through sweepstakes sites or Daily Fantasy Sports leagues. The state tends to move quite slow when it comes to gambling laws, land and online, so we don't expect much out of Texas.
Land-Based Casinos in Texas
There are two Indian casinos and one casino boat in Texas.
Both Indian casinos offer class II gaming machines based on bingo. Class II video gaming devices in Texas casinos look like slot machines but are actually bingo games and the spinning reels are for “entertainment purposes only.”
No public information is available concerning the payback percentages on any gaming machines in Texas casinos. Unlike the casinos in Texas, in many states, the slot machine payback statistics for that particular state’s casinos are released as a matter of public record. Just click here to see a list of slot machine payback statistics for all U.S. casinos.
If you are looking for Texas casinos near Houston this is your best bet. While Houston has no casinos, Jacks or Better Casino is only about an hour away.
Types of Casinos in Texas
Currently, there are only 2 land-based casinos in operation in the state of Texas. Both of these are owned, operated, and built on Native American territories. There is also one casino cruise ship, and horse tracks which accept parimutuel betting.
Under federal law, all Native American territories are considered to be independent and operate under their own jurisdiction.
However, ever since the 'Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act' came into play in 1988, the government of Texas has been trying to change this. A campaign was launched within the court system to shut down all forms of gambling, specific to those on Native American soil within the state.
The state of Texas argues that the 'Federal Restoration Act' of 1987, which officially recognized the Tigua and Alabama - Coushatta tribes, should take legal priority. Why? Because this bill explicitly prohibits gambling.
One of the Indian casinos in Texas, Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, offers pull-tab machines, bingo, and poker. That casino is the larger of the two casinos in Texas. It has a hotel, five restaurants, and a casino with 3,300 gaming machines.
The other casino, Naskila Gaming, does not have a hotel. It has one cafe and more than 800 gaming machines.
Both of these casinos are open 24 hours daily.
Casino Cruise Ship
The casino boat, Jacks or Better Casino, is based in Galveston. The boat sails nine miles out into the Gulf of Mexico where casino gambling is permitted.
The casino boat offers blackjack, craps, roulette, three card poker, a sportsbook, slots, and video poker. You must provide a photo ID or you won’t be allowed to board.
Surprisingly, Texas does allow residents to wager at horse and dog tracks in the state.
The horse tracks are broken down into Classes:
Class 1 horse tracks:
- Lone Star Park - Grand Prairie
- Retama Park - Selma
- Sam Houston Race Park - Houston
These tracks are allowed to host races as many times as they would like.
Class 2 horse tracks have yet to be built in Texas. Multiple tracks are in the works, and once open, will be permitted to host up to 60 race days a year.
Class 3 horse tracks:
- Gillespie County Fair - Fredericksburg
Currently, this is the only Class 3 horse track that operates in Texas. The Texas Racing Commission allows Class 3 tracks to host up to 16 race days a year.
There are no Class 4 horse tracks in Texas.
Texas has three greyhound tracks, as permitted by the Texas Racing Commission. Dog racing isn't nearly as popular as horse racing in the state, but still offers residents the chance to watch races live or virtually. The most popular greyhound track is the Gulf Greyhound Park, located in La Marque.
Texas residents can also visit the following greyhound tracks:
- Valley Race Park - Harlingen
- Gulf Coast Racing - Corpus Christi
List of Land-Based Casinos In Texas
Shown below is a list of all casinos in Texas. Click on a casino name below to see a page of detailed information about all Texas casinos.
Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel
- 794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852
- 1 830-773-2255
- Games: 3,000 slots and 1 poker room
- 540 State Park Rd 56, Livingston, TX 77351
- 1 936-563-2946
- Games: 800 slots
Texas Land-Based Casinos Map
You can easily see all casino locations by using our Texas casinos map. To zoom in, just click the + (plus) sign in the lower right corner of the map, or to zoom out, just click the – (minus) sign in the same area.
To move the map of casinos in Texas, click and hold down either of your mouse buttons. Then use the hand icon to drag the map in whichever direction you desire.
Each of the red icons on the map is a casino location. Just click on any red icon to see the name of the casino at that location. If you want more information on that casino, simply click again on the casino’s name and it will direct you to another page with detailed information on that particular casino, including address, phone number, toll-free phone number, room rates, casino size, dining information, games offered, availability of discounts for seniors, any special features, and a direct link to that casino’s website.
History of Gambling in Texas
Gambling has been in Texas since it was founded, and while it has always been illegal, was still considered an accepted form of entertainment in Texas. It was so popular that even the children were allowed to participate with adults!
Gambling halls and saloons were built before churches within the new settlements. As the years progressed, this pastime became more organized and gambling establishments were being opened in cities across the state.
In the 1920s, multiple organized crime groups took control of the under-world gambling industry in Texas. Their clubs were some of the most elegant in the nation and attracted a lot of celebrities from all across the country.
The most famous crime bosses who ran their operations out of Texas include:
- Sam and Rosario Maceo - Galveston
- Benny Binion, Carlo Piranio and Joseph Piranio - Dallas
- Fat Jack Helfman - Houston
Famous gambler Jackie Freedman ran his exclusive club 'Domain Privee' out of his mansion. He is, apparently, the guy to have saved Houston's oldest financial company, The First National Bank, by not withdrawing his money during the Great Depression.
Come the 1940s, things began to change in Texas. Local officials started cracking down on illegal gambling. This forced a lot of the clubs to close and instead, picked up and moved their operations to Las Vegas.
By 1957, all gambling operations were shut down in the state of Texas.
The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
30 years later, in 1988, the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was legislated. This was followed by legalizing lottery sales, and the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act (CREA) being created in the 90s.
The CREA approves qualified organizations to hold up to 2 raffles per year.
Texas Gambling Laws and Regulatory Organizations
Many people ask, "are casinos legal in Texas?" The short answer is yes. However, there are some details that must be included. They are only allowed if they are located on a boat and sail out to international waters or if they are located on a federally recognized Indian reservation. but even then, there is still some room for dispute.
The state is in a legal fight to try and shut down one of the two Texas casinos, Naskila Gaming, but it has not been successful and the casino is still open. However, be sure to call the casino ahead of time if planning a trip there.
The minimum age for gambling on a casino boat is 18. The minimum gambling age for Indian Casinos is 21.
The following organizations have been set up to monitor and regulate gambling in Texas:
- The Charitable Raffle Enabling Act
- Texas Lottery Commission
- Texas State Law Library
- Texas Racing Commission
The Charitable Raffle Enabling Act
The CREA monitors all raffles in the state. All proceeds from these raffles are to benefit only charity organizations, which the CREA defines as:
- A religious group that has been practicing for at least 10 years
- Qualified volunteer fire departments that do not pay more than normal compensation
- Qualified volunteer emergency medical services that do not pay more than nominal compensation
- Qualified non-profit organizations that have been operating for at least 3 years and do not pay taxes
Texas Lottery Commission
Regulates all types of lotteries within the state.
Texas State Law Library
The Texas State Law Library is a website that provides information on gambling laws in Texas.
Texas Racing Commission
The Texas Racing Commission regulates, enforces, and issues all licenses for track racing.
Gambling In Texas Today
As of today, Texas still has a government very opposed to most forms of gambling. However, residents still have a few options like going to the horse track or an Indian casino.
There have been a few efforts to discuss legalizing sports betting over the past few years, but nothing has ever come from it.
Did you know?
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For more information on visiting Texas casinos or general tourism information, call (800) 888-8TEX or go to www.traveltex.com.