Although we often associate Texas with gambling and games like Texas Hold ‘Em poker, the Lone Star State has strict laws about gambling which can land you in trouble with the law if you gamble.
The gambling laws are fairly strict and you can’t take part in any kind of gambling apart from betting on horse racing and greyhound dog racing.
That’s not to say you will get in trouble with the law for playing office bingo. However, you have to be careful about taking part in any kind of organized gambling in Texas.
The definition of a bet in Texas is agreeing to win or lose something of value based entirely or partially on chance. This includes table games, card games, betting on sports games, dog and horse races, the lottery, slot machines, and scratch tickets.
Gambling is defined under Section 47 of the Texas Penal Code. Here are some of the types of gambling that are permitted and those that are banned.
Horse Racing and Off-Track Betting – Legal if licensed. Simulcast races are also legal.
Dog Racing and Off-Track Betting – There is a limit of three racetrack licenses for greyhound racing
Casinos – This kind of gambling is illegal in Texas.
Many other types of gambling are also banned in Texas. There are offenses for keeping a place of gambling, promoting gambling; communicating gambling information and possession of gambling devices. However, some social gambling activities such as raffles sponsored by a non-profit are legal.
Busts of alleged gambling activities in Texas often make headlines. In August, police said they busted a gambling and organized crime ring in Harris County.
It was described as a multi-million dollar operation by District Attorney Devon Anderson. A report on ABC News stated guns, ammunition and money were seized during the raid on a south Houston bingo hall and five gaming rooms. The operation at Paradise Bingo Hall on College led to the arrest of a dozen people. Police said the gambling activities allegedly made $15 million since January 2012.
Investigators said they believed the guns were financed with money made in illicit gambling activities.