Because Texas laws on gambling are complex, determining whether or not a particular poker game is being conducted legally can prove challenging. Below you will find references to areas of Texas and federal law related to gambling and poker. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, please see the "Recent News" resources for a more "plain English" discussion of these laws.
Since gaming rooms can also be regulated at the local level by Texas cities and counties, be sure to also check your local ordinances for additional laws related to this topic. Some larger Texas cities and counties post their local ordinances online, while others will only have theirs available in print. Check out our Municipal Ordinances page for help locating city ordinances online or contact your local officials for more information.
Private poker clubs have been popping up recently all over Texas and their legality is currently under debate. Owners of these clubs claim they are operating in accordance with Texas' gambling laws by only charging membership fees and dues rather than taking a percentage of the pot. Critics claim they are merely exploiting a loophole in the law.
According to the Texas Attorney General's website, "unlike raffles and bingo, there is NO exception to the gambling law in Texas for nonprofits to hold poker or casino night fundraising events." Check out the link below for more details.
Below are some Attorney General opinions that have been issued to address certain situations involving poker tournaments, "poker runs" and online gambling. While attorney general opinions can be highly persuasive and are entitled to great weight, the ultimate determination of a law's applicability, meaning or constitutionality is left to the courts.