(Population 26,448,193 as of 2013)
Texas has a rich history in the poker world. The games most popular variant – no-limit Texas hold’em – bears its name, while many of the game's forefathers hailed from the Lone Star State. Unfortunately the poker world’s empathy with the state hasn’t exactly been reciprocated.
The only casino within Texas is Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, and it's complimented by plenty of underground games. However, there's been some hope of expansion in recent years including a push by the Texas racing industry pushing for casino gaming. Likewise, in 2013 a few bills were introduced seeking both regulated poker at licensed facilities and online.
State of Texas Ballot Measure SJR No. 43, alongside State Bill No. 1103, both by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, looked to offer a "constitutional amendment to authorize online poker gaming regulated under federal law." Meanwhile, House Bill No. 292, which was introduced in Dec. 2012, provided for “regulated poker gaming” at licensed gambling facilities, and House Bill No. 2098, which was filed on Feb. 28, 2013 by Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), sought to legalize “social poker gaming,” which would have allowed certain licensed establishments to offer poker to “registered players” while profiting without collecting a rake. Unfortunately none of those bills passed.
There is an iGaming discussion being had in Texas, but there are heavyweights on both sides. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is well known for advocating federal online poker legislation, though his strong push in 2013 was followed by little movement in 2014. On the flip side, earlier this year Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was one of 16 attorney generals to sign a letter opposing the DOJ’s interpretation.
With more than 26 million people within its borders, Texas is a big player in the iGaming realm. It’s hard to say whether or not iGaming will take root, but if it does, it won’t be for awhile. It’ll likely take some other states, like California, to legalize and regulate before Texas revisits the issue.