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Texas Responsible Gambling

This page contains information about responsible gambling in Texas, including what resources are available and how you can participate in a safe manner.

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You might think because of Texas’ strict laws restricting betting activities that gambling addiction is not a serious problem, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As the state weighs whether to expand gambling statewide, especially on the issue of sports betting, 600,000 Texans (or more) could be at risk of developing a gambling addiction according to estimates from the National Council on Problem Gambling.

In advance of any potential expansion, we’ve prepared this piece to inform you of ways to practice responsible gambling. This way, you can be ready to make any future wagers in a safe manner and help combat compulsive gambling.

Responsible gambling overview

Responsible gambling takes on many forms, and the practice thereof requires a commitment from bettors, gambling operators, and regulatory agencies to ensure betting can be conducted in a fair and safe manner. Gambling in Texas should be an enjoyable experience for all parties involved, but the competitive and at times high-stakes nature of betting can lead to a multitude of problems if players or operators are negligent.

At an individual level, responsible gambling entails setting limits on the money and time spent at betting facilities, whether online or brick-and-mortar in nature. Additionally, players should know themselves well enough to be able to walk away and take a break to keep their emotions in check while betting; it is always better to leave a betting environment than to continue playing at emotional extremes.

Gambling operators can practice responsible gambling by setting reasonable wagering requirements (including deposit limits and wager maximums), engaging in ethical marketing practices (such as not marketing to underage would-be users and vulnerable individuals), and training employees to abide by gaming regulations and keep betting environments safe.

Texas problem gambling resources

Texas’ problem gambling resources are rather sparse, though this is partially because of how limited gambling operations are in the state. There are three tribal casinos in operation as well as a state lottery, but no sports betting or Texas online casinos up and running (all are prohibited under TX law).

As such, the state has delegated many responsible gambling practices to gaming operators and national services. There is no centralized gambling self-exclusion list in the state; instead, individual casinos are tasked with creating and maintaining these lists and encouraging at-risk individuals to enroll in the program.

The most direct local option is UT's Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC), which can provide direct support and connect gambling addicts and at-risk individuals with mental health professionals. Call 512-471-3515 for information on setting up an appointment with a counselor, or in an emergency, contact the CMHC Crisis Line at 512-471-CALL for a telephone counselor.

Other problem gambling resources include the Houston-based Sterling Center for Problem Gambling (281-907-9551), the Texas Lottery Play Responsibly program, and Gamblers Anonymous (which holds meetings in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, along with other areas around the state).

Nationwide problem gambling resources

Because Texas’ resources are still somewhat limited, a nationwide problem gambling resource might be an easier and more convenient route. Here are some of the most utilized sources for help combatting a gambling addiction or problematic gambling behaviors.

  • National Problem Gambling Helpline: Call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537), text 800GAM, or chat at 1800GamblerChat.org
  • National Council on Problem Gambling: 24-hour Confidential National
  • Helpline: 1-800-522-4700, [email protected]
  • Gam-Anon: Phone: 718-352-1671, gam-anon.org
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-622-HELP, https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help

Tips for gambling responsibly

Personal accountability in advance is an important first step to establishing a safe betting environment. Here are some tips to ensure you’re gambling responsibly:

  • Only use licensed, legitimate operators: This step applies a bit more for online platforms instead of in-person gambling facilities, but you should still be on the lookout for insignia reflecting the Texas Office of the Attorney General (either the office directly or another regulatory body). Typically, online operators will display this on a page marked “Legal Information” while retail betting venues will make this information highly visible upon entering the building.
  • Set budgets for time and money and stick to them: You’ve probably heard the gambling mantra “Never bet more than you can afford to lose.” But what if we told you this applies to your time and not just your money? Limiting the amount of time you spend at a casino, sportsbook, or online gambling platform will keep you from betting more than you attended, as well as help you avoid “gambling fatigue.”
  • Communicate with someone you trust about your gambling habits: Having someone to help keep you accountable will develop responsible gambling practices. In addition to making sure you are sticking within your means, this individual can help watch for the warning signs of gambling addiction and intervene if concerning behavior patterns arise.

Problem gambling warning signs

It may not always be easy to tell if you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction or compulsion, but if you’re aware of some of the associated behaviors, you can help to prevent a potential problem from escalating. Here are some of the warning signs of problem gambling to be on the lookout for.

  • Regularly asking to borrow money to make wagers and pay off gambling debts
  • Lying about the size of wagers, wins, or losses
  • Feeling the need to increase the amount wagered to get a “rush” when making bets
  • Wagering more money than intended
  • Spending more time gambling than intended
  • Being unable to set limits and keep to those limits
  • Irritability, moodiness, and lack of focus in non-gambling activities
  • Poor performance at work/school
  • Frequently tying conversation topics back to gambling
  • Shirking responsibilities to gamble
  • Chasing losses (trying to win back the amount of all losing bets with a single wager)

Responsible gaming best practices for gambling operators

While individuals are the first line of defense in combating compulsive gambling, betting facilities and their employees have an important role to play as well. Here are some of the best practices for gambling operators to reinforce responsible gaming practices.

  • Make it easy to set limits: Setting limits on both the amount of time and money a player can spend at a facility, on a website, or on a mobile app is a key way to prevent problem gambling because it can be easy to lose track of how much of each is being spent. Daily, weekly, and monthly deposit limits are important, as are cooldown periods to give players a break.
  • Maintain a self-exclusion list: Few tools are more effective in combating problematic gambling behaviors than a self-exclusion list.
  • Provide responsible gambling resources


Responsible gambling is a team effort, and the more open the conversation is about the dangers of gambling addiction, the more well-prepared bettors and operators can be in combating compulsions. Knowing the warning signs, setting reasonable limits and expectations, and utilizing resources at your disposal will help make your gambling experience safe and enjoyable.