Gambling Promotion: Texas Penal Code §47.03

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Gambling Promotion law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you operated any of a variety of different gambling operations

Despite a nationwide loosening of gambling laws and growing acceptance of sportsbetting, gambling activities remain illegal in Texas. In 2023, there was a push for legalization but the effort ended up falling flat.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 47.03. The law was not updated in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 1993. Learn more about other gambling laws here.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Gambling Promotion law under Title 10 “Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, And Morals,” Chapter 47 “Gambling.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Gambling Promotion below.

What is the current Texas law about Gambling Promotion?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Gambling Promotion in Penal Code Section §47.03 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly does any of the following acts:

(1) operates or participates in the earnings of a gambling place;

(2) engages in bookmaking;

(3) for gain, becomes a custodian of anything of value bet or offered to be bet;

(4) sells chances on the partial or final result of or on the margin of victory in any game or contest or on the performance of any participant in any game or contest or on the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or

(5) for gain, sets up or promotes any lottery or sells or offers to sell or knowingly possesses for transfer, or transfers any card, stub, ticket, check, or other device designed to serve as evidence of participation in any lottery.

What are the other gambling laws?

The Gambling Promotion law is only one of the crimes related to gambling in Texas.

Other criminal offenses in Texas related to gambling include:

How can I be charged with a Gambling Promotion offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Gambling Promotion in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 47.03(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Gambling Promotion in Texas?

As a misdemeanor, Gambling Promotion charges have a two-year limitations period.[2]

What is the penalty for a Texas Gambling Promotion offense?

A conviction for Gambling Promotion in Texas is punished as a Class A misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Gambling Promotion in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Gambling Promotion, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[4]

Note, however, that judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[5]

What level of crime is Gambling Promotion in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies Gambling Promotion as a Class A misdemeanor.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.

^1. Texas Penal Code §47.03. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^3. Texas Penal Code §47.03(b)^4. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^5. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

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