Texas Attorney General Opinion: LO94-051 Page: 1 of 3
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Office of the Attornep generall
Atate of Texas
DAN MORALES June 9, 1994
Honorable Ken Armbrister Letter Opinion No. 94-051
Committee on Intergovernmental Relations Re: Whether wagering on the outcome
Texas State Senate of sporting events constitutes illegal
P.O. Box 12068 gambling under section 47.02 of the Penal
Austin, Texas 78711 Code (ID# 25193)
Dear Senator Armbrister:
You ask whether a certain kind of contest would be in violation of the proscription
on gambling in section 47.02 of the Penal Code or constitute a "lottery" under section
47.01(6). The contest in question you say
requires an entry fee and will pay prizes to the winners among the
actual contestants and... is based on forecasting the outcome of a
substantial number of sporting events (approximately 150) using the
skills necessary to analyze relevant data, including, but not limited to,
point differentials as published in newspapers of general circulation,
weather conditions, injuries, or other factos ....
Subsection (a) of section 47.02, "Gambling," provides:
A person commits an offense if he:
(1) makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or
contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest;
(2) makes a bet on the result of any political nomination,
appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee,
appointee, or candidate.
The word "bet" as used in section 47.02 is defined in section 47.01(1) as "an
agreement.. . to win or lose something of value" solely or partially by chance.
Specifically excluded from the definition of "bet" are certain indemnity, guaranty, or
insurance contracts, and "offers of merchandise" in "carnival" contests--but as the facts
you present do not appear to raise any of these exceptions we will assume they do not
apply in the case of the contest you are asking about. See Penal Code 47.01(1)(A), (C),
tSimilarly, as your request does not raise the possible applicability of any statutory defenses to
prosecution for gambling, we assume for purposes of this opinion that none of those defenses is relevant
here. See, e.g., Penal Code 47.02(c); (making it a defense to prosecution that activities were permitted
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: LO94-051, text, June 9, 1994; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth276440/m1/1/: accessed September 21, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.