is a domino tournament gambling?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2009

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is a domino tournament gambling?

I have a small promotion/entertainment business in Texas, i want to host a domino tournament where participants pay an entry fee and there is a cash prize- is this legal? could it be considered illegal gambling?

Asked on June 30, 2009 under Business Law, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Gambling laws are long and can be complicated when it comes to interpretation. I am not admitted in Texas but have located a website that spells out what is considered gambling; see  or    

In Texas law, a bet is defined as "an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance" with a few exceptions. Specifically the law makes it clear that betting on the outcomes of sports events or any other game or contest, betting on on the results of elections, and "betting on any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device" is gambling and covered by the law.  Like poker, for example.  However,  if there is no entry fee or any other way to lose money by entering are not considered gambling, and are therefore legal, since you have no way to lose something of value.

Texas law is designed to allow "social gambling". From the law, it is legal to gamble if:

(1) the actor engaged in gambling in a private place;


(2) no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and

(3) except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.

 As for a domino tournament and the purpose of the tournament, you should seek the advise of an attorney in Texas.  Maybe you fall under an exception.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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