Although California rivals New York as being the sports capital of the United States, it is unfortunately still illegal to bet on sports in the state. For this reason, instead of offering you advice on what the best California sports betting sites are, we’ve provided a rundown on what the current laws around gambling options in California.
We’ve also looked into whether or not the movement towards sports betting legalization is gaining traction in the state, and how the future might look for legal sports betting market in California. Of course, some players choose to access out-of-state or off-shore bookmakers, but we recommend against this due as player protection isn’t guaranteed by bookmakers without a license.
Current California Sports Betting Situation
While California has yet to legalize sports betting, there are major moves underway that seem to guarantee that the odds are a sports bet will be a reality in the future. Currently, Native American casino operators are collecting signatures to put the question of sports betting on the ballot for voters to decide on the matter. However, with tribal groups hoping to gain exclusivity to offering a sportsbook, many Californian commercial card room operators have been opposing this course of action.
When it comes down to it, the issue doesn’t seem to be around whether CA sports betting sites are wanted, but who will profit from them when betting is legalized. In either event, once enough signatures are received by either party to legalize sports betting, the issue will be put to a ballot for Californians to decide. In the past, Californians have approved gambling expansion three times, so we have good reason to believe that sports betting will be enthusiastically approved too.
For this reason, there are no California sports betting sites. However, the state doesn’t block or punish residents from using off-shore bookmakers, and there are no explicit laws against this. Regardless, the lack of licensing in the state means that players may be on their own if a problem arises which is certainly not a risk you want to take when there’s money involved.
Are California Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Available
Odds are you know of DFS. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is not legal in California, but they’re also not technically illegal too. That is to say, no laws have been made that address if it constitutes illegal gambling. For this reason, DFS operators are free to offer Californians games without fear of breaking the law, with the government being the only player to lose out due to no taxes being applied to revenues.
California represents the largest and most active group of daily fantasy sports bettors in the country, with roughly 10% of all DFS players coming from California. It is estimated that around $20 million is generated from Californians a year too by DFS operators. The most popular operators are DraftKings and FanDuel, two companies that started by offering DFS only but have since grown to hugely popular online sportsbooks. We think either would make for a great CA sports betting app if it comes down to it.
To play DFS, players must draft a fantasy lineup of different players from a sports league, which includes everything from the NBA to the NFL. Rounds last every week, with players scoring points based on the real-life performance of players. Due to there being more skill involved in winning these contests, many states distinguish DFS from sports betting as there is less chance or guesswork involved.
California Online Casinos
It is illegal to bet at online casinos in California, meaning there are no California online gambling or poker sites. However, players can enjoy free play social games of online casino games like blackjack or video poker. In addition to this, players can enjoy sweepstakes games. These are free social games that offer winners the chance to win prizes that could include cash, different to a casino.
For Californians hoping to gamble for real money, there are a number of tribal casinos to choose from including the Pechanga Casino and Resort and the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort. Here, you can gamble real money on all the classic casino games, from slot machines to table games.
Online State Lottery in California
The California State Lottery has been running since 1985, and is one of the most popular states for the lottery in the nation. Whether they’re playing national draw games such as Powerball or the Mega Millions or local-only variants, there’s no shortage of lottery fun for Californians.
THe lottery is operated by the California Lottery Commission and a majority of the revenues generated from tickets go toward funding education. All tickets must be bought from physical retailers, with no online lottery games available.
Off Track Horse Betting in California
If Californians want to legally bet on live sports, they can also gamble on legal horse racing. There are a number of popular horse racing tracks that run horse races year-round. To place bets, punters have the choice to either wager at the tracks or at off-track betting parlors.
Horse race betting generates millions of dollars in tax revenue for California every year. However, the industry at large has been facing a gradual decline over the last few years. This is due to a variety of reasons, with some citing concerns about animal welfare while others have been drawn to newer forms of gambling such as sports betting.
As the race toward legal sports betting in California is still in its earliest stages, it is too difficult to tell how the state will choose to regulate the activity. The bill backed by the tribal casino groups would require that all sports betting must take place in person at tribal casinos. This would mean that CA’s online gambling sites will not be happening.
If the state’s non-tribal interests are successful, this could allow betting to be made at tribal casinos, commercial card rooms, and even mobile betting at the best online betting sites. As states like New Jersey have proven, California online sportsbooks are likely to make the state more money if mobile betting is allowed. For the time being, analysts predict that the legal sports betting market could be valued at a whopping $20 billion, making it one of the largest states for the industry.
In the case that it is legal, players are likely to be able to bet on most major sports leagues and even esports. Some states ban betting on collegiate division games, so this would need to be decided by the industry’s regulatory body. This state agency would be in charge of ensuring that bookmakers adhere to player protection measures, making it far safer than offshore options.
California sports betting seems to be less of a matter of if but rather a matter of when. The state has a proven track record of having an open mind to progressive state policies, so we see no reason to believe that sports betting would be any different. Almost all other forms of gambling such as horse racing, casino gambling, and DFS are legal or accepted in one way or another, so sports betting should be no different. It will all come down to whether residents choose the limitations of in-person betting or opt for more freedom to bet with California online bookies. Keep your eyes on the news for any impending changes to CA laws.
Frequently Asked Questions
The laws around California online sportsbooks and attitude towards sports betting may seem unclear, so it makes sense to have more questions. Below in this bonus section, we offer and clarified a few commonly asked questions to make California’s gambling laws easier to understand.
Is online gambling and sports betting legal in California?
Both online gambling and sports betting are illegal in California. The state explicitly mentions this, so any attempts to do so may be punished. However, the state will not punish players for accessing and betting on out-of-state or offshore betting sites so players are free to access these sites at their own discretion.
What is the California legal gambling age?
There are two minimum gambling ages in California. In order to bet on horse racing or sign up for a DFS account, the laws states players must be 18 years or over. In order for players to gamble at tribal casinos, players must be over the age of 21.
Are unlicensed bookmaker sites safe?
This is a difficult question to answer, as all bookmaker’s are different. When you sign up to these websites, you can only hope that these sites are genuine and trustworthy, odds are they aren’t. It’s possible that they could scam you out of your money at any time, and if this is the case, you would be able to do nothing about it. For this reason, we highly recommend avoiding unlicensed bookmakers and going to a casinos instead.
Can I use off-shore or out-of-state internet betting sites to bet?
Trying to find an alternative for a California online sportsbook? If you decide to place sports bets on an off-shore or out-of-state internet betting site, you will not be punished by law in California despite its illegality. However, it’s worth considering that the fact that a website is accepting players from an illegal market suggests that they are focused more on profit than player protection. For this reason, they may not be trustworthy until laws change to allow them to be licensed.
Can I use the FanDuel or DraftKings app in California?
Until sports betting laws are amended and California sports betting sites are allowed, you will not be able to use DraftKings and FanDuel to place sports bets. However, you are free to use the apps to play daily fantasy sports, such as on the NFL and NBA, which is perhaps the best alternative available for legal sports betting in California.
Do California casinos have sportsbooks?
For the time being, California’s tribal casinos do not have sportsbooks. A coalition of these tribal casino operators are currently working together to push for exclusive rights to offer in-person only sports betting at sportsbooks at their casinos. We expect this matter could be resolved by the end of 2021.