Californians have a number of options for gambling at casinos and for playing online, whether it’s betting on sports, slots or poker.
Between the various card rooms and tribal casinos, racetracks, and the lottery, California offers one of the richest arrays of regulated gambling choices of any state.
Legal online gambling options are currently limited in California. The primary option for online gambling in California: Sweepstakes online casinos and poker sites (Click for our top California picks). This allows California residents the ability to enjoy casino games and poker sites for real cash prizes.
When it comes to wagering on sports, Californians have their pick of various real-money fantasy sports sites and online horse betting sites.
Best California Online Gaming Sites
California Online Casino
Chumba Casino – Best California Online Casino
What are your online casino options in California? While you won’t find any legal traditional online casino games in the state, you can try sweepstakes-style casinos where you can win real cash.
Chumba Casino is the leading sweepstakes-style online casino serving California players. You can try dozens of games, including slots that play similarly to your favorite casino slot games.
California Online Poker
Global Poker – Best California Online Poker
What about legal online poker sites in California? Unfortunately, California is lagging behind other states when it comes to expanding legal online gambling.
You do have one online poker option in California: Sweepstakes-based online poker games that allow you to win real cash. The leading sweepstakes online poker site is Global Poker, where you can play cash games and tournaments.
California Online Betting
DraftKings – Best DFS Site
Do you have any legal sports betting options online in California? While other states like New Jersey have moved forward with online sports betting, California has yet to legalize the opportunity.
In the meantime, fantasy sports sites still offer real-money games for Californians, including massive contests with millions of dollars on the line. DraftKings and FanDuel are the two leading fantasy sports sites.
There have been numerous proposals to regulate and legalize online poker and sports betting but nothing concrete. Recently, eighteen of California’s gaming tribes have filed a referendum for the 2020 state ballot that would allow for sports betting.
When will California get more online gambling? The prospects for regulated online poker is very unlikely with years of failed back and forth between stakeholders and no momentum in the California Legislature. Even though land-based poker is incredibly popular in the state, it’s currently unable to have an online poker bill introduced in the past two years (after years of introduction and failures) as it’s become somewhat of a lost cause.
Sports betting is a newer initiative but is facing a similar fate as past online poker bills with no agreement between California gaming stakeholders and nothing materializing after bill introductions.
As for California online casinos, that’s a topic that has yet even to be broached by lawmakers. For now, California online gamblers will have to make do with sweepstakes casinos like Chumba Casino (read more below).
June 3, 2020: Days after a bill to legalize sports betting emerged in California, the Senate Governmental Organization Committee moved the legislation forward.
That said, a long and contentious path awaits as it advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
As it stands, referendum bill SCA 6 approves retail and online sports betting tribal casinos and horse racing tracks in California. Additionally, it authorizes cardrooms to continue housing their current slate of games.
With California facing a whopping $54 billion budget deficit, the state could certainly use alternate streams of revenue. Research from Eilers & Krejcik suggests legal California sports betting could generate $503 million in revenue at full maturity. Within the first six months, the industry could result in $282 million.
This legislation would essentially serve as a compromise between cardrooms and tribal casinos, which have long been at odds over exclusivity on house-banked card games.
Certainly cardroom support the bill, despite the referendum excluding these establishments from offering legalized sports betting. Tribes, however, are not as keen. Mostly because it allows cardrooms to continue offering games that tribes have fought to rid.
Tribal leaders continue to lobby for their own ballot initiative, which lawmakers have not really entertained. However, the committee chairman vowed to receive input from all stakeholders moving forward.
The bill needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers by June 25 in order to reach the November ballot. A summer break for the legislature is scheduled to begin June 19.
Below you’ll find a list of resources that can help you learn more about the future of online casinos and online gambling in California.
- Guide to US sports betting.
- California legislative information.
- California Gambling Control Commission.
- Guide to gambling law in California.
- List of card rooms in California.
- List of California casinos.
Is Online Gambling Legal In California?- FAQ
California Online Casino FAQ
Can I play slots online in California?
Yes. The only question you need to answer is whether you want to play for real money or if you just want to play slots. If you want to play for real money, you’ll need to try one of the sweepstakes casinos that are available to Californians. Otherwise, you’ll want to check out social casino games on Facebook such as Slotomania.
What are the chances that we get full-fledged California online casinos?
Pretty low at this point. There seems to be very little political interest in bringing online casinos to California.
I heard that New Jersey has legal online casinos. Can I play at those from California?
Unfortunately, no. You must be located within the state of New Jersey to play for real money at one of their legal online casinos.
I see casinos accepting California players when I Google the topic. Should I trust them?
Buyer beware. Real-money online casinos that accept California players are not legal or licensed by the state of California. That means you don’t know for sure whether the games are fair or if you’ll be able to collect your money if you win.
California Online Sports Betting FAQ
I thought the Supreme Court made sports betting legal. So why can’t I bet on sports in California yet?
Good question. What the Supreme Court actually did was to make it so that states could authorize sports betting if they wanted to (previously that right had been limited to Nevada). So it’s now up to each individual state to actually authorize sports betting.
When will California legalize sports betting?
There have been bills recently proposed that would authorize sports betting in California, but experts generally agree that actually passing a bill in California will be difficult at best.
The latest proposal authorizes retail and online wagering via tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, though the bill faces contention from said tribes.
Should I just bet with one of these online sportsbooks I see all of the time?
Honestly, it’s up to you. What we can say is that these books are not legal or regulated from California’s perspective, so you’re gambling with your money in more ways than one. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, and you don’t know if your money or personal information is safe.
Can I play fantasy sports for real money in California?
All major fantasy sports sites – including DraftKings and FanDuel – accept players from California, and have for years. There’s no indication that fantasy sports will face any legal challenges in California.
What Gambling Is Legal In California?
|Permitted/Offered?||Notes & Restrictions|
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||Poker allowed statewide, casinos only allowed on tribal lands, roulette and craps disallowed due to use of ball and dice|
|Sweepstakes Gambling||Yes||Sweepstakes online casino & poker sites available|
|Online Gambling||No||Online poker issue tabled indefinitely.|
|Sports Betting||No||Faces long odds in the California legislature and needs a vote by California residents to legalize.|
|Lottery||Yes||Participates in both Mega Millions and Powerball multi-state lotteries|
|Charitable or House-Based Gambling||Yes||Bingo only|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for lottery, bingo, and pari-mutuel; officially 18 in casinos, although most casinos privately make 21 the minimum age so as to be able to serve alcohol to patrons|
California Online Gambling Directory
California Online Casinos
You can play at sweepstakes online casino for real cash prizes or you can play at social casinos with play money chips.
- Chumba Casino – Sweepstakes for Real Cash Prizes
- Luckyland Slots – Sweepstakes Casino
- Big Fish Casino – Social Casino
- DoubleDown – Social Casino
- GSN Casino – Social Casino
- Slotomainia – Social Casino
California Online Poker Sites
You can play at sweepstakes online poker site for real cash prizes or you can play at social poker sites with play money chips.
- Global Poker – Sweepstakes for Real Cash Prizes
- Zynga Poker – Social Poker
- WSOP Poker – Social Poker
- Pokerist – Social Poker
California Online Lottery
Unfortunately, the California lottery is not yet available online. That leaves you without any real options for playing the lottery online in California.
You might want to consider another option, such as sweepstakes casinos, that is available to players from California. While it’s not the same as the lottery, it’s probably the closest you’ll get at a safe, secure online gambling site from California.
California Fantasy Sports Sites
Fantasy sports sites allow you to play skill-based contests for real money. Place bets on your favorite player or players for the chance to win significant sums of cash.
Some of the biggest fantasy sports sites offer you around-the-clock action on nearly every sport imaginable, with a wide array of contests.
California Online Horse Betting
Betting on horses online is one of the most popular ways to place a wager online from California. Unlike some other online gambling options, you have your pick of sites at which you can place a real-money wager on horse races across the nation.
Some online horse racing sites where you can place wagers include:
California Online Sports Betting
Lawmakers in California have started corralling witnesses for a sports betting hearing in November 2019 in hopes of bringing legal sports betting to the state. That said, bills have been proposed before. And even if one passes, enacting it would prove difficult.
With no traditional online sports betting sites available in California, you’ll still have to make the trip to Nevada if you’re interested in placing a legal bet at a sportsbook.
But you do have other options. For example, fantasy sports sites allow you to get bets down on a variety of outcomes across all major sports. And, of course, you can always place bets at one of the many sites that allow you to bet online on horse races not only in California, but at tracks across the United States.
LAND-BASED CASINO ENVIRONMENT
There has been gambling in California almost since the territory became a state.
Poker, never illegal under the state’s constitution, has maintained a presence with dedicated cardrooms in various forms since 1850. Indeed, the Commerce Casino, a card room in Los Angeles (well, Commerce), is home to the largest poker room in the world. Up and down the West Coast, the discriminating poker player can find excellent choices.
However, the picture is a bit more limited for slots players. Officially, slot machines are only permitted on tribal lands in California.
CALIFORNIA TRIBAL CASINOS
Until 2000, there were no Las Vegas-style casinos in the state. However, in that year, voters passed Proposition 1A, a constitutional amendment. This allowed Native American tribes to enter into individual licenses (or compacts) with the state.
As a result, as long as a tribe maintained its side of the bargain with regard to revenue goals, revenue sharing, and services provided to its population, tribes could build and operate full casinos.
Interestingly enough, California does not permit traditional craps or roulette, due to the fact that those games use dice and a ball, respectively. Consequently, the tribal casinos developed, at least in the case of craps, a version wherein the outcome is determined by cards, rather than dice. This makes it legal to operate under the compact.
Native American tribes in California now operate 69 different gambling facilities. Within those casinos, the discriminating slots player will have over 70,000 machines to choose from. They will also find over 2,000 table games.
Many of these casinos are smaller than resort casinos, with roughly 1,000 machines. However, there are some larger resorts that dot the map. Pechanga Casino Temecula is the largest Native American resort in the western United States. There is also San Manuel, which offers 3,000 slot machines and 144,000 square feet of gaming space to its customers.
California gamblers have a wealth of options when it comes to their gaming desires. This is due to the fact that the casinos are spread throughout the state and 30 different counties (irrespective of the card rooms, which are not covered in this description). Below is a list of the largest Native American casinos in California.
LAND-BASED SLOTS OPTIONS
|Property||Location||Number of Slots|
|Pechanga Resort and Casino||Temecula||4,900|
|San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino||Highland||3,000|
|Thunder Valley Casino||Lincoln||2,800|
|Morongo Casino Resort and Spa||Cabazon||2,408|
|Pala Casino Resort and Spa||Pala||2,250|
|Red Hawk Casino||Placerville||2,100|
|Viejas Casino and Turf Club||Alpine||2,000|
|Barona Resort and Casino||Lakeside||2,000|