The Growth of Online Gambling in California

By  //  August 1, 2022

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California is often considered the “holy grail” of the gambling market in the US due to its huge population. Gambling has been popular in the state since the Gold Rush, but wagering activities were never regulated at the time. 

It wasn’t until 1872 that a few regulations were enacted. California state is home to 15 well-established professional sports teams, making it the dream market for every sportsbook. As of this writing, even as other states race to legalize sports betting, California is yet to pass any laws that allow online wagering, except for horse racing events. 

There are no laws allowing or prohibiting online gambling in California, which leaves the online betting market a gray area. This means that law enforcement officers cannot prosecute you for gambling online, and neither can they protect you. 

As such, there are numerous reputable and reliable California online gambling sites that accept punters from the state, but they are based offshore. Many of them are licensed and safe. However, always research comprehensively before you find the right casino for you.

CA Gambling Laws

Though the state might not be every punter’s paradise, it has a lot to offer. Residents are free to engage in daily fantasy sites, lotteries, Native American casinos, and card houses. The advent of the internet helped open up more opportunities for gamblers in the state. 

Although daily fantasy sports and horse racing betting are the only forms of legal online betting in CA, there are no specific laws legalizing the activities. The state does not allow punters to bet at poker, casino, and sports betting sites. 

Online Gambling in CA

The legal age for betting at retail native and land casinos is 18. However, some native tribal casinos have a 21-age limit. Underage wagering remains illegal in the state. 

California was a betting hub during the gold rush era, attracting a lot of gamblers and that has not changed much. There exist several legislative channels for approving retail gambling in CA. Card rooms, for instance, are legal under the CA code. 

Indian tribal casinos are permitted under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). These establishments offer a greater variety of games compared to card rooms. Slots and table games were introduced at Indian casinos following a referendum conducted in 2000. 

Since the invention of the internet, Indian casinos in California have tried opening online betting sites. However, their efforts always end up being frustrated by the courts. 

Online Gambling Sites in CA

Given that the iGaming market is not regulated in California, finding a safe betting site can be challenging. Despite the state’s laws being non-friendly to online wagering, Californians love and enjoy virtual betting and numerous iGaming sites have stepped up to satisfy the high demand. 

Even though there is no denying that there are a few bad apples, a majority of the betting sites in California are reliable and offer generous promotions and bonuses. Punters enjoy a wide variety of games and have access to easy transaction methods. 

If you want to place bets at an online betting site in California, you will have to conduct thorough research to find the best site for your needs. The goal is to save yourself the pain of signing up with a fraudulent gambling site. Consider going through online reviews before registering with any site. 

Sports Betting in California 

Like all other US states, sports betting was illegal in California from 1992 until 2018. Despite the PASPA being overruled, CA is yet to legalize the sports betting market. This means that you can not legally place sports bets online or at land-based bookmakers in the state. 

However, the state is at the liberty of legalizing the sports wagering industry at any time that it so wishes. Until then, Californian punters have no choice but to seek sports betting opportunities in other states. 

Sports betting happens to be on the next ballot, and California voters will get a chance to usher in or curtail the sports betting industry. According to Daniel Wallach, a Florida-based lawyer, California is the holy grail of the US sports wagering market. 

Horse Racing and State Lottery 

Horse racing and the state lottery are popular gambling channels in California. The former has been legal in CA since 1933, and it has greatly evolved over the years. 

Today, the state has a massive pari-mutuel industry, with 30-off-track and six track betting facilities. The Golden State also boasts multiple high-quality licensed and regulated horse racing apps. 

State lottery became legal in 1984 under the Lottery Act which stipulates that the purpose of lottery contests is to raise funds for public school and college education. 

The California Legislature amended the Lottery Act via Assembly Bill 142 in 2010 to change the lottery’s funding formula. 87% of the profits gets channeled back to the public. There is currently no online lottery operation in CA. 

Daily Fantasy Sports 

Daily fantasy sports betting is neither legal nor illegal in California. That notwithstanding, there are several licensed daily fantasy sites operating in the state. These sites include FanDuel, Underdog, and DraftKings. 

The Attorney general has not made any attempts to keep people from playing and participating in contests. DFS sites in the state argue that these are games of skill as opposed to gambling activities. 

Legislators in the state have been considering legalizing DFS since 2015. The CA assembly coined a bill attempting to tax, regulate, and legalize DFS but the bill is yet to be passed. 

Online Poker 

Poker has been legal in the Golden State for years. When the California Penal Code prohibited most house-banked and casino games, it did not outlaw games between players. This is why poker remains a legal gambling activity offered at cardrooms. 

There are many cardrooms in California and players are also free to engage in skill-based table games. However, CA has a freeze on the launch of new card houses. 

Similar to online casinos, there is no legal online poker market in California. Despite the game’s popularity, players have no choice but to stick to physical Indian Casinos and car houses. Those that want to play online poker have to cross state borders.