Is Gambling Legal in California?
The only people who have to worry about getting into trouble with the law are operators of online sports betting services. Since California does not license or permit any online sports betting company, it is illegal for such companies to operate online sportsbooks in the state. But no law prevents players from betting at licensed offshore online sports betting sites. California residents only have to make sure that the online sportsbooks are licensed before registering an account.
California residents who want to wager on their favorite local as well as international sports events have no dearth of options. There are plenty of offshore online sportsbooks, such as the ones listed below, which are willing to accept residents of California. The websites listed on this page have been carefully handpicked by our team of experts and you can rest assured that they are the best and the most reliable online venues for your sports betting adventures.
Arguably the best online sportsbook for those interested in betting online in California is Bovada, an online gambling company that offers a wide range of online gambling services such as live poker, casino gaming, and horse racing betting. Bovada Sportsbook also comes with facilities such as live betting, mobile betting, and in-play betting. California bettors can place bets on their favorite college sports events along with major league basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and soccer events, just to name a few.
Bovada goes the extra mile in taking care of its customers, and bettors in distress can either use the online contact form or the telephone numbers provided at the website.
Thanks to their industry-leading customer service, Bovada is frequented by over a million CA customers every year. SportsBetting, a reputed online sports betting brand that accepts players from California, is home to lucrative promotions and generous bonuses. Besides, it comes with special features such as the Live In Game Betting App, which gives players the rare pleasure of live in-play betting. The online sportsbook gives away limited offer bonuses on a regular basis and bettors need to be alert enough to grab them.
At 5Dimes, there is such a huge selection of bets for California citizens to choose from, with several thousand possible wagers to place each and every day. The promotions page at 5Dimes Sportsbook is literally packed. From their industry-exclusive Reduced Juice opportunities and large bonuses to cash-back offers, seasonal specials, and other perks, you can maximize your bankroll at 5Dimes in much the same way that the site lets you maximize your wagering chances.
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While there are no state laws that specifically outlaw sports betting, there are general gambling laws that do apply. If you want to see for yourself, here are the state gambling laws set forth by the California legislature Penal Code Chapter 10, Section z. Most industry analysts expect CA-area cardrooms and casinos to open up their own sportsbooks sometime in , though the state will likely have to engage in a fair bit of gymnastics to keep their tribal compacts honored in the process.
Sports Betting Laws in the U. Those who want to put money on sports in CA have to be at least 18 to place a sports wager online. There are no legal land-based sportsbook in California, which means online sportsbooks are the way to go.
However, it's important to understand that these sportsbooks have their own age terms and conditions. In fact, with the legal betting sites operating outside the US, most require USA residents only to meet the age requirement stipulated by the site.
This is 18 years of age. That said, once legal land-based on-site and online sports betting comes to California, the likely legal age to participate is going to be Fortunately, those laws will have no bearing on the policies or legal standing of offshore sportsbooks, so younger bettors 18 and older will always have somewhere to bet on their favorite CA players and teams.
California just does not have the legal and regulatory framework to license operators of online sportsbooks. International gambling sites have gone out of their way to acquire licenses in countries much smaller than California. All eyes are on California as states mull legalizing various forms of online gambling. If California does ever go the way of legalization, it would by default become the standard by which gaming is measured in the United States.
If the state does eventually regulate gaming and it is successful, other states will surely follow suit. We may even see something finally happen at the national level. Various pieces of legislation have been introduced, shot down and reintroduced in recent years. If you came here looking for a place to bet online, these are the websites that will let you play with and wager real money today. Lawmakers in California have shown some interest in legalizing sports betting of late.
ACA 18 itself did not seek to legalize wagering; it instead offered a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to legalize and regulate sports betting in the future. The point he was making is that sports betting is already a massive black market in California and across the United States.
The current state prohibition is not working, the logic goes, so the smart thing to do is legalize it, regulate it and tax it. The quest for online poker in California is being fought in the courtrooms as you read these words. Bills seeking to regulate internet poker have been introduced every year since None of those bills have made it all the way through the legislative process due to vying factions on all sides of the issue, but each year brings us closer to finding an agreement that satisfied all interested parties.
In fact, much of the difficulty can be attributed to competing interests in the state. It seems everyone has an agenda and it is difficult to find consensus among the Indian tribes, brick-and-mortar operators and existing online brands. One group or another always feels left out or targeted by the wording of legislation. And to be fair, that is often a valid concern. To add to the difficulty, there are still powerful lobbying groups that actively fight the legalization of poker or any other form of online gambling in the US.
Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson has pledged to fight legalization across the nation. Not a single one of the bills introduced over the last decade-plus has made significant progress thanks to the various competing interests in the state. The following bill is just one of many efforts to make something happen in California, but it serves as a typical example of how complicated and difficult it is to make progress in California:.
Assembly Bill was first introduced way back in February but never made it beyond the committee phase. It was reintroduced in and , but was still unable to gain the traction it needed to make it far in the legislative process. The bill sought to legalize online poker only and issue year licenses to operators. Early versions of AB included several clauses that have caused tension between various factions competing for a piece of the poker pie.
AB initially sought to require potential licensees to have at least five years of gaming experience in California. It also required every aspect of an operation, from its employees to its equipment to its bank accounts to be held in state.
In essence, AB would have prevented all current online poker providers and newer local casinos in California from competing. The wording of the bill very clearly favored a few established California casino groups at the expense of fair competition. Another problem with AB was that it would have prohibited California from entering agreements with other states to combine player pools and improve liquidity. In other words, you would only see other Californians at the table no matter how many sates legalize poker.
To top it all off, the bill would require the state to opt out of any legislation passed at the federal level allowing online poker. Some progress was made in with a proposed amendment that would significantly alter the bad actor clause.
Previously, the bill would have barred all online poker companies that operated after the passage of the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of Such restrictions would have prohibited established brand such as PokerStars from entering the market. The last amendment proposes to instead move the cut-off date for the bad actor clause up to the end of This would prevent the most egregious violators from entering the market but afford PokerStars a chance to offer online poker legally in California.
You can read more about the proposal here. Lawmakers and tribal groups have been stuck in stalemate for going on four years now. Poker players would be better served by an open and competitive market and player-sharing agreements with other states. Worse than all that, online poker seems to have taken a step back in For the first time in more than a decade, no bills seeking to legalize online poker were introduced.
There are some positive things to say about all this. Besides the fact that 38 million people call California home, the state has a poker culture already thanks to its many brick-and-mortar card rooms. California is likely to have fewer problems with geolocation of players due to its sheer size.
New Jersey had all kinds of problems verifying players were actually located within the state. This ended up with loads of potential players being unfairly barred from the state-sanctioned sites there. Some states have since passed laws banning online fantasy sports but California is not one of those. If you have a thing for sports betting but would rather do it in a safe and regulated manner, fantasy sports is the way to go.
You draft a team just like in regular fantasy leagues except now you get paid real money if you win. One of the nice things about online fantasy sports is each contest only lasts for a day or week at the most.
Instead, your team racks up stats over the course of one week. You can play in heads-up competitions against other players or test your skill in massive tournaments that sometimes give away more than a million dollars to the first place winner. You can read more about fantasy sports betting here. In January of , lawmakers introduced AB in a bid to create a regulatory framework for daily fantasy sports websites. The bill advanced past three important votes by a total of for and 2 against.
This is an important bill for California and it looks increasingly likely to be passed into law. However, the bill itself does not actually legalize online fantasy sports contests; it only sets the conditions by which the industry would be regulated.