If the gaming industry has to settle for state-by-state legalization, California represents the Holy Grail of online gambling in the US. It is the most populous state in the union with a $2 trillion economy that could rank number 8 on earth if it was its own country. International gambling websites have gone out of the way to acquire licenses in countries considerably smaller than California.
All eyes are on California as states mull legalizing various forms of online gambling. If California does go the way of legalization, it would by default become the standard by which gambling is quantified in the United States. If the state does finally dominate gambling and it’s successful, other nations will surely follow suit. We might even see something eventually happen at the national level.
Different pieces of legislation have been released, shot down and reintroduced in recent years. We don’t have anything major to report however, but many observers are cautiously optimistic that California will at some point make a serious move toward legalization. Here is why:
The country already has a pro-gambling culture The country already has lawful casinos and card rooms
It is home to many Indian tribes who are experienced in gambling California has a spending problem and the potential tax revenues must surely be tempting for state lawmakers
Current List of Betting Sites in California
We are going to discuss the different betting options in California in greater detail below, but I’d love to start with a quick list of gambling sites which are available at this time in California. If you’re here looking for a place to gamble online, these are the websites which will let you play with and bet real money today.
Sports Gambling:
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Fantasy Sports:
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Horse and Greyhound Betting:
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Online Lottery Tickets:
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Games of Skill:
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Sports Betting in California
Lawmakers in California have shown some interest in legalizing sports gambling of late. A bill introduced at the 2017/18 session suggested amending existing gaming law to allow the California legislature to authorize sports gambling contingent upon the Supreme Court overturning the federal sports gambling ban (which it did).
ACA 18 itself did not seek to legalize wagering; it instead provided a constitutional amendment that would enable lawmakers to legalize and regulate sports betting in the future. After he introduced the bill, Assemblyman Adam Gray stated,”The decision is not’if we have sports wagering or never possess sports wagering.’ We do have sports wagering.”
The point he was making is that sports gambling is currently a massive black market in California and across the USA. The American Gaming Association estimates Americans bet at least $154 billion per year on sports with internet sportsbooks and local bookies in contrast to the law. The current state prohibition isn’t working, the logic goes, so the smart thing to do is legalize it, regulate it and tax it.
A report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming published in 2017 considers California is likely to legalize sports betting within five years from the date of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn PASPA. California has lots of potential to become a significant sports betting market, but as you’ll see in the next section, competing interests in the country have a propensity to complicate matters.
Assemblyman Gray introduced the exact same legislation in 2018 and 2019 as he continues to push the issue. Getting the tribal bands on board has been exceedingly hard since they control an $8 billion gaming industry and are highly reluctant to get on board with sports gambling at risk of opening their profitable compacts with the state to negotiation once more.
Online Poker in California
The pursuit for internet poker in California has been fought in the courtrooms as you read these words. Bills seeking to control internet poker have been released every year since 2007. None of those bills have made it all the way through the legislative process due to vying factions on all sides of the matter, but each year brings us nearer to finding an agreement that satisfied all parties that are interested.
In reality, much of the difficulty can be attributed to rival interests in the state. It appears everybody has an agenda and it isn’t easy to find consensus among the Indian tribes, Cuban operators and existing online brands. 1 group or another always feels left out or targeted by the wording of legislation. And to be honest, that’s often a legitimate concern.
To add to the difficulty, there continue to be powerful lobbying groups that actively combat the legalization of poker or any other kind of internet gambling in the US. Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson has vowed to fight legalization across the country. In California alone, he spent more than $300,000 to lobby against poker.
Not one of the bills introduced over the previous decade-plus has made considerable progress thanks to the many competing interests in the nation. The following bill is Only One of many efforts to make something happen in California, but it serves as a Normal example of how complicated and difficult it is to make progress in California:
AB 2291: Promising Start but Died in Committee
Assembly Bill 2291 was first introduced back in February 2014 but not made it beyond the committee period. It was reintroduced in 2015 and 2016, but was still unable to gain the traction it had to make it much in the legislative process.
The bill sought to legalize online poker only and issue 10-year permits to operators. The suggested fee for licensing has been initially set at $5,000,000, with that charge being used to offset future taxes. Lawmakers bumped that fee up several times before the fee hit a high of $12,500,000 without offsetting taxes.
Historical versions of AB 2291 contained several clauses that have caused tension between different factions competing for a part of the poker pie. Most controversial one of these is a”bad actor” clause. AB 2291 initially sought to require prospective licensees to have a minimum of five decades of gambling experience in California. Additionally, it required every facet of a procedure, by its workers to its gear to its bank account to be held in state.
Essentially, AB 2291 could have prevented all of present online poker suppliers and newer local casinos in California out of competing. The wording of the bill very clearly preferred a few recognized California casino classes at the expense of fair competition.
Another problem with AB 2291 was that it would have banned California from entering arrangements with other states to combine player pools and enhance liquidity. To put it differently, you’d only see different Californians at the table no matter how many sates legalize poker. To top it off, the bill would require the country to determine of any legislation passed at the federal level allowing online poker.
Some progress was made in 2016 with a proposed amendment which would significantly alter the bad actor clause. Formerly, the bill would have barred all online poker firms that functioned after the passing of the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Such limitations would have prohibited established brand for example PokerStars from entering the marketplace.
The previous amendment proposes to instead move the cut-off date for the bad actor clause up towards the end of 2011. To put it differently, sites such as PokerStars that functioned after the UIGEA but subsequently left the marketplace after the Black Friday indictments in 2011. This would stop the most egregious violators from entering the sector but afford PokerStars a chance to offer online poker lawfully in California. You may read more about the proposal here.
Looking back in 2018: The Good and Bad
The Bad Lawmakers and tribal groups have been stuck in stalemate for about four years now. It is nice to see some progress on this front, however it’s also discouraging to see the outright stubbornness on the portion of varying factions. 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 2018. For the first time in over a decade, no invoices seeking to legalize online poker have been introduced. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sayer advised Online Poker Report he’s giving up on online poker laws for this season since there’s simply no improvement being made in reaching a compromise between the tribes, local card rooms and other interested parties.
The Great There are a number of positive things to say about most of this. If poker is really legalized in California, the potential player pool will much bigger than that which we’ve seen in other nations that have already legalized online poker. Aside from the fact that 38 million people call California home, the state has a poker civilization already thanks to its many brick-and-mortar card rooms.
California is very likely to have fewer problems with geolocation of players because of its sheer size. New Jersey had all types of issues verifying players were really located within the state. This ended up with plenty of potential players being barred in the state-sanctioned sites there. California doesn’t have to contend with congested cities piled up on country borders.
Fantasy Sports
Whenever the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006, it provided two noteworthy exceptions to internet gaming: horse racing and fantasy sports. The UIGEA didn’t just exempt these forms of gaming; it essentially gave operators the go-ahead to offer their games to clients right here in the US.
Some states have since passed legislation banning online fantasy sports but California isn’t one of these. If you’ve got a thing for sports betting but prefer to do it at a protected and regulated manner, fantasy sports is your way to go. You draft a staff just like in regular dream leagues but now you get paid real cash if you win.
FanDuel.com and DraftKings.com are the two biggest players in this market. They both accept clients from CA and offer single-day fantasy leagues for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college basketball and college football.
One of the pleasant things about online fantasy sports is each contest only lasts for a day or week in the most. You’re not stuck with a single group all season. Rather, your team racks up stats over the duration of a single week. It’s possible to play in heads-up contests against other players or test your ability in massive tournaments that occasionally give away more than a thousand dollars to the first place winner.
You may read more about dream sports gambling here.
Legislative Efforts for Daily Fantasy at California
2016 was a significant year for the daily fantasy sports industry in California. In January of 2016, lawmakers introduced AB 1437 in an attempt to create a regulatory framework for everyday fantasy sports sites. If enacted, the bill would need DFS sites to acquire a license, apply a minimum age of 21 for all clients, hold all customers’ funds in a segregated account and extend self-exclusion applications for players.
The bill advanced previous three major votes by a total of 101 for and two against. This is a significant bill for California and it looks increasingly likely to be passed to law. However, the bill itself will not actually legalize online fantasy sports competitions; it only places the states where the industry would be regulated.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is expected to issue a judgment on whether or not fantasy competitions constitute illegal gambling under law. If she rules favorably, AB 1437 will have all set up to license and regulated dream sites immediately. The AG’s judgment was expected for more than a year now. Meanwhile, California dream sports sites continue to function freely.
As of 2019, advancement on the bill appears to have completely stalled. The fantastic news is fantasy sports sites are still active through the state. Legalizing fantasy sports in California would essentially be a formality now.
Online Casinos
There are not yet any legal online casinos in California. The state has not even tried to pass laws in this respect so it’s going to probably be years until we see legitimate gaming websites open to CA residents.
Do not be tricked by the countless other sites which are recommending”legal” internet casinos. These are actually offshore gaming sites without any legal presence whatsoever in the USA. They are unlicensed and completely unregulated.
Although to be fair, there are no state or national laws which prohibit playing offshore casinos. Should you decide to play with online, nobody will come kick in your front door. The biggest risk is financial — you never know for certain who you are working with on the other side of the display. Some offshore casinos could be safe while some are definitely outright scams. But no matter where you play, you have no legal recourse when things go belly up.
Your very best option would be to look at any of the other legal, accredited and safe types of gambling that can be found at this time in California. Between horse racing, fantasy sports and many likely online poker very soon, there are still lots of other ways to play real money games online at safe, licensed sites based in the US.
Horse Betting
Online horse racing is alive and well in California. The horse gambling situation here isn’t nearly as complicated as the poker situation. California does allow residents to play at US-licensed horse wagering websites such as TwinSpires, BetAmerica and TVG.
Each of the significant US-based horse betting sites accept clients from California. The country also enables off-track betting (OTB) facilities. OTB facilities operate as brick-and-mortar betting shops where people can walk in, put bets on races and collect their winnings in person.
Five racetracks operate upon the state and they too allow for real money wagering. In total, you can bet online at any one of the approved horse betting websites, off-track at an OTB location or on site at some of the monitors listed below. California is also home to state and county fairs that hold races at different times each year.
The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) manages all horse racing and wagering within the state. The CHRB’s mission is to ensure the integrity, viability and safety of the nation’s horse racing industry. They manage wagering, breeding, bodily security as well as the marketing of horse racing.
California Racetracks
The California Exposition and State Fair functions a yearlong harness racetrack that runs daily at around 5:20 PM.
1600 Exposition Drive
Sacramento, CA 95815
Website Golden Gate Fields
This track is located in Berkley with races and simulcast events every week.
1100 Eastshore Highway
Berkley, CA 94710
Site Santa Anita
Santa Anita is among the most widely recognized racetracks in the USA and home to major events such as the Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Handicap and occasionally the Breeder’s Cup.
285 W. Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007
Site Del Mar
Del Mar opened in 1937 with a renowned race between Seabiscuit and Ligaroti. Seabiscuit barely took the race and became a legend of his own. Now, Del Mar plays host to racing festivals, events, family fun days and much more.
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd..
Del Mar, CA 92014
Site Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos Race Course is home to daytime thoroughbred racing and night quarter racing. The track is home to some of the largest quarter horse stakes races in the united states.
4961 E. Katella Ave.
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Website OTB Locations
There are 31 off-track betting facilities in California. OTB facilities are found in fairgrounds, racetracks, specialty OTB stores, casinos and fairgrounds. You may see a full list of addresses and locations .
Internet Bingo
There seems to be no motive to specifically legalize online bingo in California. The only realistic chance I see online bingo coming to California is whether it gets caught up in some future internet casino legislation.
Lottery Games
Ca lottoThe California state lottery is not authorized to sell tickets on the internet or via telephone. For years, the federal Wire Act banned states from selling lottery tickets on the internet. This might not be the case forever. In 2009, New York and Illinois asked the Department of Justice to clarify its position on the Wire Act and clarify exactly which types of online gambling were illegal.
The DOJ responded in 2011 with a choice that’d far-reaching effects beyond just the lottery. Back in September of 2011, the DOJ issued a statement the official interpretation of the Wire Act only applies to sports gambling over the net. This gave states the go-ahead to sell tickets online if they choose.
Lottery Subscription Sites California has not yet joined the growing list of countries that sell lottery tickets on the web. However, there are a range of messenger services which will go buy lottery tickets at face value for a monthly subscription fee. You can log into all those sites, pay face value for your tickets and the company will go and buy tickets in your title.
By way of example, LottoGopher.com is a California-based membership website that offers this specific support. The website is registered in California, its owners have been background-checked by lottery commission officers and it abides by all state and federal laws. They are not legally permitted to sell lotto tickets for more than face value, so that they rather charge users a subscription fee.
A membership at LottoGopher allows you to buy tickets online, pick certain amounts as well as form lotto pools with different members. If you win less than $600, Lotto Gopher will charge the winnings to your account which you may then draw right to the bank. If you win more than $600, Lotto Gopher will claim the prize on your behalf in person and then send you a check for the full amount.
The site does not take a cut of your winnings. They only way they make money is by charging clients a flat subscription fee. At this moment, LottoGopher is only available in California. You can learn more and give it a try here:
lotto gopher
Is Lotto Gopher untrue?
Yes. They’re based in California and state lottery officials know they are. It is good for you to ask though because there are a ton of online lotto sites that feel and look untrue but are not. Lotto Gopher really is lawful and 100% untrue.
They’ve been all over the media in recent decades too. Forbes and ABC have both written articles about the support.

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