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There's a long way to go for legal California sports betting, but the anticipation is high. With several legislative hurdles to overcome for legal California sportsbooks, the earliest online sports betting sites and apps could launch is 2026.
While traditional California sports betting remains off the table for now, there are appealing alternatives available such as social and sweepstakes casinos. These California online casino alternatives provide a fun and engaging experience with attractive offers. Our top choices can be found below:
Legal sports betting in California is currently restricted to horse racing, daily fantasy sports, and other alternatives such as social casinos.
After Prop 26 and Prop 27 failed to pass in 2022, it's uncertain when the state could legalize sports betting and when California sportsbooks could launch mobile or retail sports betting. For now, California bettors can only sit and wait for legal sportsbooks and will have to look to other options such as California online casinos.
California sports betting is not yet legal, despite several years passing since the US Supreme Court made a change to the federal law to allow for legal sportsbooks across the country. This national bill empowered states to take action, but California has yet to do so. Two sports betting initiatives were put before California voters on the November 2022 ballot (Proposition 26 and Proposition 27), but neither were approved. In fact, neither ballot initiative came remotely close to passing, which means it's back to the drawing board for everyone involved.
No, you can not bet on sports in California. Despite an effort to expedite the process, both California sports betting propositions failed to pass. Prop 26 was a proposal for sports betting to be allowed at tribal casinos. There are more than 60 California tribal casinos, but Prop 26 would not allow for any form of online sports wagering, and Californians voted 'No' decisively.
Another measure, Prop 27, was backed by several leading sportsbooks including BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and others. This would have allowed California online sports betting to be run by the tribal casinos and a few well-known brands. Under Prop 27, both online and retail sports betting would have been permitted, but this measure also fell significantly short.
The launch date for sports betting in California is unclear and will most likely not come until 2026 or later. In November 2022, California residents voted decisively "No" on Prop 26 and Prop 27 delaying the launch of California sports betting.
One thing has become clear throughout this process and that is legalization won't happen without the approval from California's tribes. It also seems as though the tribes favor a rollout where in-person betting is legalized before online sports betting. So even when betting does get the green light, California bettors may have to visit a retail casino for several months or longer before they are able to use mobile apps.
Marked by major debates, a web of legislation, and a promising market, the journey for California sports betting and sports books has been a tricky one. Here's a concise timeline of key events shaping the future of California sports betting:
Our staff of veteran gambling reporters will keep you up-to-date with the latest news on legal California betting apps, sites, promos and more. We pride ourselves on bringing you breaking news and analysis of all developments to legalize California sports betting.
We do not know at this stage how many California sports betting licenses might be granted, but there are several well-known brands in the industry that will be eager to operate California sportsbooks. Here are some of the California sportsbooks expected to launch once sports betting gets the green light:
When sports betting officially launches, we expect BetMGM California to be the best overall sportsbook. When MGM Resorts International paired with European powerhouse Entain, the result was one of the best sportsbooks in America thus far.
Both rookie and experienced bettors enjoy the exceptional user experience of MGM products, as well as the choice of markets and live streaming, and breadth of sports and prop bets available. BetMGM is also one of the brands involved with the sportsbook-led initiative for legalized sports betting.
When California sports betting arrives, Caesars Sportsbook California will surely be in the mix. This brand is arguably the most recognized name when it comes to American casinos.
In other states, online sports betting users love the easy, quick user interface of Caesars Sportsbook's app and website. Additionally, the huge variety of odds boosts, bonuses, and promotions along with the exceptionally broad choice of sports to bet on makes them one of the top operators nationwide.
FanDuel California will surely be a well-known sportsbook once live, as they built their brand in the fantasy sports space. Now, they are a major presence in the legal sports betting market, and they were involved in one of the initiatives aiming for legal sports betting in California.
In the mobile and online sports betting world, this brand has won widespread praise for the excellence of its sportsbook platform. It delivers markets on a huge range of markets, outstanding live streaming, and an eye-popping array of boosts and bonuses. FanDuel is often top of the table for revenue in states where it is licensed, and that comes as no surprise.
DraftKings California will also be one of the top California sports betting brands when the time comes. They have evolved swiftly and impressively to become one of the leading sportsbooks in the U.S. You'll find a top-notch user experience, a huge wealth of sports to bet on, and a regular supply of attractive offers and promotions.
With a large database of users and top-notch technology, DraftKings ensures it has a broad appeal to dedicated and casual bettors alike. DraftKings is also a leading player in one of the initiatives working to legalize sports betting in California, so their presence is likely guaranteed assuming a bill gets passed.
California sports betting is not legal yet, but once it is, there will be lots of different sports for mobile and online sports betting users.
With three NFL teams, it is inevitable that plenty of mobile and online sports betting users will bet on football. Across the country, football is the most popular sport among bettors.
Some of the biggest franchises in the basketball world are based in California, which ensures there should be serious levels of sports betting in California on basketball, whether it's NBA or college sports.
The perennial popularity of baseball, and the length of the regular season, ensures that there will be a high level of interest when California online sports betting sites are legalized.
Hockey is now a coast-to-coast sport, and with three teams in California, there will be plenty of betting opportunities. Hockey commands a high degree of interest throughout the regular season and especially when the playoffs begin.
Wagering on collegiate events would surely be a popular option for California bettors, but there is a chance it may not be allowed under laws of the sports betting bill. Once the next online sports betting bill proposal is available, we will keep an eye out for college sports betting rules and regulations.
Since states have the ability to decide whether or not to offer sports betting, rules on college sports are all over the place. Some states have no restrictions whatsoever while others only allow certain types of bets to be placed. With regulators worried that collegiate athletes could be more prone to accepting money from bad actors to influence the outcome of a game, some states have opted to make wagering on in-state schools illegal while other colleges are permitted.
California is home to nearly 20 teams in the biggest leagues in the country. There will be plenty of hometown options once they legalize sports betting in California.
If California is able to legalize sports betting, sportsbooks will undoubtedly use promotions and offers as a way of standing out from what is sure to be a hugely competitive crowd. It's always recommended to make the most of sign-up offers and get plenty of extra value from your first taste of online wagering with a particular sportsbook.
Bonus bets have become one of the most common types of betting promos thanks to their flexibility. While customers can receive these bet credits for several different promotions, the two most common are through "first bet safety nets" and "bet-and-get" bonuses. With first bet safety nets, your wager is matched up to a certain amount if the first bet you place results in a loss. Bet and get bonuses are among the most sought-after because no matter what happens with your wager, you receive bonus bets.
This is another popular sports betting welcome bonus that helps build your bankroll with online sportsbooks. However much you put in your account as a first deposit with California sports betting sites, the sportsbook will match by a certain percentage. Check the terms and conditions carefully, particularly when it comes to playthrough requirements.
After you have signed up for a sports betting account, there should be further promotions and bonuses to keep you entertained. Referral bonuses are a good example of this. If you are enjoying your sports gambling experience with an operator, and one of your friends decides to sign up too, you make the referral - and you can both receive a generous bonus, often up to $100, in your account as a result.
If you want to place a bet, a slight odds boost or profit boost can go a long way. Many sportsbook operators offer frequent, even daily, boosts on selected markets. Some make such a regular feature of this that they carry dedicated Boosts sections on their websites. This is a great way for you to receive extra value for a winning bet - or even to persuade you to make a wager you were in two minds about.
Parlay bets are incredibly popular with sports bettors, mostly because they hold out the prospect of a substantial payout in return for a small stake. The catch is that all your selections have to be correct for you to get that return. With parlay insurance, however, if just one of those picks lets you down, you can get your stake back, usually as a bonus bet. This soothes the pain of missing out narrowly on a big sports betting payout.
If the decision is taken to legalize California betting sites, sports bettors are likely to face a rich choice of destinations where they can wager with online sports betting sites and apps. How do you choose the right one for you? There are several attributes that mark out a great sportsbook, and a combination of the following factors will help you to make your decision.
Once sports betting in California has been legalized, online sportsbooks will have been operating in other states for several years. There are plenty of places where customers share their experiences of betting with particular operators. As well as researching the thoughts of players to find a sportsbook that will treat you in the right way, we recommend you check out our insights - we will carry reviews on every legal sportsbook coming to California.
There are, of course, numerous ways to place a wager on professional sports matches. However you like to get involved with your favorite teams and leagues, the best sportsbooks should give you that option. Once they legalize sports betting in California, check out the types of wagers available on your top sports - leading operators will enable you to play the way you want to.
The best apps and online sportsbooks deliver value on a regular basis by offering frequent promotions and bonuses. This is a way of making you feel that you are being rewarded for your loyalty to your chosen operator. One type of bonus is frequent odds boosts, but you may also be able to take advantage of reload bonuses, parlay insurance, referral bonuses and many more.
As you try out California sportsbooks, you'll notice the sports betting odds are not the same. Operators source their prices from different places - some from in-house teams, others from expert providers. The key is to get the best value you can so that sports wagering is as profitable as it can be for you.
The ability to navigate to the market in which you are interested, and to make your wager, is a key consideration when reviewing any sportsbook. This applies both to the desktop version of a website and to online sportsbook apps. The best operators invest considerable time and money in providing interfaces that enable you to beat quickly and easily.
Check carefully to see that your preferred method of moving money is available. Most California sportsbooks should accept deposits through credit and debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets and prepaid cards. Check that you will be able to withdraw your money quickly and easily - some sports betting operators have fewer methods for withdrawals.
If sports betting issues arise, your query should be addressed and resolved as soon as possible. Options should include toll-free phone numbers, email addresses, extensive FAQs and, in particular, 24/7 live chat facilities that interact with you quickly and deliver expert help. The more options a sportsbook has, and the better they work, the more likely it is to score highly in our reviews of CA sports betting sites.
When you get the opportunity to begin sports betting in California, you may be tempted to open just one account. However, there are advantages to trying various operators to see which suits you best. There is no law against opening multiple accounts - and think of all those welcome bonuses you can enjoy!
By having multiple sports betting accounts, you can compare lines and odds on the bets you want to place. Some sportsbooks put their next-day odds up earlier than others, for instance, and you may find more value in this way. Occasionally, sportsbooks will offer reduced-juice prices, and by opening more than one account you will be able to spot this and take advantage.
When retail, mobile and online sports betting in California go live, the competition for customers will lead to some extremely generous welcome offers for California sports betting sites and apps. Why restrict yourself to just one? Take advantage of the battle for your loyalty by opening more than one account and getting the benefit of each and every sign-up bonus available to you.
As we said earlier, sportsbooks get their odds from different sources. While there are some respected providers who deliver lines to various operators, the fact that prices do not always come from one place can lead to variations in particular markets. By opening more than one account, you are in a great position to take advantage of the best prices on the sports you want to wager on.
Expect a wealth of bet types offered when California online sports betting and mobile betting apps launch in the future.
While we wait for sports betting to go live, here's a breakdown of other forms of wagering in California.
Daily Fantasy Sports have never been specifically prohibited in California. At the same time, they have never been legalized. As a result, the activity takes place in a legal gray area. Leading operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings operate DFS games in the Golden State, and it is estimated that more than 100,000 players stake tens of millions of dollars each year.
California is home to some of the most prestigious horse racing tracks in the USA. These include Santa Anita Park, which has staged several editions of the Breeders Cup. With wagering on horse racing legal online and in person, the activity is a striking exception to the current law forbidding online sports betting in California.
No licensed American sportsbook is permitted to carry markets relating to the outcome of political events. This includes local, national and international elections, even Gavin Newsom odds. The restriction applies coast to coast.
In some states, regulated online and mobile sports betting operators are allowed to offer bets on popular awards ceremonies. In others, the activity is restricted. It will be fascinating to see whether or not California - home to the Academy Awards - permits wagering on such ceremonies.
Wagering on esports has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, it is not always permitted in states where sports betting has been legalized. It remains to be seen whether or not esports wagering will be allowed in California.
California is home to more than 70 card rooms. As the name suggests, these are premises where card games can be played - though some card rooms also host table games. Digital games such as online poker are not permitted, however. The card rooms generate revenues that run into hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
When the US Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in 2018, it opened the door for states to pass bills for legalized sports betting. While it was never likely that federal law would be passed, many states across the Union have since created commercial sports betting markets.
Several bills have been launched in California, both before and since that landmark Supreme Court decision. However, the fact that the only gambling currently permitted in the Golden State is at tribal casinos presented a considerable obstacle to legalization.
The tribal casinos launched a sports betting initiative (Prop 26) that went before voters in November 2022. This would have allowed sports retail betting in California at tribal casinos and racetracks - but not online.
Seven leading sportsbook operators are behind another proposed ballot measure (Prop 27) that would have allowed online gambling, administered by the tribes in conjunction with those big betting brands. This had more chance of getting on to the 2022 ballot than the other tribal initiative, or the one launched by the card rooms, but neither Prop 26 or Prop 27 passed.
When you consider the projected revenue of a commercial online and retail sports betting market in the Golden State, it helps to explain the urgency behind the search for viable solutions to the issue of legalization. It has been estimated that a mature online market could generate up to $3billion in annual sports betting revenue - which in turn should mean hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue for the state.
No decision has yet been made about the tax rate that for operators of California sportsbook. However, under the sportsbook-driven initiative that went before voters in November 2022, an initial license would cost $100 million, with a renewal fee every five years of $10 million.
This measure planned that 15% of tax revenues would go to non-participating tribes, with the balance going to homelessness initiatives. Moving forward, it is unknown what the tax rates may be in the next proposals.
California bettors may have questions on whether they will be taxed for betting on sports - and we have the answer! Check out our California gambling tax calculator for questions on gambling tax rates in the Golden State.
All forms of gambling in the Golden State are administered by the California Gambling Control Commission. This includes the licensing of card rooms and tribal casinos - and any future CA sports betting market.
Each state has its own regulations surrounding sportsbook partnerships. In some states, sportsbooks are forced to partner with an in-state entity in order to operate. For some states, this means partnering with retail casinos or horse racing tracks while other partnerships are struck with professional sports teams.
In the case of California, we should absolutely expect sportsbook operators to have to partner with the state's tribes in order to gain access to the market. With California tribes having a stranglehold on gaming across the state, there simply won't be sports betting in California without the tribe's approval.
If and when CA online sportsbooks are allowed to operate under license in the state, there should be a wide range of ways in which you can deposit money into your account. You should be able to wager with them with total peace of mind - sports betting and casino operators employ state-of-the-art security protocols to keep your financial and personal information completely safe. Among the banking methods available should be:
It is also important to check that your chosen sportsbook also offers a wide range of withdrawal methods if you want to get your hands on your winnings - and that it delivers the money back into your account as swiftly as possible.
Many people still enjoy the experience of retail sports betting. You are likely to be in the company of like-minded enthusiasts, and you can probably watch the events you wager on a big HD screen. Also, if you have a query about your bet, there should be a staff member on hand to help you.
However, increasing numbers of bettors relish the ability to wager through their mobile devices. Modern apps are incredibly user-friendly and enable you to access all the markets, features and bonuses available on the desktop version of the website. Most of all, though, you have the convenience of being able to place a bet wherever you are - at home, at work, on vacation, or traveling - without needing to journey to licensed premises.
Under current state laws, there is nowhere in California where it is legal to place bets on sports events. The only exceptions are horse racing, daily fantasy sports, and social sports betting sites like BetRivers.net. If you cannot wait until legalization happens, there are neighboring states where sports betting is permitted.
While offshore betting sites seem enticing, we strongly urge sports bettors to not use them. There are no protections for you as the consumer when it comes to your personal or banking information. Since there are no government agencies overseeing these operations, they can offer subpar odds, sell your personal information, and decide to not honor your withdrawal requests with no repercussions.
Although sports betting in California is not yet legal, it should happen eventually, especially after recent sports betting launches in other large states. It will take some time, but legal online sports betting, mobile sports betting and retail sportsbooks should arrive in the future, For now, it's just a waiting game.
All licensed apps and online California sportsbooks will promote responsible gambling. They should offer links to detailed information and advice about making sure your sports betting stays under control at all times.
There are also several local and national bodies with a presence in California that can offer support and practical assistance to people who fear their gambling is becoming a problem. They include: California Department of Justice, California Council on Problem Gambling, California Lottery and National Council of Problem Gambling.
No, sports betting is not legal in California. You are not allowed to place a bet on any sporting event in California, except horse racing. There were two sports betting initiatives that went on the ballot in California in November 2022, Prop 26 and Prop 27, but both measures failed to pass.
Since California has yet to legalize sports betting, it is not known what the minimum age for sports betting in California might be. In other states where legislation has already passed, the overwhelming majority of states set 21 as the minimum age to legally place bets.
At the moment, there are no California sportsbooks. It is unlikely that California sports betting will be legalized in 2024, so California residents will have to set their sights on 2026 at the earliest. Alternatives such as social casinos are currently available to residents in California in the meantime.
When California sports betting launches, you will not need to be a resident of the state to place wagers in the state. However, sports bettors will have to be physically located within state lines to be able to place a bet.
Since neither of the initiatives put before the California electorate in the ballot of November 2022 received a majority of votes, the launch of legalized sports betting in the state is unknown. It is clear that there are several high obstacles to clear before this hugely potentially lucrative market goes live.
No, legal California sports betting is still not available, whether it's online or in-person at retail sportsbooks. While there are some fantasy sports options available, legal California sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars Sportsbook have yet to launch in the state.
While we believe California will eventually legalize some form of online sports betting, the first attempt was not promising with voters resoundingly shutting down any chance of legalized sports betting - both online and retail. For sports fans in California who want to place bets on their favorite teams, it may be quite some time before you're able to do so.
Hunter Hewitt has been working in the sports betting industry for over two years combined, and has been gambling recreationally for over a decade. Hunter is an experienced writer, editor and marketing professional, and as a California-native currently based in Oakland, he's committed to providing the up-to-date, factual information for BetCalifornia.com.
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