Legal Sports Betting In California
Welcome to our California sports betting page, where you will find all the latest news and information about legal sports betting in California. There are no land based sportsbooks in the state, so there is no legal sports betting to do in person. With its proximity to Las Vegas though, California and Nevada enjoy a notable neighboring relationship, with millions of SoCal inhabitants driving across the border to gamble each year. Of all the states that don’t allow physical sports betting, California – by virtue of its geography – makes it the least objectionable one for eager bettors.
Of course, Californians needn’t drive through the Mojave Desert to partake in legal sports betting. The activity is completely legal when enjoyed online via various offshore sportsbooks. Internet-based sports betting is particularly popular in California, and sports betting comprises the most traffic of all such online casino/betting categories.
Below we will discuss the legal aspects of legal online sports betting and land based sports betting in California. We will explain all of the changes with laws and tell you what is legal and what is not.
Is Land Based Sports Betting Legal In California
There is no land based sports betting in CA even in the casinos. Because of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), land-based sports betting is illegal in California. If fact, only four states were “grandfathered” under PASPA to allow them to operate various kinds of sports betting systems. And of the original four (Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon), only Nevada offers comprehensive land-based sportsbooks.
However, there is a legal workaround that effectively makes land-based sports betting legal in California: the Internet! Due to the language of PASPA and other anti-sports-betting laws (including the Wire Act of 1961 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006), it is actually perfectly legal for anyone to place sports bets; it is only illegal for people to accept sports bets. If you simply sign up at one of the reputable, top-tier, online sportsbooks, you can bet on whatever sports you want from anywhere in California.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal In California
You bet it is. Remember, because of how US gambling laws are written, it is only against the law to accept a sports bet. It is 100 percent legal to place a sports bet, however, and you can do so online. I know what you’re thinking: if accepting sports bets is illegal, how do the online books get away with it?
It’s simple: All the reputable and reliable online sportsbooks are based overseas. This means that they operate under the jurisdiction of their home nations and are not beholden nor answerable to US domestic law. In fact, these sites are fully licensed and regulated by their countries’ governments, who take the multi-billion-dollar legal California sports betting business extremely seriously.
Where To Bet On Sports In California
If you live in California and wish to bet on sports, you basically have two options: You can make Al Gore cry by carbon-emitting your way to Las Vegas, or you can make Al Gore beam with pride by using his grandest invention – the Internet! – to hop over to one of the big online sportsbooks.
For my money, the latter is the better choice. Plus, you can put all the money you’ve saved on gas, food, booze, and hotels towards a few more sports bets, which is very likely to be a better investment anyways. (Just make sure to buy some huge diesel dually with your winnings; we don’t want Al Gore to get too full of himself.)
Where’s The Closest Place To Bet On Sports In California?
Wherever you have Wi-Fi or a decent cellular connection is the closest place for you to engage in legal California sports betting. Isn’t the future great? Yes, Californians are lucky in that Las Vegas is a relatively short drive or cheap fare away, but even dial-up is faster than an empty Interstate-15. So if speed and convenience are paramount, online sportsbooks are really the only way to go. But, if you must bet at a land based sportsbook, then Las Vegas will be your best bet, or some other small Nevada town just across the state border.
California Sports Betting Sites
California offers several casinos and horse tracks for your gaming pleasure, but none of these offer any stations or storefronts for sports gambling. The only sites that do offer such, of course, are online and overseas. If you decide to go the Internet route, there are really only a few places to trust for legal California sports betting: Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes.
These sportsbooks are established, reliable, secure, and have a singular focus on customer service. Each offers something a little bit different re user interface/experience, but they’re all absolutely worth your time and money. Yes, there are other online sportsbooks out there, but none is more highly regarded or better established than these four, and there’s no reason to take an undue risk on a lesser sportsbook. Bet on the game, not on your bookie.
California Sports Betting And Gambling Laws
As with most states, California has a complex web of regulations around gambling in general. Sports betting is legal online but banned on land, and with few exceptions, the same can be said for most casino games. Outside of Indian casinos, table games and house-banked card and dice games are illegal. On the other hand, player-banked card games are legal, which means that so-called “card rooms” can operate in the state and offer games like poker and blackjack.
Indian casinos in California are Class III facilities, meaning that they can be “Las Vegas style” in scope and provide slot machines, table games, and other game types. California also has a state lottery and horse tracks, though it is important to remember that pari-mutuel betting in California is limited to the ponies and that its racetracks do not offer other on-site games like slot machines. Charitable raffles and similar fundraisers are allowed.
Current Laws Going Through Congress: ACA 18
Future Of Legal And Regulated Sports Betting In California
California is poised to pass legislation at the state level legalizing sports betting in the near future, as it’s one of the few states that have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear New Jersey’s constitutional challenge against PASPA in early 2018. Still, the road towards regulated sports betting won’t be an altogether smooth ride.
As a neighbor to Nevada, California is home to some of Las Vegas’ highest traffic and highest rollers. Nevada’s ability to benefit from this proximity would be challenged by any expanded legalization of sports betting in the surrounding states, and it’s a sure thing that Las Vegas lobbyists are staying very busy on the west coast. Of course, financial considerations for California’s own state coffers are likely to trump any sweetheart deal that Las Vegas’ best can put forth. The future of legal California sports betting seems to be a sure thing.
What Teams Can I Bet On In California
As the most populous state in the US with over 40 million residents, California has a substantial presence in just about every professional, amateur, and college sports league there is. California teams have won championships in every single major league (professional and collegiate) represented. For sports fans, there is no better state than California.
For sports bettors, there is no better state than California, either. The teams you can bet on number in the several dozens, and there’s nonstop on-field and sportsbook action year-round. All of the teams listed below are represented in your online sportsbook of choice, which means you’ll always be able to bet for the home team. (Please note: California is losing one marquee franchise in the near future. Come the 2020 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders will be relocating to – where else, sports bettors? – Las Vegas, Nevada.)
Popular Pro + College Teams To Bet On In California
Anaheim Ducks (NHL) – California Golden Bears (NCAA) – Golden State Warriors (NBA) – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB) – Los Angeles Chargers (NFL) – Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) – Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) – Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) – Los Angeles Kings (NHL) – Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) – Los Angeles Rams (NFL) – Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA) – Oakland Athletics (MLB) – Oakland Raiders (NFL) – Sacramento Kings (NBA) – San Diego Padres (MLB) – San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA) – San Francisco 49ers (NFL) – San Francisco Giants (MLB) – San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – San Jose Sharks (NHL) – Stanford Cardinal (NCAA) – UCLA Bruins (NCAA) – USC Trojans (NCAA) –
Horse Racing Betting In California
Legalized in 1933, horse racing is fairly popular in the state, and the steady flow of horse racing betting in California is testament to that fact. With a half-dozen top-tier racetracks hosting several Grade 1 racing events each year, the state can run nose-and-nose with any other pony circuit in America. The Del Mar Race Track in particular has a storied past with ties to Hollywood’s Golden Age, having been partly sponsored by Paramount Studios and the star power of stars like Bing Crosby. These days, Del Mar maintains its popularity by hosting a sort of seven-week “spring break for adults.”
That said, California’s horse racing scene isn’t as robust as it once was, with local attendance down quite a bit since its peak several decades ago. Still, with the addition of simulcast pari-mutuel betting and satellite wagering facilities, more money is bet on the sport today than at any other time in its history. Please note that California horse tracks are not “racinos,” meaning you cannot play table games and slots at these locations.
Daily Fantasy Sports In California
Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS, has long been a bone of contention in California state congress. As it stands today, the legality of DFS – and how it aligns with the very definition of “gambling” – is an open question. Since DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel operate inside the state, they are not as immune from potential prosecution as, say, the online sportsbooks that make legal California sports betting a viable, safe activity. As a user, you yourself are not going to be prosecuted for playing in DFS leagues, but if you have money wrapped up in a service that is suddenly barred from state operation, it might be difficult to recover your investment.
That said, there is yearly DFS legislation that garners at least some meaningful support from California lawmakers. And while none of the pro-DFS bills have actually made their way to the governor’s desk, the limbo means that the biggest DFS services will continue to do business in the state for the foreseeable future. Plus, since California law defines gambling as requiring a “bet or wager,” DFS seems to be an unaddressed concept by definition: Cash and prize pools don’t overtly constitute bets or wagers. (Of course, California congress critters like Kevin de León don’t really care about definitions, so who knows?)
Does Draftkings Accept California Residents – Yes!!
Draftkings currently accepts California residents and that will not be changing anytime soon. Currently, there is no law on the books that forbids playing on DraftKings in California and that means they continue to accept players from the state. And that’s a very good thing, because DraftKings is the largest Daily Fantasy Sports service in the country, with over eight million active users. The company has no plans to pull out of the state, and it – along with its competitors – are actively lobbying California to formally legalize and regulate DFS as soon as possible. For now, it is not a crime to participate in DraftKings’ leagues, and California residents may do so with peace of mind.
Does Fanduel Accept California Residents – Yes They Do!!!
As with DraftKings, playing on FanDuel in California is also protected pending legislative clarification and Fanduel accepts California residents as of now. As DraftKings’ main competitor, FanDuel offers a similar experience and has a large chunk of market share to show for it. For newcomers, FanDuel is particularly good, given that its service is slightly more limited in sports offered, has a lower ceiling on its high stakes bet limits, and offers better sign-up bonuses than DraftKings.
FAQ’s About Legal Sports Betting In California
Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In California?
Insofar as fiat money is “real,” yes. Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes all take standard payment methods, including credit cards, personal checks, bank transfers, and various cryptocurrencies. That said, cash itself is not a viable option, as it’s never a good idea to send envelopes of the stuff through the mail. Especially the international mail.
Is Online Sports Betting Safe In California?
Yes. While you can be thrown in the clink for almost anything out west, California makes it a point not to harass or prosecute sports bettors. Provided you do not open your own sportsbook and accept other folks’ bets, the government has inexplicably made online sports betting safe in California. In fact, from a legal perspective, it’s probably one of the safest things you can do there.
Unless you live in Oakland. Nothing is safe in Oakland. Save yourself and follow the Raiders to Las Vegas.
Will Sports Betting In California Ever Be Legal?
California sure hopes so. They’re one of the few states to introduce preemptive legislation that would legalize sports betting in anticipation of PASPA’s elimination. Assemblyman Adam Gray proposed the amendment to the state constitution, and – though the various Indian casino operators may protest what they view as a revocation of their exclusive rights (it isn’t) – there’s a solid chance that California will do everything in its power to stop hemorrhaging taxable revenue across the border to Nevada.
If the Supreme Court overturns PASPA in early 2018 as hoped, California may well be one of the first American states to implement legalized and regulated sports gambling. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s a bet you should probably take.
Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In California?
You can get arrested for almost anything in California, but amazingly, sports betting is not one of them. The state is extremely liberal when it comes to private individuals and online gambling, presumably because it doesn’t wish to antagonize the producers behind the substantial, desperately-needed new revenue stream that sports betting in California is bound to become. California is taking the chance that sports bettors will help the state stay afloat (Al Gore and Arizona Bay notwithstanding).
What Is the Sports Betting Age In California?
While California has no specific laws on the books about sports betting, it is usually assumed that the legal age to participate in the pastime is the same as for other types of in-state gambling. Because the state’s horse tracks and Indian casinos have an 18-year-old minimum, this is considered to be the legal sports betting age in California.
However, for all practical purposes, the California age limit is actually 21. This is because most tracks and casinos in the state serve alcohol and thus can only allow patrons 21 years old and older to enter. Furthermore, some sportsbooks have a 21-year-old minimum as well. In the cases where a sportsbook and a state have different age requirements, the state’s always takes precedence. If there’s ever any confusion as to what your state’s rules are, err on the side of caution and assume that 21 is the minimum. You won’t be arrested for underage sports betting, but you may have a harder time collecting your winnings if your sportsbook finds out you’ve violated their terms of service.
Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In California?
Not really. If you search your iPhone’s App Store or Android’s Google Play market, you may find an app or two that promises to offer a real-money legal California sports betting experience. Unfortunately, these types of offerings are universally panned by bamboozled customers as shady scams and data harvesting tools for identity thieves. Do not download them.
All is not lost, however. All the major online sportsbooks know that mobile sports betting is important to you, and while they haven’t been able to launch official apps through official channels, they’ve still got you covered. Each of them offers specially-formatted, smartphone-optimized site layouts for their on-the-go clientele. Just visit the mobile version of your favorite online sportsbook website, save it to your home screen, and the so-called “web app” will always be there, ready to bet when you are. It’s way faster than using your browser and bookmark bar.
Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In California?
Since you can’t really place any in-person sports bets in the Golden State without effectively being part of an underground gambling ring (which sounds a lot more glamorous than it actually is – don’t ask me how I know that), the best place to bet on sports in California – like the best place to do almost everything else – is the Internet. A handful of reputable, reliable online sportsbooks makes this a fun, easy process. You don’t even have to put on your pants!
So which one is best? Well, each site has different strengths. For example, Bovada is the slickest and most respected of the bunch. On the other hand, BetOnline and SportsBetting are right up there, only they offer a more comprehensive menu of payment (and payout) options. And if weird prop bets and goofy parlays are your thing, 5Dimes can’t be beat.
Should I Use A Local Bookie In California?
Not under any circumstances. Remember, PASPA makes it illegal to accept bets, not place them. So even if you employ a local bookie in California and break zero laws doing so, your bookie is committing a potential slew of state and federal crimes.
Unless you want to be a part of whatever police procedural drama is being filmed in Hollywood that week, it’s advisable to simply stay out of the crossfire and limit your California sports betting to the Internet. Read more about betting with local bookies here to learn why you should not do it.
Do Any Casinos In California Have Sports Betting?
No. On-site sports betting is offered in only four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. And even then, only Nevada has a full menu of sports betting options. While PASPA is on shaky ground and is expected to be overturned or repealed, until it actually is, California residents will be limited to Las Vegas road trips or online sportsbooks to satisfy their legal sports betting needs.
Of course, if you want to toss some dice, flip some cards, or yank some cranks in addition to betting on sports, you can always go to one of California’s Indian casinos and fire up the mobile version of your favorite online sportsbook. Silicon Valley would be proud!
Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In California?
Surprisingly, yes. So-called “social gaming” is allowed under state law, giving private persons in private settings the right to legally participate in games of chance and other “controlled games” like poker and blackjack provided there is no house-banking mechanism in place.
While it is not explicitly stated in California’s legal code that sports betting is covered by the social gaming exemption, it serves to reason that it is. If an activity is not specifically defined as illegal, it can be objectively reasoned that such an activity remains legal. That said, it is advisable to keep such activities on a need-to-know basis with its participants; do not advertise private gaming on Facebook or anywhere else online or in print, and try not to discuss it openly in public. It’s just not worth the headache.