Online gambling is illegal in California. The state prohibits online poker, online sportsbooks, and online gambling.
However, Californian punters have a few options to enjoy. They include horse race betting, daily fantasy sports, sweepstakes online casino, and sweepstakes online poker. Betting in land-based casinos is legal and there are lots of licensed casinos.
The General Gambling Laws in California
The proximity of California to Nevada has made it a gambler’s haven. The state also has appealing gambling options including lotteries, card houses, and Native American casinos. Even though the increased penetration of the internet has expanded gambling options in most parts of the country, things are different in California. The state still doesn’t permit online gambling. Daily Fantasy Sports are the only type of legal online gambling. However, there are no specific laws about it.
In 1987, the United States Supreme Court prohibited California from banning gambling at tribal casinos. As such, it launched an era of casinos in California. Tribal casinos are the only options for players to enjoy slots and other traditional games.
Sports betting is illegal but Californians can enjoy horse race betting. It is one of the oldest types of betting in the state. However, trends suggest that the state may soon legalize sports betting. There have been legislations pushing for the legalization of sportsbooks in the state.
Online Casinos in California
California has not legalized online casinos yet. However, players can still access online casino sites. They can sign up and deposit money. However, placing bets on online casinos within the state lines is illegal and may attract penalties.
The state does not seem ready to legalize online gambling at the moment. The federal government won’t meddle so California is responsible for regulating operators, passing legislation, and issuing licenses for online casinos. Learn about California online gambling in detail here.
Online Horse Race Betting
When punters think of online betting, horse racing is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, things are different in California. Online horse race betting is unique to the betting scene of the state. It is land-based and happens on four tracks: Los Alamitos Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, and Del Mar Racetrack.
Californians can bet remotely on their favorite races in these tracks. The best horse racing sites include BetAmerica, TVG, and TwinSpires. Each one hosts a variety of events that cover the entire globe. Along with all the tracks in the country, the sites also cover races in Southeast Asia and Australia.
These sites are popular for their convenience. Players no longer need to travel to a track when they want to place a bet. They have attractive promotions and loyalty programs.
Horse racing sites are a lot like traditional sportsbooks. Placing a bet on these sites feels like visiting a track. Players can win anything from small amounts on micro bets to huge payouts on long-shot bets.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports may not be legal in California but it isn’t illegal either. Californians can play Daily Fantasy Sports just like in most states. Operators argue that it is based on skill rather than luck. Therefore, playing daily fantasy sports is not gambling and it does not violate the law.
In 2015, the state started making deliberations to legalize daily fantasy sports. The California Assembly passed a bill attempting to regulate, tax, and legalize it in 2016. However, they did not act on it. The question of whether DFS is skill or luck-based is still hotly debated in the Golden State. However, the state has the broadest market for DFS.
There are over 120,000 active players, and they make up ten percent of all entries in the United States. California is sitting on a rich daily fantasy market and it is a shame that the state hasn’t regulated it yet. The main DFS operators include DraftKings and FanDuel.
Online Sports Betting
Online sportsbooks are illegal in California. The state does not permit land-based sportsbooks either. Sports betting has been illegal since 1992. It was made illegal under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Californians that wish to bet on sports must travel to New Jersey, Nevada, or other states where sports betting is permitted. Fortunately, the drive to Nevada isn’t too far for most people.
Online Poker in California
Even though online poker is illegal in California, fans have some hope. The state is likely to legalize it soon. In 2020, the state legislature had a bill seeking to legalize online poker. However, the coronavirus outbreak interrupted the discussions. Currently, players can only enjoy poker at retail casinos.
Southern California is the world’s capital for land-based poker. It is one of the few parts of the United States where poker has been legal since the 1930s. The region attracts all sorts of players from the local high-rollers to international players. It is unfortunate that they cannot play online.
Playing the Lottery Online
Californians cannot enjoy the lottery online. However, there is a downloadable app where they can check if their tickets won. The app does not have purchase or play options. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. In 2019, for example, the state launched a promotion that would offer a ‘second chance’.
Players could log into the app after buying their tickets and get another chance to try their luck and possibly win. This promotion helped two people win more than a million dollars. However, it is impossible to buy a ticket using the app. There are lots of local retailers who sell these tickets.
California Online Bingo
There are lots of great Bingo parlors in California. While most of them offer physical prizes, others have payouts in thousands in dollars. Online bingos that offer real-money prizes are illegal in the state. The sites are strictly limited to sweepstakes.
Sweepstakes sites may offer online poker and online casino games for cash winnings. Players can enjoy their favorite games including roulette, craps, and blackjack. With sweepstakes, players get free play after signing up. Mail-in entries may receive extra credit.
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