California, the Golden State, has tried to regulate online sports betting multiple times in the past. As the biggest state in the US by far, it’s inclusion in the legal online sports betting landscape would mean an approximate $2.5 billion sports betting market. However, the state is heavily dominated by tribal casinos and the political landscape is complicated, which means that the efforts to legalize online sports betting in California have met great opposition.
For now, all online betting is made on offshore casinos or on Daily Fantasy Sports, which is legal since it hasn’t been classified as real money gambling. While online sports betting isn’t prohibited, it is not expressly regulated either, which makes online sports betting in California a grey area at best. For such a big state, we hope that California will get a regulated market in the near future.
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How to Bet on Sports in California
There are a few legal ways to bet on sports in California, but none of them are optimal for sports fans. Firstly, you can bet on horse racing at tribal owned casinos and horse racing establishments. For this, the age limit is 18 years old, and you need to physically go to the casino or horse track to place your bet. Secondly, you can bet on Daily Fantasy Sports. DFS is not regarded as online gambling and is not explicitly prohibited anywhere in California.
The other, more serious, sports betting alternative is to actually drive to Las Vegas which is a fairly close destination. As the gambling capital in the world, Las Vegas offers casino games and sports betting in their casinos, and it is a simple weekend destination if you are interested in sports betting in California.
When and if online sports betting will become legalized in the Golden State operators such as BetMGM, DraftKings and William Hill, together with all the other major online sportsbooks, are likely to apply for CA online sports betting licenses.
California Online Sports Betting updates
While industry experts say that there won’t be any change in California sports betting legislation soon, there has been some developments recently. Here are some of the latest updates:
California Sports Betting Hearing – January 8th, 2020
On January 8th, California took a great leap towards opening up the discussion about legal sports betting in the Golden State. The Joint Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization Committees held a meeting in the state capital, where they invited industry experts to discuss what a legal California sports betting market could look like.
Research expert Chris Grove said that the California market could be worth $2.5 billion per year given that mobile sports betting would be included. However, Grove tweeted after the hearing that he could “feel” the obstruction in the room, and that he didn’t believe that California would legalize online sports betting in the near future.
Tribal Casinos File Sports Betting Authorisation Ballot Measure – November 2019
A coalition of 18 tribes put in a ballot measure that would legalise sports betting subject to state-wide approval. The measure would authorise sports betting and horse wagering at tribal casinos with a 10% tax rate on gross win. This measure would not include mobile betting.
Sports Betting Legislation Introduction – June, 2019
Adam Gray and Senator Bill Dodd introduced the constitutional amendment bill ACA 16, to the legislature. The bill would authorise sports betting subject to state-wide voter approval. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association opposed the regulation of sports betting until their monopoly on card games was restored.
Sports Betting Amendment Proposal – July, 2017
Adam Gray proposed an amendment to authorise sports betting in California provided that PASPA would be repealed. The amendment would be accepted subject to a two-thirds majority vote before it could be placed on a ballot for the next referendum.
Daily Fantasy Sports Authorization – January 2016
Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced the AB 1437 bill that regulated and authorised Daily Fantasy Sports. The bill passed unanimously in January 2016 and have regulated DFS since.
What kinds of sports betting are legal in California?
As of now, there are only two types of sports betting available in California: Pari-mutuel Horse Wagering and Daily Fantasy Sports.
Pari-mutuel Horse Wagering
Pari-mutuel wagering pools all bets made on a race and distributes winnings from the pool. This is currently the only way of real money sports betting in California.
Daily Fantasy Sports
DFS is not regulated as interactive gaming, and is therefore not prohibited in California. This makes it possible to bet on sports, without the element of real money. This is a good choice for players that are interested in other sports than horse racing.
The future of sports betting in California
There is an interesting battle going on for the sports betting legalisation in California. Both the state and the native tribes in the state are keen to get exclusive rights to sports betting,
and the coalition of tribes that proposed a measure in November 2019 might be the closest option at the moment. However, since they didn’t include mobile betting in their bill, the market size would not reach the $2.5 billion that is up for grabs. The question remains unanswered until further proceedings from the legislature, but as any bill would need a supermajority of two-thirds, there will be a lot of legislative work to form a consensus before we will see any real progress.
Yes, gambling is legal at Tribal Casinos, card establishments and horse tracks. There is also a legal state lottery in California.
The only legal sports betting in California is pari-mutuel horse wagering and Daily Fantasy Sports, which there is no prevention from at the moment.
Yes, at tribal casinos
Yes, there is no legislation prohibiting DFS