Casinos for you
CaliforniaCalifornia, known as a sunny, vacation state has a range of restrictions on most forms of gambling. When it comes to online gambling, the state has not yet caught up with technological change.
Land Based GamblingAllowed in Casino, Poker, Bingo, Lottery, Horse Racing Online GamblingAllowed in DFS Min Age18-21 Number of Land Based Casinos163 Number of Poker Rooms114 Number of Indian Casinos62 Popular Land Based CasinosHarrah’s, Rincon, Pechanga Commerce, Bicycle and Hawaiian Gardens Pari-MutuelYes Smoking BanNone Estimated Tax Revenue from Gambling$280M Estimated Gambling Revenue$1.3B
Land Based Gambling
Regulated Since: 1992
Gambling Age: 21
Regulated Since: 1850
Gambling Age: 21
Regulated Since: 1984
Gambling Age: 18
Regulated Since: 1984
Gambling Age: 18
Regulated Since: 1933
Gambling Age: 0
Online Sports Betting
Regulated Since: 0
Gambling Age: 0
OverviewCalifornia, known as a sunny, vacation state has a range of restrictions on most forms of gambling. When it comes to online gambling, the state has not yet caught up with technological change.
California is one of the most populated states in America with nearly 40 million people living there. This sunny state is often seen as the ideal vacation state known for its carefree way of life. When it comes to gambling activities, this is not the case as there are many strict rules and regulations in place.
According to California’s Penal Code, Section 30 “Every person who has in his or her possession any … machine, contrivance, appliance or mechanical device, upon the result of action of which money or other valuable thing is staked or hazarded … is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
The only legal forms of gambling within the state includes state-licensed card rooms, tribal casinos on Native American land, the California Lottery, race betting and charity gambling. In the card rooms, you will find card-based games which include modified versions of blackjack known as ‘California 21’ and Poker.
Poker is not considered a gambling game hence it doesn’t fall under gambling restrictions, the Blackjack variant, however, has been modified to the point where it no longer resembles the original. As long as the house doesn’t pay or takes the player’s funds the games remain legal. These card rooms offer entertainment but are far from the traditional casinos you’d expect to visit.
Luckily the tribal casinos offer some relief offering Vegas-style casino games including slot machines, video poker and a limited range of table games. At the tribal casinos, there is a proper selection of poker rooms and bingo halls as well as many off-track betting opportunities.
The California Lottery was established to collect funds for state necessities including school funds, the lottery expanded to include major multi-state drawings including the Mega Millions and Powerball. You will also find several charity gambling activities and social gambling activities which are 100% legal within the state. It remains within the scope of the legislation as long as the host of the games doesn’t get any profit from it.
In more recent years California has legalised Daily Fantasy Sports and currently, they are trying to legalise sports betting. Things are not what they seem in this golden state as politics are making it more difficult to expand the gaming scene within the state.
California, the golden state, a place where people go to ease their troubled minds and have fun. This is what many think of when they see the name California. For gamblers, however, California is a place filled with restrictions, a place with a rich and interesting gambling history.
The first step towards any gambling legislation was taken in 1933 when California joined several other states to legalise and regulate pari-mutuel horse racing. The reason behind the legalisation was to generate revenue during the Great Depression. In 1976, charitable bingo games were authorized and allowed within the state.
In 1984 California officials published their regulations for state-licensed card rooms. In this time they had also completed the structures for the gaming entities that had existed in California since the Gold Rush. This very year was also the start of the California Lottery operations. Which became one of the largest lottery operations in the world.
Raffle games were approved by lawmakers in 2000. In 2001 Native America Casinos were given the green light. And in the next two decades, the tribal casino industry within California grew to become the biggest within the country.
Charitable events especially poker fundraising nights was approved in 2007. The poker fundraising nights were approved under the same constraints as raffle games (2000) and bingo games (1976).
In 2012 there was a push to legalize online poker for real money which failed in the statehouse. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the federal sports betting ban which led to backed beginning a campaign to get sports betting approved in California. After nearly two years California has started hearings in hope to legalise sports betting later in 2020. There are some major conflicts as it appears state tribes will gain exclusivity over sports betting within the state.
California has however legalised daily fantasy sports which is not considered a sport or a form of online betting. It appears that while the state desperately wants to open their doors to online gambling, sports betting and other gambling activities the biggest deterrent is the difficult politics. If California accepts the proposal form the coalition of the state’s tribes provided last November, the tribes would have exclusivity resulting in a big loss for the state.
California is among the strictest states in the US ensuring that all laws and regulations are adhered to. They have a number of regulatory bodies that keep legal gambling activities running smoothly and ensuring all licensed operators remain lawful. The authorities in place are focused on set legal gambling elements ensuring dedication and focus.
All forms of legal gambling activities within California is regulated by the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC). This state regulatory body has licensing and regulatory authority over all gaming operators, third-party providers and tribal casinos.
The CGCC’s main focus is on issuing licenses and developing and implementing regulations under the Gambling Control Act. They also work with the Native American tribes to ensure state funds for tribal gambling and develop additional regulations that are consistent with the state-tribe compacts.
It should be noted that each tribe running a casino on its reservation has a separate gaming commission that oversees all casino operations on the land.
On top of all this, the Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Gambling Control is responsible for enforcing gambling laws and regulations. This includes conducting investigations to any party applying for a gambling license, conducting compliance investigations, reviewing the rules of all games and gaming activities in all state card rooms and managing the self-exclusion program from problem gambling provided by the state.
All Horse Racing and pari-mutuel sport betting activities are regulated by the California Horse Racing Board. And the only authorized lottery in the state is the California Lottery. Lastly, each municipality has the authority to license and enforce authority over traditional bingo games within their regions.
All licenses must be renewed bi-annually and there is a cost of US$1,000 to be paid upon each renewal. The minimum age to gamble in California is 18 but some only allow those aged 21 and over to comply with state laws on alcohol. Thus, you can gamble legally at age 18 but some casinos won’t allow you access if they serve alcohol.
As online gambling is not legal in the state there are no licensing or regulatory bodies in place for this form of gambling activity within the state of California.
Casinos and Gambling Facilities in California Gambling?
FAQIs online gambling legal in California?No, some legal betting options are available online but online casinos and sportsbooks are illegal.Is online sports betting legal in California?No, the only legal options include pari-mutuel betting on horse racing.Is Daily Fantasy Sports betting legal in California?Yes, Daily Fantasy Sports are legal in the state and offered by sites like FanDuel and DraftKings to name a few.Minimum age requirement for legal gambling in California?You must be 18 years or older to enter a casino legally. Most casinos push the age restriction to 21 to comply with alcohol laws.Is poker legal in California?Yes, there are over 100 poker rooms available in California.What is the difference between tribal casinos and state-licensed card rooms?Card rooms offer poker and other card games with no real casino game effect and games are not house-banked. Tribal casinos offer Vegas-style games including slot machines, bingo rooms and video poker.Is there a state lottery in California?Yes, the state lottery started in 1983 and there is also the option to partake in multi-state lotteries such as the Powerball and Mega Millions.Is card and table games legal in California?No, game such as craps and roulette are considered illegal, however you can find video versions of the games on tribal lands.Is horse race betting legal in California?Yes, you can place bets at multiple race tracks. Horse race betting has been legal since 1933.Will the Sports Betting Bill be implemented in 2020?Only if enough petitions are signed. The current laws protect the interests of Tribal Casinos which give them full power over the current sports betting possibilities in the state.