California Online Gambling Guide 2024

Current Trends and Future Outlook in California Online Gambling

California online gambling takes place entirely in the offshore gaming market. As the largest state population in the United States, that means a huge section of American gamblers visit offshore online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks to gamble online. It didn’t have to be so. In fact, no state has discussed online poker legislation more than Californians have. To illustrate California’s interest, an online sports betting bill was on the ballot as recently as 2022.

Keep reading our guide to California online gambling to learn how the current laws came to be. First, get an overview of California gambling laws. Second, read a timeline of the Golden State’s many debates over poker sites and bad actor laws. Next, learn about the best land-based casinos and card clubs in the state. Finally, read about and play at the best real-money online casinos and sportsbooks for California gamblers.

Key Takeaways

  • Current Legal Status: California allows various forms of land-based gambling but has not legalized online gambling within the state.
  • Offshore Gambling: Many Californians use offshore online casinos and sportsbooks to place bets.
  • Failed Legislation: Numerous bills have been proposed to legalize online poker and sports betting, but none have passed.
  • Tribal Influence: The influence of tribal gaming interests is a significant factor in the state’s gambling legislation.

Recent Developments: Prop 26 and Prop 27 Defeated in 2022

In November 2022, Californians voted against Proposition 26 and Proposition 27, which aimed to legalize retail and online sports betting, respectively. Proposition 26 would have allowed sports betting at tribal casinos and commercial race tracks, while Proposition 27 proposed the legalization of online and mobile sports betting. Despite significant campaigning and financial investments, both measures were decisively rejected by voters.

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Is Online Gambling Legal in California?

Yes, California residents can legally play for real money at offshore online casinos. While California does not regulate online casinos, it is not illegal for residents to gamble online at these sites.

California Gambling Laws Overview

  • Licensed Gambling:
    • Land-Based Casinos (Tribal)
    • Poker Clubs (Commercial)
    • Pari-Mutuel Race Tracks
    • Charitable Bingo Halls
    • Lottery Betting
  • Minimum Gambling Age:
    • 21 (Casinos and Card Clubs)
    • 18 or 21 (Offshore Online Gambling)
  • Retail Sports Betting: No
  • Online Casinos: Yes, at offshore sites
  • Online Poker: Yes, at offshore cardrooms
  • Online Sports Betting: Yes, at offshore bookmakers
  • Live/In-Game Betting: Yes
  • College Sports Betting: Yes
  • Horse Racing: Land-Based (Yes), Offshore (Yes)
  • Lottery Betting: State Lottery, Powerball, Mega Millions

Timeline of California Online Poker Bills

  • Online Poker in 2023: California remains distant from licensed online poker.
  • November 2022: Defeat of Propositions 26 and 27.
  • April 2020: Closure of California casinos due to COVID-19 halted discussions.
  • February 2017: Reggie Jones-Sawyer supported the Internet Poker Protection Act.
  • December 2016: Mike Gatto proposed AB9.
  • February 2016: Introduction of AB167 by Jones-Sawyer.
  • March 2015: Reggie Jones-Sawyer reintroduced AB2291.
  • February 2015: Lou Correa reintroduced SB1366.
  • September 2014: Roderick Wright resigned.
  • August 2014: Lou Correa sponsored SB1366.
  • March 2014: Reggie Jones-Sawyer presented AB2291.
  • February 2013: Senator Lou Correa introduced SB678.
  • February 2013: Reintroduction of SB1485; divisions among tribes emerged.
  • January 2012: Revised version of SB1485 was sponsored by COPA.
  • February 2010: Senator Roderick Wright proposed the first online poker bill (SB1485).

California Tribes Squabble Over Online Poker

  • February 2013: Introduction of Online Poker Bill by Lou Correa: Next, Senator Lou Correa introduced Senate Bill 678, supported by the Morongo Tribe and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
  • March 2014: Reggie Jones-Sawyer Presents AB 2291: Subsequently, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer presented the California Online Poker Bill 2014, also known as AB2291.
  • August 2014: Modified Online Poker Bill Proposed by Lou Correa: Afterward, Senator Lou Correa sponsored Senate Bill 1366. In doing so, Correa sought to reconcile the differences between the Morongo and Pechanga factions.
  • September 2014: Roderick Wright Resigns from Office: Then Roderick Wright resigned from office, resulting in the loss of a prominent advocate for online poker in California.
  • February 2015: Introduction of 2015 Online Poker Bill by Lou Correa: Following this, Sen. Lou Correa reintroduced SB 1366, but the bill struggled to gain support.
  • March 2015: AB 2291 Reintroduced by Reggie Jones-Sawyer: Later, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer sponsored the California Online Poker Bill 2017, a reintroduction of AB 2291. And again, it failed to gain approval.
  • February 2016: Introduction of AB 167 by Reggie Jones-Sawyer: Next, Jones-Sawyer supported a modified online poker bill, but tribal politics posed obstacles.
  • December 2016: Assembly Bill 9 Proposed by Mike Gatto: Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced his online poker bill, AB 9, but it was unsuccessful.
  • February 2017: Introduction of Internet Poker Protection Act: Reggie Jones-Sawyer supported the Internet Poker Protection Act of 2017. After losing momentum, he proposed a cooling-off period in 2018 and 2019, suggesting the possibility of a new California iPoker bill in 2020.

Timeline of California Sports Betting Bills

  • May 2018: Repeal of PASPA by US Supreme Court: The US Supreme Court repealed PASPA, which had regulated federal sports betting laws for 25 years. Although it didn’t directly impact gambling laws, it created opportunities for states to license online and mobile sports betting. Some hoped this would help resolve the legal barriers surrounding online poker.
  • April 2020: Closure of California Casinos due to COVID-19: At the time, the closure of land-based casinos in California during the COVID-19 pandemic halted discussions on California online poker.
  • November 2022: Proposition 26 Defeated: Soon, Native American gaming authorities sought to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos and four commercial race tracks. In the end, the bill was defeated in a statewide vote by a 70% to 30% margin.
  • November 2022: Proposition 27 Defeated: Simultaneously, they backed a bill to legalize online and mobile sports betting. California residents voted 83% to 17% to reject the proposal.
  • Online Poker in 2023: Henceforth, five years after Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s proposed cooling-off period, California seems further away from licensed online poker than at any time in the past ten years.

Best Land-Based Casinos in California

Undeniably, California is known for its tribal casinos. The Golden State has over 120 land-based casinos owned by an array of tribal gaming authorities. Nevertheless, these are massive resorts that rival Las Vegas and Macau for the sheer number of gaming options. Since it’s such a huge state, land-based casinos are spread far and wide.

In brief, here is a small selection of the biggest and best tribal casinos in California.



Gaming Available

Pechanga Resort & Casino Temecula 5057 slot machines, 198 table games, bingo hall, racebook
Yaamava Resort San Manuel 4700 slot machines, 130 table games
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa Cabazon 4000 slot machines, 80 table games, 10 poker tables
Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln 3500 slot machines, 100 table games, poker room
Cache Creek Casino Resort Brooks (80 Miles from San Francisco) 2900 slot machines, 120 table games, 10 poker tables
Barona Casino & Resort Lakeside 2540 slot machines, 112 table games, 15 poker tables
Chumash Casino Resort Saint Ynez 2484 slot machines, 61 table games, bingo hall
Viejas Casino & Turf Club Alpine 2374 slot machines, 50 table games, racebook
Pala Casino Spa & Resort Pala 2050 slot machines, 85 table games, bingo hall
Table Mountain Casino Friant 2000 slot machines, 33 table games
Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage Rancho Mirage 1450 slot machines, 58 table games, poker room
Chukchansi Gold Coarsegold 1800 slot machines, 36 table games
Harrah’s Resort Southern California Valley Center 1600 slot machines, 60 table games, poker room
Spotlight 29 Casino Coachella 1441 slot machines, 15 table games

What is Considered a “Bad Actor” in California’s Online Poker Debates?

As per the Pechanga faction and its legal representatives, a “bad actor” refers to a poker company that engaged in dishonest practices during the years when the US government’s stance on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) included a prohibition on online poker. Between January 2007 and April 2011, certain poker sites accepted real money wagers from American players. Pechanga’s lobbyists argued bad actors were aware that the US deemed online poker an illegal activity. Thus, they disregarded federal law.

The bad actor clause states any poker site that acted in bad faith after UIGEA should be banned from California’s online poker. Alternatively, these companies could face a suspension for a specific number of years and be required to pay a substantial fine. Furthermore, the fine would be in the eight-figure range before being permitted to be a California-licensed online poker site. Certainly, PokerStars was the last active poker company that fell under this definition. In brief, this caused the perception that the proposed legislation aimed at banning PokerStars.

Ultimately, since both sides were unable to reach an agreement regarding the bad actor provision, all attempts to legalize online poker in California failed.

Best Poker Clubs in California
Best Poker Clubs in California

In spite of the competition, California also has several famous poker clubs. These have flourished despite attempts by tribal gaming interests to limit the amount and types of gaming available to them. However, several of the card clubs, especially in the Las Angeles area, host major professional poker events throughout the year.

Hence, here are the best California poker clubs.

Poker Club City

Poker Gaming Available

Bicycle Casino Bell Gardens 185 card tables
The Gardens Casino Gardena 184 card tables, WPT Gardens Championship
Commerce Casino Commerce 150 card tables, WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Hollywood Park Casino Inglewood 51 card tables
Hustler Casino Gardena 50 card tables
Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Gardena 18 card tables
Bay 101 Casino San Jose 49 card tables
Artichoke Joe’s Casino San Bruno 51 card tables
500 Club Casino Clovis 20 card tables
California Grand Casino Pacheco 19 card tables
Bankers Casino Salinas 11 poker tables
Ace & Vine Club Napa 9 card tables
Cameo Club Stockton 8 poker tables
California Club Casino Pacheco 5 card tables

Best Online Casinos in California

In short, California has balked at licensing online poker and sports betting. What often gets overlooked is the lack of licensed California online casino sites. Once again, the land-based casino interests don’t want Californians to have another way to enjoy casino games.

Despite that, huge numbers of California players joined offshore online casinos and play for real money each year. Thus, here are the best California online casinos that allow real money play.


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California Online Gambling FAQ

  • Is online poker legal in California?

    • No, California has not legalized online poker. However, residents can play at offshore sites.
  • What are the best land-based casinos in California?

    • Some of the top casinos include Pechanga Resort & Casino, Yaamava Resort, and Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.
  • Why did California voters reject online sports betting in 2022?

    • Voters were concerned about the potential impact on local communities and the influence of wealthy tribes and gambling companies.
  • Can Californians play the lottery online?

    • No, the state lottery is only available through traditional retail outlets.