Is Online Gambling Legal in California?
Yes. It just depends on the type of online gambling you’re talking about. But, any way you slice it, there are plenty of ways to legally gamble online in California.
Then, that leads to the question: Is gambling legal in California in-person, too? Again, yes, although the list of options currently does not include California sports betting.
We will detail all the ways you can legally gamble in California throughout this website, providing in-depth insight and tips and suggestions for the best way to have responsible gambling fun.
Online Gambling California: Best CA Online Gambling Sites
Available in California
Small minimum purchases make this great for low-stakes participation One of the best legal online gambling options in California Excellent mobile functionality for desktop version
Only offers a low-quality lite version as an app
Available in California
Your bonuses get more rewarding the more you level up Best legal online gambling in California for slots games
Best game variety among all online gambling options in California
No iOS app
Available in California
Can get extra promos if you get friends to sign up Offers the most amount of games for California players (more than 400)
- Enticing VIP rewards program with six levels
Lots of slots, but limited selection of table games
Available in California
Many novices use the site, so your competition will likely be at your level Best legal California online gambling option for poker Secondary purchase bonus option makes largest CA online gambling promo offer
Cash prize redemption speed can lag behind other sites
Available in California
Great ongoing promotions, including Premium Points giveaways Features a low cash prize minimum to redeem New website makeover makes for more enjoyable online gambling experience
Doesn’t have a mobile app or table games
Available in California
Only online hybrid of horse racing gambling and casino gambling in California Welcome bonus is low-pressure, low-risk — use promo code BONUS10 Truly one-of-a-kind method of determining gambling winnings
Limited game selection compared to competitors
Is Gambling Legal in California?
As of February 2023, these are the ways to legally gamble in-person and online in California.
We’ll break down all of these options in detail throughout this site. Eventually, Californians may be able to gamble with real money on sports as well. And we’ll break that down in detail, too — including the potential California sportsbook bonuses residents will eventually see.
California has 66 Indian casinos owned by 63 tribes. In total, they generate roughly $9 billion in annual revenue. They offer slot machines, table games, poker, bingo, a place to watch the game, and more.
Residents are legally allowed to play online slots and table games at social casinos, or sweepstakes casinos, where the game currency is fake but it can be redeemed for real cash prizes.
California is the West Coast horse racing gambling capital, with several of the country’s premier racetracks. You can gamble in-person, off-track, or via a handful of online horse gambling apps.
If you want to play poker, find regular cash games and tournaments at California card rooms and many of the state’s Indian casinos. You can also play poker online via the social poker site Global Poker.
Although real-money sports gambling is still illegal in California, residents can play pick’em style DFS games with many DFS operators in the state.
Daily Fantasy Sports
California sports fans can put their knowledge to the test with daily fantasy sports. Many DFS contests are free to enter. And both the free and paid contests can lead to real-money winnings.
Anyone 18 and older can buy California Lottery tickets at 23,000 statewide retail locations. There’s a wide variety of games to choose from, including MEGA Millions, Daily Derby, and Scratchers.
California Gambling: Indian Casinos
California’s casino gambling industry is among the most lucrative in the US. All 66 casinos exist on reservation land and are owned by 63 Indian tribes.
More are on the way, too, with 10 projects either in the planning or construction phases.
The casinos that already exist are largely concentrated in both Riverside and San Diego counties, which between them include 22. Of the 10 largest California casinos, six are in Southern California and four are in Northern California. All 66 bring in close to $9 billion in annual revenue.
Gamblers can play slots, table games, poker, and bingo at Indian casinos. Some offer thousands upon thousands of gaming options in sprawling gaming floors, while others have just a few hundred slots and table games in a more intimate setting.
If you’re looking for an online poker gambling option, check out our online poker California page to learn more about the best option in the state.
Best California Indian Casinos
|Pechanga Resort Casino
|Features 5,400 slot machines, 152 table games, a 38-table poker room, and 200,000 square feet of gaming space — plus 20 restaurants and bars, over 1,000 guest rooms, and 13 pools and spas.
|Graton Resort & Casino
|A massive gambling mecca about 50 miles north of San Francisco. Offers 3,000 slots, 144 table games, a 20-table poker room, and 317,750 square feet of gaming space — plus a 200-room hotel.
|Harrah's Northern California Casino
|A smaller casino that packs tons of entertainment in its 850 slot machines and 20 table games. Just 47 miles southeast of Sacramento.
|Yaamava' Resort & Casino
|The largest casino in California. Features 7,000 slot machines, 150 table games, 38 poker tables, and 290,000 square feet of gaming space, plus 17 restaurants and bars.
California Gambling: Card Rooms
Some of the best card rooms in the country are California card rooms. As of February 2023, there are 59 card rooms operating in the state. An additional 25 have licenses but are inactive. Most feature poker, which is one of the biggest draws for these establishments. All are well-regulated to ensure fair play.
You can find most major types of poker within these card rooms, including Texas and Omaha hold’em and seven-card stud. Many also contract with third-party vendors to offer legal variations of table games, including blackjack.
Although the legal gambling age in California is 18, card rooms are 21+ because they serve alcohol.
Best Card Rooms in California
|Bicycle Hotel and Casino
|185 poker tables, daily tournament schedule with buy-ins ranging from around $30 to above $90, hosts LA Poker Series tournaments.
|Largest card room in the world with more than 270 tables, free poker lessons Tuesdays and Wednesdays, hosts Los Angeles Poker Classic.
|Offers 14 different game varieties spread across 49 tables, along with more than 100 TVs to watch sports.
|Lucky Chances Casino
|A 60-table card room with nine different games offered, plus jackpots for Texas hold'em, Omaha hi-lo, and 7-card stud.
California Gambling: Horse Racing
California horse race gambling is arguably the best of any state in the US, especially because it has some of the oldest tracks in the country. The first track was built in 1858. However, these days, there are four main racetracks that host the majority of racing events in California.
You can legally gamble on horse races in-person at the racetrack, online, or via any of the 29 off-track gambling locations in California.
Horse race gambling is the only type of California gambling that is legal online and in-person.
Where to Watch Horse Racing in California
|Santa Anita Park
|Famous horses like Seabiscuit and Zenyatta have raced at this track before. Santa Anita Park has a long history of hosting famous World Cups or other tournaments.
|Del Mar Racetrack
|Recently hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2017. Beyond horse racing, it’s a big part of the San Diego-area community since it hosts summer concerts, county fairs, and other events all the time.
|Golden Gate Fields
|Features a new tapeta racing surface and an abundance of entertaining and fine dining options. All-American tournaments and breathtaking views of the Bay Area make this venue a wonderful track to visit at least once.
|Los Alamitos Race Course
|Renovated in 2014, it features nighttime quarter horse racing and thoroughbred daytime racing throughout select months of the year, and notable events like local derbies and high-stakes tournaments are common.
Online Gambling California: Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
Sports gamblers looking for a legal way to get in on the action in California should look to daily fantasy sports, or DFS.
DFS is basically the same as traditional fantasy sports, but on a short-term level. It’s simple: Pick your lineup every day or week for major professional sports leagues and college sports, and hope your selections perform well.
Here’s an interesting wrinkle, though: DFS is technically not legal or illegal in California. It just exists. But in today’s world, that in effect is the same thing as legal, as DFS companies face no barriers when it comes to offering their gambling platforms in California.
So, yes, DFS operators have been in California for years, and they will be for years to come.
Best DFS Apps in California
|Claim $20 free on deposit + 20% deposit match up to $500
|Claim free entry to Big Game Contest you play $1
|Claim bonus entry up to $100
|Claim 100% deposit match up to $100
California established the California Lottery in the 1984 election, when voters passed a ballot measure to start one. Since then, the California Lottery has hatched many games to play, including MEGA Millions, Fantasy 5, Super Lotto Plus, Daily Derby, and Scratchers.
As of February 2023, you cannot purchase lottery tickets or scratchers online. You can’t even claim your winnings online. You can, however, submit your code online for the Second Chance promotion, where non-winning scratchers qualify for a $15,000 prize.
In terms of buying tickets or claiming winnings, you can only do all of that at certified Lottery retailers in California. Those 23,000 statewide locations include just about any gas station, pharmacy, or convenience store you can imagine.
Out of every dollar spent on the California Lottery, 95 cents go toward funding public schools and colleges, as well as prizes and retail compensation.
Latest California Gambling News
For all news related to California gambling, casinos, sports gambling, legislation, and everything in between, head to our California gambling news page.
Below, we’ll have a running updates section on what California’s Indian casinos and card rooms are up to. These will be brief updates, though. Again, for all details and more information, head to our news section.
- Global Poker Releases New Online Slots Game Volatile Vikings — Know mostly for its poker gambling, Global Poker also offers online slots gambling. And it just released its 38th title.
- Marina City Council Reverses Approval of Parkwest Casino Card Room — Whiplash? After approving a new card room in late January, the Marina City Council backtracked after local community backlash.
- Identity of California Man Who Won $2 Billion Powerball Drawing Revealed — It was also revealed the gas station owner who sold the winning ticket got a $1 million reward. That’s awesome.
- Chumash Casino Resort Awards $225K Blackpot Progressive Jackpot — One lucky Southern California gambler had an amazing Valentine’s Day.
- Takeaways From CNIGA Chairman’s State of CA Tribal Gaming Speech — A statewide leader of California tribal gaming looked back on 2022 and ahead to 2023 during a speech at a gaming conference.
- LuckyLand Slots Releases New Progressive Jackpot: Enchanted Elixirs — This is one of the most fun, creative progressive online jackpot slots we’ve played. Read to learn more.
- We Won 304,500 GC on Chumba Casino’s New Game Fire Blaze Tundra Wolf — Chumba Casino just keeps rolling out great new games. The newest, at least for us, gave a quick significant win.
- Koi Nation Releases Plans for $600 Million Shiloh Resort & Casino in Sonoma — Want all the details of what the Koi Nation hopes to build in Sonoma County? We’ve got you covered.
Online Gambling California FAQs
Online gambling is already legal in California — it just depends on the type of gambling. Online horse gambling, daily fantasy sports, and social casino and poker gambling sites are all 100% legal in California. Online sports gambling and real-money online casinos and poker are all currently illegal in California.
Any horse race gambling site, such as TVG and TwinSpires, is legal in California. DFS sites, such as DraftKings DFS and FanDuel DFS, are legal. Social casinos and social poker sites, such as Chumba Casino, and Global Poker, are also fully legal in California.
The forms of online gambling that are illegal in California (real-money casinos, poker, and sports gambling) are illegal for two main reasons. One, California has some of the toughest anti-gambling legislation in the US. Essentially, pure games of chance are illegal if real money is being wagered.
And two, Indian casinos have a near-monopoly on California gambling, and tribes haven’t made a significant push for online gambling. If all tribes are 100% behind online gambling, then there would likely be movement toward legalizing it in the future.
California Indian casino gambling is regulated for the most part by the National Indian Gaming Commission. The California Horse Racing Board handles horse gambling in the state. Daily fantasy sports is not regulated, as it’s neither legal nor illegal. (So we suggest you use reputable operators, such as DraftKings DFS and FanDuel DFS.) Promotional sweepstakes casino and poker sites are regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority.
For in-person gambling, you can visit one of 66 active Indian casinos, 59 active card rooms, four licensed horse racetracks, 29 off-track horse gambling locations, or 23,000 California Lottery satellite locations. Californians also have access to online gambling for DFS, horse gambling, and social sweepstakes casino, sports gambling, and poker sites.
Yes. Any licensed California online gambling site is safe. And when more forms of online gambling are legalized in California, those sites will be significantly safer than the offshore gambling sites some Californians currently use. While they aren’t technically illegal, these offshore gambling sites are unregulated and have no protections in place for the customer. Plus, they often lack high-quality digital security, which leaves customers’ personal and financial information at risk.