California legal sports betting is on hold for the foreseeable future after Prop 26 and Prop 27 were both roundly rejected in the Nov. 8 election. That’s the bad news first.
The good news for Golden State residents involves their proximity to Nevada, which is home to the country’s oldest and most established sports betting market.
Las Vegas leads the way in terms of retail sportsbooks, but the Lake Tahoe area, Reno, and a handful of California-Nevada border cities also offer great options closer to the California state line.
We’ll give you tips here on Nevada retail sportsbooks, online sports betting apps, and more in this guide designed exclusively for Californians. Wondering how much your trip will cost? We’ve got you covered there, too.
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Nevada Retail Sports Betting
You won’t have to venture too far into Nevada before finding a legal retail sportsbook.
The William Hill Sportsbook is situated in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada. Casino Player Magazine ranked it as the top sportsbook in all of Lake Tahoe. It’s one of two sportsbooks in Stateline, along with Bally’s Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa (Bally Bet).
You’ll find a high-definition video wall, 40 TVs, and self-service betting kiosks inside the William Hill Sportsbook. This book is also known for continually updating in-game odds for enhanced live-betting opportunities.
Pro tip: Sign up for the William Hill sports betting app, and you’ll be able to bet from anywhere during your journey in Nevada.
That’s all south Lake Tahoe. For the north side, there are two retail sportsbooks in Crystal Bay: Tahoe Biltmore and Crystal Bay Casino.
William Hill Sportsbook
50 US-50 Box 6426
Stateline, NV 89449
Phone: (844) 588-7625
If you venture to Reno, be sure to check out the sportsbook at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Reno is about 3.5 hours from Redding, 3 hours from Chico, and just under 90 miles from Susanville.
At Atlantis, you’ll find state-of-the-art technology for both betting and viewing purposes. Sports betting kiosks make getting down on the action easy. Atlantis also boasts of having the highest-paying parlay cards in northern Nevada, and it doubled its limits for sports including baseball and hockey.
Atlantis Casino Sportsbook
3800 S Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89502
Phone: (775) 825-4700
You know that little oasis of colorful casinos that you pass through right after crossing into Nevada on your way to Las Vegas? That’s a place called Primm.
If you’re too eager to bet on sports that you can’t wait the extra 45 minutes to get to Sin City, or if you just want a sports betting experience with much smaller crowds, Primm is for you.
The tiny gambling mecca, just 112 miles from Barstow, offers three retail sportsbooks at Primm Valley Resort and Casino (William Hill), Whiskey Pete’s Hotel & Casino (William Hill), and Buffalo Bill’s Resort and Casino (William Hill).
Also known as “Little Las Vegas,” Laughlin offers a casino strip right along the Colorado River. It’s situated at the intersection of California, Arizona, and Nevada, and it offers well-known gambling brands such as Harrah’s, Golden Nugget, and Tropicana.
Laughlin is just 29 miles from Needles and 125 miles from Blythe.
In terms of retail sportsbooks, there are six:
- Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino (William Hill)
- Aquarius Casino Resort
- Edgewater Casino Resort (William Hill)
- The New Pioneer
- Laurel River Lodge Hotel and Casino
- Tropicana Laughlin (Caesars Sportsbook)
We’re giving you our top three sportsbooks with Circa Sports, Westgate SuperBook, and the South Point in Las Vegas. These books are regarded as market-makers in the sports betting industry, meaning they are typically the first to post odds on games. Commercial sportsbooks like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel follow their leads.
Circa’s primary location in Las Vegas is home to a lavish three-story sportsbook and the largest outdoor bar on Fremont Street.
Circa is even more widely known for its “Stadium Swim” as sports bettors can enjoy the action on a jumbo TV while wading in the pool. The 40-foot tall LED screen stretches 143 feet diagonally.
Circa has also gained notoriety for its Survivor Pro Football Contest, which awards a $6 million prize to one winner. As of this writing, just 74 of 6,133 entries have survived.
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Our #CircaSurvivor contest started with 6,133 entries and is down to 74 entries heading into Thanksgiving Day.
29 of the remaining entrants started with 6 entries.
13 entrants made it this far on just 1 entry. 🏈🏆
— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) November 24, 2022
8 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 247-2258
It might not have as much glitz and glamor as Circa, but the Westgate SuperBook is a quintessential Las Vegas book. There’s an old-school feel that permeates the place, but the SuperBook also offers the latest in technological marvels.
At 30,000 square feet, the SuperBook’s stunning centerpiece is its 220-foot-by-18-foot 4K Video Wall. There’s more than 350 seats available to take in the action, and trust me, it’s a pleasant way to spend the day or evening.
The SuperBook annually gets the Super Bowl season in swing by releasing its massive list of prop bets for the Big Game. Fun fact: Last year, Westgate SuperBook’s booklet featured 36 pages of props.
3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 732-5111
South Point Casino
Located at the tip of the strip, South Point’s sportsbook is run by 2022 Sports Betting Hall of Fame inductee Chris Andrews. Andrews has perfected his craft as a bookmaker over more than four decades now.
South Point’s spacious book features two wall-sized big-screen TVs, myriad plasma televisions, and more than 100 seats. There is also easy access to the adjacent USBC Lounge.
The South Point also serves as home to VSIN radio broadcasts featuring legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger, Andrews, and other industry insiders.
South Point Casino
9777 S Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89183
Phone: (866) 791-7626
Online Sports Betting in Nevada
The beauty of mobile sports betting allows Californians to register with sportsbook apps in Nevada. You don’t need to be a resident, but you will need to physically be in Nevada to make a mobile bet.
Here’s our list of the top online sports betting apps for Californians to use from anywhere in Nevada:
- B-Connected Sports
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Circa Sports
- Golden Nugget
- Rampart Sports
- South Point
- STN Sports
- TI Sports
- Westgate Sportsbook
- William Hill
Once you’ve downloaded a couple of these sports betting apps, where can you spend the day and play in Nevada?
We’re glad you asked.
Lucky Beaver, Bar & Burger (Stateline, Nevada)
The Lucky Beaver is ideal for sports bettors who want to avoid crowds in Nevada’s largest cities. This joint is open 24/7, too.
Wedgies Sports Bar & Grill (Mesquite, Nevada)
This is another joint that never closes. You’ll find some of the best chicken wings along with an extensive selection of beer on tap.
Audible’s Sports Bar & Gaming (Stateline, Nevada)
Home to Nevada’s longest shuffleboard table, Audible’s offers 18 TVs and your favorite game is bound to be on one of them. There are also 15 video poker machines to complement your sports betting action.
Best Time to Do This
We can tell you from experience that betting in Las Vegas during March Madness or college bowl season is tough to beat. You’re never far away from a sportsbook, whether it’s Caesars Palace, The Venetian, Bellagio, or so many more. Much of this is subjective and will depend on your worldview and tolerance for crowds.
Wall-to-wall basketball. This gets our vote as the best time to venture to Vegas from California. It’s just so much damn fun. Plan a golf trip with your friends around it, and have the time of your life. Pro tip: Do it while you’re relatively young.
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College Bowl Season
What better way to add meaning to so many meaningless college bowl games than betting on them at the sportsbook of your choice? Betting on the big one is just as fun, too. I still have visions of Jake Plummer nearly leading Arizona State to a victory over Ohio State in the 1997 Rose Bowl. We were watching at Caesars Palace. We covered.
We can’t attest to this one personally, but this seems like a no-brainer in Las Vegas. The Super Bowl is annually the single biggest sporting event in the US. It attracts the most betting handle, and it’s downright un-American not to wager on it. Blame your state for not legalizing sports betting, and then get on your horse and cross the state line into Nevada.
How Much Will This Trip Cost Me?
This really depends on a few key variables: location relative to the Nevada state line, cost of gas, and how much money you win or lose on your sports bets.
Let’s be honest, here. This trip from Cali might not cost you anything …
… Or it might be a cash-hemorrhaging disaster based on your bets.
If you live in cities near the California-Nevada border, such as Needles, Truckee, or anywhere around Lake Tahoe, a Nevada sports betting road trip would hardly be a trip.
But let’s lay out some examples with larger cities.
Sacramento to Stateline (105 miles)
You can make this trip in two hours with an estimated round-trip gas cost of $46. This is a solid day-trip candidate.
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Los Angeles to Las Vegas (270 miles)
This is more of a haul with a drive time of 4.5 hours. We don’t recommend a day trip for obvious reasons. You’ll burn about $120 on gas, and also need to factor in the cost of a hotel. The trips to Primm (226 miles) and Laughlin (280 miles) would take a similar amount of time.
Fresno to Stateline (269 miles)
There are a couple ways to drive from Fresno to the southern tip of Lake Tahoe. This one is a little longer in distance, but it’s a shorter drive at about 4.5 hours. So, like LA to Vegas, this would be around $120 on gas plus a hotel. Might as well make it a weekend trip on the lake.
San Francisco to Reno (218 miles)
At an average cruising speed, you’ll arrive at your destination in Reno in a shade over four hours. Expect to spend $96 on gas and more on a hotel.