Is Sports Betting Legal in California? – Latest News and Updates

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The long road for California sports betting to be legalized continues with no immediate hope for success. Significant opposition to retail sportsbooks from the state’s tribes has hampered legislative efforts.

Techopedia readers can check with us frequently to find the latest betting updates surrounding the question “is sports betting legal in California?”

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California Sports Betting Updates

The California sports betting landscape continues to slowly change. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting in 2018, California has sought to legalize sports betting sites within the state. Furthermore, numerous forms of California sports betting bills have been turned down.

Come back to this page for latest updates. Here’s a timeline of recent activity:

  • Dec. 7, 2023: Proponents filed amendments to the California sports betting initiatives designed to placate the tribes’ concerns. Under the amendments, in part, the sports betting tribes would give 25% of the gross (adjusted) sports betting money to the trust fund for tribal sports wagering. That is up from the original plan that called for sports betting tribes to contribute 15% of that gross revenue to the trust fund and 10% to the state of California’s homeless and mental health funds.
  • Nov. 17, 2023: The latest efforts to place California sports betting initiatives on the ballot suffered another setback. California Nations Indian Gaming Association issued its opposition to a pair of measures that would make sports betting a legal activity at tribal casinos. The CNIGA approval is seen as a mandatory requirement to pushing sports betting legislation forward.
  • Nov. 1, 2023: DraftKings’ affiliated horse racing site, DK Horse, becomes available for California sports betting customers, age 18 and over. (The sports betting age in California would likely be 21.) DraftKings partnered with TwinSpires on this app, which is not part of DraftKings’ main site. Customers must register independently for DK Horse, and horse racing remains among the only legal sports betting sites in the state.
  • Oct. 27, 2023: Supporters of the plan to bring California sports betting to fruition filed two initiatives to the state attorney general’s office in hopes that they’d will appear on the ballot in November 2024. However, neither of them had the tribal support likely needed to succeed.
  • May 2023: Caesars Racebook opens up for horseplayers California as a sports betting site, though only on horse racing. The launch coincides with the opening of the racing season at Del Mar racetrack near San Diego. The horse racing apps are the closest to sports online gambling in California.
  • Nov. 9, 2022: In a major blow to California sports betting hopes, both targets for ballot propositions, Prop 26 (70% “no”) and Prop 27 (83% “no”), are shot down during the state’s election. It was a strong answer to the question: Is sports betting legal in California?
  • July 2022: Prop 26 and 27 are brought forward. They are formed to limit the retail sports betting reach and instead allow for more power among tribal sports betting entities. In terms of California sports betting law, these California sports betting initiatives were hoped to lead to making sports betting legal in California.
  • August 2021: After a long preparation period, The California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act was brought forward. This was viewed among the first steps toward legalized sports betting and the hoped-for implementation of sports betting sites in California.

Latest California Sports Betting Info

  • Legal age for sports betting: N/A
  • Legalized: No
  • Retail sports betting: No
  • Online sports betting: No
  • Daily fantasy sports: Yes, though it’s not regulated.
  • Horse racing: Yes
  • Lottery: Yes

Is Sports Betting Legal in California?

No.

When the California sports betting props were defeated during the November 2022 election, voters made it clear that a better plan is needed to make it legal. Although there are forms of online gambling in California, there is no successful California sports betting bill.

In the recent months, further efforts have been made by the state and major sports betting entities to negotiate with the state’s tribal gaming communities. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, making up more than 50 tribes, opposed new initiatives that supporters had hoped to land on the November 2024 ballot. That opposition sinks hopes that California sports betting will be legal before 2025.

The association made it clear in a statement confirming its opposition that included what the association said was a poor job of presenting the plan, allowing that the situation was “handled abhorrently by the initiative sponsors,” according to the chairman of the CNIGA, James Siva.

Siva’s statement also implied a hidden agenda that is trying to “divide and conquer Indian tribes. We will not let history repeat itself.”

The initiatives would have provided the tribal casinos in California to have full oversight of the sports betting activities, both in-person and online.

Be sure to check our main page for the latest online gambling news in California, including casinos and racebooks. Our team reviews different operators and answers more questions surrounding the uncertainty on wagering within the state.

What Sports Betting Apps are Legal in California?

All sportsbook apps are unavailable in the state, but when California sports betting becomes legal, customers will have a wide range of wagering options on markets both in and outside of California.

Sports betting apps would provide action on all major sports and competitions, with intricate secondary markets such as parlays, futures, and teaser bets.

With the political climate surrounding sports betting in California being negative, a change is not expected until 2025 at the earliest. So until then, there is no legal form of California sports betting law.

In the meantime, it is possible to access some of the best offshore sportsbooks without running into any issues. These operators are fully licensed by overseas regulators and offer a great option for bettors in California.

Latest California Gambling Laws and Bills

Legalized sports betting in California is not available at the moment. However, there have been efforts to set California sports betting laws in place. For example, the ACA-16 (2019) that would have provided California sports betting legislation but was soundly defeated.

Then in 2020, SCA-16 was also struck down which would have provided for sports betting in California via computers and cell phones.

Who Can Partake in California Sports Betting?

Residents of California are not able to participate in any form of sport betting as legal wrangling continues.

With initiatives shot down and proposals opposed, the likelihood of sports betting in California is unlikely for at least another couple of years.

But if there becomes legalized sports betting in California, there are several potential requirements to observe. Any sports betting customer in California likely will have to follow these guidelines:

Stay within state borders

California sports betting customers who use U.S.-based sports-betting apps would need to wager within the state.

21 years of age or older

The age for lottery, horse racing betting and casino games is generally 18 or over. But when the time comes for online sports wagering, the customer’s required age would likely be 21 based on other states and their betting regulations.

Valid government-issued ID

All future California sports betting apps and websites would need a government-issued piece of identification and a valid email address. These are required by the sports betting operator to confirm and verify a bettor’s identity during the application process.

Taxable winnings

California sports betting fans should be aware that their larger-amount winnings are taxable. Customers should check with their tax representative for more details.

Is Horse Racing Legal in California?

Horse race wagering continues to be a top attraction among California gamblers. Tracks such as Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club are the more popular destinations in the country.

Sports to Bet On

California sports betting is not yet legal, but when it does become so, it will surpass Florida as the largest state to legalize sports betting. A massive menu of sports-betting options will also be available then.

NFL

The Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers provide a vast representation of National Football League franchises. Each of these boasts a fan base eager to join the sports-betting community. Both the Rams and 49ers have won the Super Bowl, and the Chargers franchise has appeared in a Super Bowl as well.

NBA

No fewer than four franchises represent the National Basketball Association in California. The fans of the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are ready to dramatically boost the revenues when sports betting in California becomes legal. The Warriors and Lakers have multiple NBA Finals championships.

MLB

Among the more storied franchises is the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Moved from Brooklyn in the 1950s, the Dodgers have become a perennial World Series contender, and the recent acquisition of superstar Shohei Ohtani will make them even more formidable in 2024. The state’s other four Major League Baseball teams, the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, continue to chase postseason glory.

NHL

Los Angeles also boasts a championship hockey team, the Los Angeles Kings, in addition to a second Southern California franchise, the Anaheim Ducks. In the Bay Area, the San Jose Sharks offer its fanbase a history of competitive teams.

College Sports

When California sports betting becomes legal, customers will eagerly support several major college sports institutions: The USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, California Golden Bears, Stanford Cardinal, San Diego State Aztecs and much more.

Other Sports

Among the myriad additional sports betting opportunities is Major League Soccer, with the LAFC and LA Galaxy representing the Los Angeles area and the San Jose Earthquakes representing the Bay Area.

Other Types of Gambling in California

Until California sports betting becomes legal, gambling customers can participate in various other pursuits in the state.

Types of Gambling Regulated Legalized
Land-based casinos and sportsbooks Yes (Casinos) 1988 (Casinos)
Online casino sites and apps No N/A
Online poker No N/A
Lottery Yes 1985
Politics No N/A
Fantasy sports Yes 2015
Esports No N/A
Card rooms Yes 1997

FAQs

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References

  1. https://oag.ca.gov/gambling/gambling_law (California Gambling Law)
  2. http://www.cgcc.ca.gov/?pageID=laws-regs (California Gambling Control Commission)
  3. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ (Gamblers Anonymous)
  4. http://www.ncpgambling.org/ (NCP Gambling)
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.