Sports Betting & Gambling in California

Sports Betting & Gambling in California

Status: Illegal

Mobile & Online Sports Betting Allowed: No

What's the hold up in California?:

California is a complicated state due to the existing laws protecting the interests of Tribal Casinos.  

Sports Betting Gambling in California Tribal Casinos

Where can I make sports bets in California now?:

Unless you are thinking of betting on horse races (which is legal at horse tracks in California), the best bet for legalized sports gambling for Californians is to take a drive or a flight to Las Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe in Nevada.  

It is obvious that many Californians use illegal means of sports gambling in the state (such as apps like Bovada).  It would stand to reason that the state would rather capture the tax revenue.

Sports Betting California NFL NCAAF Making Money

The path forward:

The best bet for legal sports betting in California is for Tribal Casinos to allow sports betting.   Tribal Casinos already pushed for state wide approval to petition for a 2020 ballot and allow sports betting only at tribal casinos and horse tracks.

It is unclear whether watching states that have legalized will eventually push California to legalize sports betting in order to capture tax revenue.  

Essentially - legal physical-location based sports betting will likely need to be enabled first, before online sports betting will be allowed.  

The benefits to both the state and its residents may overcome tribal opposition. Another possibility is that California can find a way to package online poker in the same legislation as sports betting in a manner that can ride a wave of public support.

Sports Betting Gambling App Options in California

Betting Apps:

If and when online sports betting is allowed in California - these are the apps and online portals you can use:

DraftKings – DraftKings is an online sportsbook currently operating and headquartered in New Jersey.  DraftKings, along with their main rival FanDuel (focused on daily fantasy sports), leads the pack in sports betting revenue.  In Q2 2020, the company reported GAAP revenue of $71M (pro forma revenue of $75M).  DraftKings is trading under the ticker symbol DKNG on the NASDAQ.

If and when online sports betting becomes legal in California, DraftKings is a leading candidate to provide the platform that will facilitate that betting.  DraftKings is one of the top online sports betting operations in the US and has entered every legalized state thus far. DraftKings has also partnered with Caesars earlier in the year, solidifying their position and expanding their footprint.

FanDuel – FanDuel has locked up revenue of over $1 Billion in revenue in 2020.  It has 46% of the online sportsbook market and 29% of the total online gambling market in the US.    

Unfortunately, if you visit the site or app from California, you'll be greeted by the following message: "We're sorry, but your current location prohibits you from making deposits or playing on FanDuel."

However, keep an eye out for FanDuel if and when California online sports betting becomes legalized.  

playMGM Sportsbook app – The MGM group, known for their Las Vegas based MGM Grand, provides both a physical sports book as well as an online Sportsbook app.  

The MGM group already has an affiliation with the California Gaming Commission.  This will make them a front runner in terms of acquiring the necessary state licenses to operate online gambling in California when they become available.

William Hill – A lesser known sportsbook app (they don't advertise nearly as much as the top two apps on this list), William Hill has steadily built a foot print across the western US.  William Hill operates a sportsbook and online gaming apps for many Las Vegas casinos.  The fact that they have operated in the area makes William Hill a good bet to get the licensing required to set up shop in California.


For now, you'll just have to skirt by using an app not based in the US like Bovada - or make your way to a physical sportsbook in Nevada - if you want to bet on sports as a Californian.  

We'll keep you updated here on new developments.  Hopefully stubborn politicians don't stand between you and those sweet betting gainz.  

In the meantime, get prepared for legalization with our comprehensive newsletter on sports betting tips, news, strategies and more.  

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