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CA ONLINE CASINO AND GAMBLING

California online gambling has an interesting history. Historically, land-based gambling has been legal in the state for many years, despite the difference in gambling legislation across the US. However online gambling has been somewhat of a grey area in the state – with no laws specifically prohibiting online gambling at legally licensed offshore casinos, it means that players from California are able to register and play at these casinos. Online horse racing bets are also allowed in California – even if you’re from another state that happens to have the same legislation. So what other information might you need to get started playing online casinos in California? Read on below to find out more.


California State Lottery

The CA lottery is a lottery set up to support people in the state. It does this by reinvesting money from the lottery tickets into things like public education. More than a billion dollars went to public education in 2017 from proceeds of lottery tickets. With the Powerball and the SuperLotto both offering potential jackpot wins in the millions every week, these are extremely popular in the state and for good reason!

The lottery also produces and sells scratchcard games. With tickets available at $2, $5, and $10, the different cards hold promises of prizes up to $10,000,000! Some are lower stakes and so you don’t need to spend as much for the thrill. 

  • Is there an app? Yes
  • Is there a sign-up bonus? No
  • Land-based partner: Tickets can be bought from licensed retailers


Landbased casino

Casinos can be found in a few forms when it comes to land-based ones in California. The lottery counts as one form, however for a specific building that you can enter and gamble at, your best bets are cardrooms, Indian casinos on reservations, and horse race bets, as traditional casinos (like what you’d find in Nevada) are illegal.

Cardrooms allow players to play card games against each other, such as poker, rather than against the house which is what would happen in a casino. Charitable gambling, such as bingo or raffle, is legal within the state with one poker game allowed per year for charity.

  • Is there an app? No
  • Is there a sign-up bonus? No
  • Is there a sportsbook? Yes, horseracing
  • Land-based partner: 63 tribe casinos, 66 cardrooms, 27 satellite facilities

Like many other states, owning and operating an online gambling operation comes with tight restrictions and rules in order to prevent malicious practices and untrustworthy casinos. Social casinos are allowed to operate online gambling services from their premises, provided they have been granted a licence. These social casinos allow players to gamble for free, without using real money. Daily fantasy sports operate in a grey area in the state.


Online casino gambling is legal in the state only for offshore casinos. Technically, players are not prohibited explicitly from gambling online, but there currently isn’t any coverage for local licences under the California Gambling Control Commission, so it would need to be an offshore casino outside of the United States. There are, however, a couple of exceptions.

Currently, local offline gambling is legal in tribe-owned casinos, as well as in cardrooms and charity gambling. For online gambling local to California, however, the state lottery is available on mobile which means players can log in and check the draw online. In addition to that, pari-mutuel betting on horse racing is allowed for advanced bets

Players who visit or play at licensed casinos on reservations will not be persecuted and will not face any legal action as long as they are of the legal gambling age. By meeting these two criteria, players are free to play at any of the tribe-owned casinos or other foreign-owned online casinos that accept players from California. Access to online slots, online poker, table games, daily fantasy sports and much more has become increasingly more user-friendly.

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ONLINE POKER IN California

While online poker is not specifically legislated for within California, there is no law saying that Californian players can’t play online at a licenced online casino. If an online poker site accepts Californian players then this is a great chance for them to play a hand at the table!

That being said, there isn’t any sign of good online poker legislation coming through state legislature just yet. The laws, when they’re proposed, don’t tend to get through all votes. Facing opposition from local casino owners or others who aren’t in favour of these gambling laws, they haven’t made any headway just yet.


SPORTS BETTING IN CALIFORNIA

Right now, sports betting in California is limited and hasn’t yet passed through state legislature. Over the course of 2020, state legislators have tried to introduce bills to regulate is and make it available to players, however it has come up against some resistance over time. It seems unlikely to be passed in 2020 and will likely come up again as part of votes in 2022.

Fantasy sports betting is another matter, however. Many Daily Fantasy Sports operators treat it as a game of skill, like poker, and that it is not illegal. To be considered fantasy sports under U.S law, the value has to be determined not by the number of participants or their fees, the outcome must reflect the skill and knowledge of the participants (e.g knowing which players to pick), and the final result must not be based on the final results of real world games and tournaments.


LOTTERIES IN California

The California state lottery has been around since 1984, after the suggestion being passed by Californian voter. Over 50% of the revenue from the lottery goes to public schools or back to the public in some way. The state-draws available include Daily 3, Daily 4, Daily Derby, Fantasy 5, SuperLotto Plus, Hot Spot, as well as the multi-state games Mega Millions and Powerball lottos.

The lottery is also available on your mobile, meaning that online play is entirely possible for players in California who don’t want to go out and buy a lotto ticket physically.


REGULATION BOARD IN California

Gambling in the state of California is regulated and legislated for by the California Gambling Control Commission. They aim to act as a regulatory body over cardrooms and gambling establishments, third parties involved in the gambling industry, and tribal casinos following the extent they’re able to under the law. The integrity of the gambling scene in California itself is managed by the California Bureau of Gambling Control, an off-shoot of the Attorney General’s office. Together, they ensure that gambling in California is safe, secure, and follows the letter of the law.

The California Bureau of Gambling control is responsible for conducting criminal background checks and investigations into gambling operations within the State, and the California Gambling Control Commission is responsible for handing out the appropriate licences and regulations.

Gambling establishments operating locally in California can be one of these types:

  • Cardrooms: Brick and mortar premises which host card games such as poker.
  • Tribal casino: A brick and mortar casino which operates in one of the federally-recognised tribal reservations.
  • Horse racing betting: Horse racing bets are taken pre-race and can be offered both in-person and online.

The California Gambling Control Commission and Bureau of Gambling Control are also devoted to assisting and guiding players who suffer from pathological or problem gambling. They make sure that all employees hired at an online casino have been trained to understand the effects of gambling and making sure casinos adhere to self-exclusion requests, as part of their responsible gambling strategy.

The Bureau of Gambling Control also maintains a list of excluded players who are not permitted to play at any casino in the state. This is a voluntary agreement that somebody makes to be banned from partaking in gambling activities in California and is irrevocable. This is a measure in place to help people who have developed a gambling problem to avoid playing more.


HOW CAN I KNOW WHICH CA CASINOS ARE LEGAL?

If a casino is operating locally, it may have a website that you can view their services on. However for locally-licensed establishments, it can only be one of the types listed above, or the lottery via their mobile app. A locally-operating casino may list a link to the problem gambling number or the state website.

An international casino which happens to accept Californian players should be properly licenced in the jurisdiction in which it operates. This licence will be found on any webpage on the site (usually in the footer), and will provide a clickable link to the licence itself. Also displayed should be a record of the operator's license number together with details of the address of the issuing regulatory body. If these are not displayed in the footer of the site in question, you can also check the site's About page.

We only recommend casinos and sites that players can play legally in California, and all of these will have all of the necessary licences which are required to operate.


MINIMUM LEGAL AGE TO GAMBLE IN California

One of the stipulated regulations that license holders must follow and enforce is the age limit. In a similar manner to land-based casinos, online casinos must not allow anyone under the age of 21 to register an account or play any of the games. This is in contrast to the lottery where players must be 18 or older.

Responsible operators enforce this minimum age rule by verifying the identity of their members. This usually involves requesting documentary proof of ID such as driver's license, social security number and other commonly used documents. If players are found to be in breach of the site's T&Cs, their account will be closed immediately, any winnings will not be paid and legal action may be taken.


GEOLOCATION

Another crucial aspect of the regulation when it comes to California online casinos is determining the location of players. Players in California should not use VPN software to change their geolocation, as it can cause issues and can be illegal when playing online. For example, if they are trying to access a casino in Pennsylvania, only players located in Pennsylvania are permitted to play online casinos games and so as part of their regulatory responsibilities, players fudging their location are banned and can be prosecuted.

While this is a very simple matter in the case of land-based casinos, where regulation is just a case of ensuring the players are of legal age, it's slightly harder to determine whether or not an online player is located in the state. While it isn't infallible, determining player location using an IP address is the easiest way for online casinos to meet this regulatory obligation, which is why you'll often be met with an error and blocked from accessing some online casinos if you're accessing these sites from outside of the state.

Bear in mind that if you want to play online casino games via your iPhone, you may be required to download and run a geolocation app that is used to determine your location before you'll be allowed to play any games.


CALIFORNIA CASINO BONUSES

Online casinos offering membership to Californian players will quite often advertise bonuses as a way to encourage signups. What this means for you as a player, is the chance to get more funds to play with, which quite often means more chances to win!

These bonuses often come in the form of a deposit bonus, such as the first deposit bonus, which gives you a percentage of whatever you choose to deposit for the first time in bonus money. Bonuses usually come with requirements that will dictate how much you have to deposit, how much money you need to play with, and on which games, before you can withdraw the bonus, and how long you have to do so. Claiming a bonus is usually a simple case of entering a bonus code when making your deposit.


TYPES OF CA BONUSES

So what kinds of bonus can you expect to find at Californian online casinos? The first bonus you're most likely to come across is the first deposit bonus. Also called the welcome bonus or sign-up bonus, this is an amount in bonus funds that the online casino will add to your account relative to whatever you decide to deposit. For example, an online casino may offer new members a 100% up to $250 bonus on your first deposit. So if you deposit $100, you'll also get a bonus of $100.

Since online casinos want players to keep on depositing, they will often offer other bonuses, such as regular reload bonuses that can be claimed on one or more deposits over the course of a week or month, or cashback bonuses that offer bonus money for playing certain games.


California BONUS CODES

As mentioned above, bonuses are quite often claimed using a bonus code. This is simply a short word, often including numbers, that the player then inputs in a corresponding box while making their deposit. This then flags the online casino system and awards the bonus to the player's account as long as the other requirements for claiming the bonus have been met.

Other requirements can include ensuring the deposit meets the minimum amount as stated in the bonus terms and conditions, using a specific deposit method, playing through the deposit amount a certain number of times before the bonus is released, and more. Before claiming any bonuses, be sure to check the T&Cs so you know what to expect and how to go about claiming the bonus.


CALIFORNIA WAGERING REQUIREMENTS

There are certain requirements both as you deposit and afterwards that determine how much of the bonus you will get and if and when you can withdraw it as cash. One aspect of bonuses, specifically determining the release and withdrawal of the bonus, is determined by wagering requirements. Some online casinos require you to play through your deposit amount once or more before the bonus funds are added to your account and are available to play with. In this case, you might also find that only certain games will count towards this rollover.

What you will find with almost all bonuses is that you have to play through a set amount before you will be allowed to request a withdrawal of funds. It's quite common for the T&Cs to require that the bonus deposit (and often the bonus amount too) is played through a certain number of times, sometimes on certain games, before withdrawing. Requesting a withdrawal without meeting these wagering requirements can result in account closure and forfeiture of your bonus and any associated winnings, so beware! We highly recommend that you read the terms and conditions carefully prior to opting in for any kind of bonus or signing up to a casino.

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CALIFORNIA ONLINE CASINO PAYMENT METHODS  

One of the most important things you'll do when preparing to play at an online casino is to make your first deposit and there are a number of methods available that make this a very quick and easy process. Just as you'll find a variety of payment methods available in your local shopping mall or store, online casinos will also offer a selection of popular payment methods, making funding online casino gameplay accessible to all.

Amongst the various deposit methods available you can expect to see the usual collection of popular debit and credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and Discover. Many sites, like Draftkings, will also accept payment methods such as Paypal. Further payment methods will depend on the casino itself, as every online casino has different options which may also depend on the currency being uses.

For local Californian casinos, you will likely be able to pay with cash at the office in the casino, or use your credit card to exchange for chips. That's lots of options for players, making depositing very quick, easy and accessible.


MOBILE GAMING IN CALIFORNIA

Mobile-friendly online casinos are available in California from social casinos to daily fantasy sports, these sites and casinos all have mobile-friendly websites, or apps that can run on your mobile phone or tablet. It's also not unusual to find separate Android and iOS online casino apps.

As previously mentioned, due to the tight regulations regarding geolocation and age limits, operators have to check the details of all new members joining their online casino. This is why you'll be asked for personal details, but it's also why you'll usually find an additional app that is designed to detect your location might be downloaded and run before you'll be allowed to play casino games.

Some of the sites have apps for you to play on the go, but it's possible that you might run into some technical difficulties on occasion. If so, check these:

  • Make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of the app installed on your phone.
  • Make sure that you are playing within California itself.
  • If you are within CA and have the most up-to-date app but still have issues, contact the customer support of the casino in question.


California CASINO GAMES

So what kind of games can you expect to find at these California online casinos and how do they compare to those found at land-based casinos?


California SLOT MACHINES 

As in traditional bricks and mortar casinos, slots are the main attraction and online casinos tend to have a vast array of popular titles to keep players amused. Good online casinos will offer slots in all shapes and sizes, from the classic three reels bearing fruits and 7s to massive six+ reels bursting with additional features. There are also many progressive jackpot slots that give you the chance to win amazing amounts of money in as little as a single spin!


California fantasy sports

Daily Fantasy Sports are a great option for Californian players! As a game of skill, they rely on you knowing the most about your chosen sport, the players, the team performance, and making a guess at how you think they’ll perform. Given that there are a few different fantasy sports sites available, it’s just a case of picking the one that works for you and making your team selection from there. You’ll earn points on the performance of the team by the day or week, and getting up the leaderboard means you win prizes!


LAND-BASED CASINOS IN California

There are plenty of casinos in California state itself! With 63 casinos on reservations around the state, plus plenty of cardrooms, a player’s options in the state are hugely varied. Given that they are all regulated by the California Bureau of Gambling Control, you can rest assured that they are safe and secure to play at.


MAP OF CASINOS IN CA

Not sure where the casinos in the state can be located? We've included a map below to make your search easier.


FINAL THOUGHTS ON ONLINE GAMBLING IN California

Given the State’s laws on online gambling, players are in a very good position to dip their toes into the industry if they want to give it a try. While players who prefer a tense game of poker will be sated by the games available to them in cardrooms, lotto players and slot players may prefer to try online options. With these options being slightly limited due to the laws, players will need to be vigilant in finding the best ones for them that can offer a safe, fun, and secure game experience.

For fans of Fantasy Sports however, California is as good as any other state to get playing in! With this as well as the lottery options available on mobile, there are plenty of scope for excitement and a good time when gambling.


CALIFORNIA ONLINE CASINOS FAQ

Can I play on a mobile casino in California?

In some instances, yes. Some casinos, horse betting and fantasy sports sites are available in app or mobile-friendly website version. The California Lottery is available on mobile, too!

Is it safe to gamble online in California?

Yes! Be sure to use a reputable site that you are legally allowed to access and it is very safe.

Can I get casino bonuses in California?

Yes! Bonuses are available in online casinos in California, simply register, read the terms and conditions, and accept any bonus requirements to get those great deals!

This page was written in 2019, and is now maintained by Daniel Hardman. Should you have any questions or see any discrepancies on this page, feel free to reach out to him. The casino list at the beginning of the page is revised each month, to ensure we only offer the best California casino sites to our readers. Let's have a look at some handpicked references you may find interesting.


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