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California Sports Betting: Outlook for May 2024

Two California sports betting propositions faced strong opposition in November 2023, and California is continuing its uphill battle toward legalization. Will sportsbooks finally come to the Golden State, and when can we expect a turn of events?

California betting sites

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FanDuel Faceoffis a new DFS platform from betting giant FanDuel. This US-based betting platform lets you get started right away with a welcome offer, and various games to play.

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FanDuel racing is available in 28 states.

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Boom Fantasy is a DFS platform that began its US operations in 2015. This New York-based betting platform lets you get started with a $100 welcome bonus by entering the Boom promo code.

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Features

Is sports betting in California legal?

No, sports betting is not legal in the Golden State. The most recent attempts at changing the legislation were the two ballot measures presented at the ballot in November 2022, albeit without success. Let’s take a look at the two proposals:

Proposition 26 advocated for legalizing retail CA sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks and was supported by a coalition of 50+ Native American tribes. The initiative would also have allowed tribal casinos to offer dice games and roulette.

Endorsed by sports betting companies, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, Proposition 27 supported online sports betting. The measure would have made online wagering a reality through partnerships between licensed operators and tribal casinos.

The measures faced fierce opposition on the ballot, with only 29.9% of votes in favor of Prop 26 and 16.6% in favor of Prop 27. As it stands, the sentiment toward CA sports betting won’t change anytime soon. The earliest we can expect any new motions toward legalization is 2024.

Notable California sports betting developments

The legalization of sports betting in California is not on the horizon. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the timeline of legal developments in this area:

May 14, 2018: The Supreme Court repeals the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This monumental decision lifts a federal ban on sports betting, allowing each state to decide whether to legalize the activity. 

June 2019: Assemblyman Adam Gray and Senator Bill Dodd introduce two bills that would introduce legal gambling and sports betting.

Nov. 13, 2019: 18 Native American tribes in California form a coalition to support the  California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands initiative. To get the proposition on the November 2020 ballot, they need to collect 1,000,000 signatures.

June 22, 2020: Senator Bill Dodd pulls the plug on SCA 6. He states that the reason behind the decision is the inability to meet deadlines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

May 27, 2021: More than a million signatures for the California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative make this measure eligible for the November 2022 ballot.

Aug. 12, 2021: Several cities in California form a coalition, introducing the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act. This is a countermeasure against the sports betting initiatives proposed by the state’s tribes.

August 31, 2021: Backed by big gambling companies, the third sports betting initiative called California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act enters the race for the November 2022 ballot. It needs to collect almost a million signatures by May 2022 to qualify.

Feb. 23, 2022: UC Berkeley conducts a poll showing that 45% of the electorate supports sports betting, 33% opposes it, and the remainder is undecided.

May 2, 2022: A poll by David Binder Research reveals overwhelming support for the Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act, a measure that supports online sports betting. Major gambling companies back the initiative.

May 3, 2022: The initiative to legalize online sports betting collects 1.6 million signatures, thus qualifying for the ballot in November.

June 2022: Both the tribal and the online CA sports betting initiative qualify for the ballot, as Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber officially reveals.

July 10, 2022: The Democratic Party of California, the state’s major political group, reveals support for several ballot initiatives, barring the two sports betting measures. It strongly opposes Prop 27 while remaining impartial on Prop 26.

Aug. 19, 2022: The Republican Party discusses the two sports betting propositions, showing strong opposition.

Sept. 15, 2022: The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reveals the results of a public poll which indicate that 54% of voters wouldn’t vote in favor of Prop 27 on the November 2022 ballot.

Oct. 4, 2022: UC Berkeley conducts another poll that suggests a grim outlook for both CA sports betting initiatives. 53% of surveyed voters oppose Proposition 27, and 42% oppose Proposition 26. 

Oct. 31, 2022: An independent political analysis organization, Ballotpedia, reveals that the two sports betting propositions have become the costliest legislative measures in the state’s history. It reports a total of $569 million spent to support and oppose the initiatives.

Nov. 8, 2022: Propositions 26 and 27 get rejected on the November ballot. The tribe-led initiative receives support from 29.9% of voters, while the online sports betting measure gets only 16.6% of votes.

Nov. 9, 2022: FanDuel owner Peter Jackson voices his optimism for the future of sports betting in California, despite the decisive failure of the online wagering initiative the company supported.

Jan. 31, 2023: The California Gambling Control Commission introduces new regulations on gambling ads. The measures make sure ads incorporate information about responsible gambling.

May 26, 2023: Caesars Entertainment starts operating Caesars Racebook in the state.

Nov. 1, 2023: Two new legal California sports betting proposals are submitted to the state. However, the initiatives are filed without the input of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and are likely to receive strong opposition.

The legalization of the best sports betting sites in California remains uncertain as we wait to see whether 2024 will bring on any new developments. The table below summarizes the latest legal facts about the CA sports betting industry.

🚀CA online sports betting launch dateTBD
➡️ Legal sports betting ageTBD
🔔 California regulatorCalifornia Gambling Control Commission
📝 # of sports betting licenses0
🖥️ Online sports betting❌ No
🎰 Retail sports betting❌ No
🏈 Fantasy sports✅ Yes
🖥️ Online casinos❌ No
🃏 Online poker❌ No
📱Number of sports betting apps0
🌎 State population39.24 million
💸 Operator tax rateTBD

Likely California sportsbook apps

Although there are no legal California sportsbooks yet, we can predict which operators are likely to apply for licenses once the industry goes live. Read on to learn about the most prominent sportsbook operators in the U.S. that could launch sites and apps in California.

DraftKings 👑

Although it was initially launched as a DFS platform in 2011, DraftKings has steadily made a name for itself in sports betting. The operator has excellent betting market coverage and offers generous promotions regularly. Thanks to its outstanding sportsbook features, professional customer support, and quick payouts, the platform has received a lot of praise in the user experience realm, both for its website and mobile apps.

  • App Store Ratings: 4.8 on App Store and 4.6 on Google Play
  • Sign Up Bonus: TBD
  • Payout Speed: 60 minutes – 7 days

Learn more about DraftKings: DraftKings Sportsbook Review

Fan Duel 🔵

Shoulder to shoulder with DraftKings, FanDuel is a serious contender for the best online sportsbook in the U.S. The platform offers excellent versatility by providing a range of options for DFS, sports betting, and casino fans. It boasts a wide array of bonuses and promotions for all customers. New players in other states can bet $5 and win $150 in bonus bets, so Californians can expect a similar offer if the brand starts catering to its citizens.

  • App Store Ratings: 4.8 on App Store and 4.7 on Google Play
  • Sign Up Bonus: TBD
  • Payout Speed: 1 – 10 business days

Learn more about FanDuel: FanDuel Sportsbook Review

BetMGM 🦁

With a solid background in the casino and hospitality business, the Las Vegas-native company BetMGM has risen to the highest tiers of the sports betting industry. In addition to excellent market coverage, the brand offers some of the best live betting odds and lucrative promotions. The platform was even named Casino Operator of the Year by SBC in 2021 and 2022. Its app ratings on App Store and Google Play speak volumes about its attention to customer experience.

  • App Store Ratings: 4.8 on App Store and 3.6 on Google Play
  • Sign Up Bonus: TBD
  • Payout Speed: Up to 5 banking days

Learn more about BetMGM: BetMGM Sportsbook Review

Caesars 🏛

Keeping in line with the brand’s excellent track record spanning almost three decades, Caesars consistently ranks among the top five sportsbooks in the U.S. Its welcome bonus in other states grants new players an insurance bet of up to $1,000 on their first wager of $10 or more. Caesars also includes a generous loyalty rewards program, letting customers earn points to spend on bonus bets or at Caesars retail locations around the country. 

  • App Store Ratings: 4.6 on App Store and 4.3 on Google Play
  • Sign Up Bonus: TBD
  • Payout Speed: 1 – 5 business days

Learn more about Caesars: Caesars Sportsbook Review

Likely CA Sports Betting AppsBest Known For
Bally BetExclusive odds boosts
BetMGMBest parlay offers
Betfred SportsLive betting
BetwaySame game parlays
BetRiversReputable parent company
CaesarsTop new player bonus
DraftKingsExcellent user experience
ESPN BETTailored promotions
FanDuelTop-rated betting apps
Hard RockHousehold gambling company
Golden NuggetGolden Lines™
PointsBetPointsBetting™
UnibetQuick withdrawals

California sports betting neighbors

While California remains stiff regarding its regulations, the sports betting industry in its three neighboring states is blooming. Golden State’s sports betting fans can take advantage of multiple retail and online wagering options in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.

Arizona

Sports betting in Arizona became legal in September 2021. The state currently has 14 land-based and 17 online sportsbooks. What’s more, the Grand Canyon State also allows mobile betting and remote registration, and you don’t have to be a resident to sign up with and bet at its sportsbooks.

If you prefer in-person betting, you can visit Paradise Casino in Yuma, just 9 miles from the border. Just keep in mind that the minimum legal age for in-person and online sports betting in Arizona is 21.

Nevada

When it comes to all things gambling, no state does it better than Nevada. Its decades-long sports betting history has given birth to more than 200 retail locations and several online sports betting sites.

With Las Vegas less than 50 miles from the California-Nevada border, you won’t have to travel far to place your bets. When it comes to online wagering, Nevada features only four options, but these include household brands like Caesars, WynnBET, and BetMGM. 

The state laws don’t allow remote registration, so you’ll have to sign up in person at one of the partnering casinos.

Oregon

Oregon sports betting has a long and storied history. Legalized way back in 1989, sports betting in the Beaver State persisted until 2007, when Bill HB 3466 shut down Sports Action, the only sports betting platform in the state.

However, the overturn of PASPA in 2018 opened the door to legalization once again, and Oregon sportsbooks became a reality in 2019. The state currently allows in-person betting at four Native American casinos, while the only company operating an online sportsbook is DraftKings.

California sports betting step-by-step start guide

Although legalized sports betting in California is still not a reality, there is hope that this may change in the not-too-distant future. Before sportsbooks come to the Golden State, let’s take a look at this comprehensive guide on how to place bets.

Select a sportsbook licensed in California

Choose a sportsbook that is licensed to operate in California, as only these sites can be completely safe. Also, read our extensive and impartial reviews to compare the different sportsbook features, such as bonuses and available markets, and choose the one that meets your needs and preferences.

Register online

If California legalizes online sports betting, bettors will probably be able to sign up remotely via their desktop browser or mobile app. However, if the state approves only retail betting, customers will have to find the nearest land-based casino or sportsbook and place their bets in person.

Deposit and claim a bonus

Once you create an account with a California online sportsbook, you will have to deposit some money. Potential CA sports betting sites will likely be offered popular payment methods like credit and debit cards, cash, and PayPal. Don’t forget also to check out the site’s welcome bonus, as it may provide a good starting boost to your bankroll.

Select and finalize your bet

Enter the sportsbook lobby and choose the type of sport or league you’d like to bet on. Then, choose a sporting event and the type of bet you’d like to place and consider the odds. Enter the amount you’d like to wager and confirm your bet.

Win and withdraw your payout

Most sportsbooks allow you to withdraw your winnings using the same banking option(s) you previously used to make deposits. Before making your first withdrawal, the operator will likely ask you to go through the verification process. After that’s done, the withdrawal transaction will take several days to complete, depending on the site and your chosen payment method.

California sports leagues and teams to bet on

In stark contrast to the illegal status sports betting has in California, the state is home to the largest number of sports franchises and has the most sports betting fans in the country. With such an array of betting options, Californian sports fans will have ample opportunities to back their favorite teams.

NHL 🏒 NFL 🏈NBA 🏀MLB ⚾
Anaheim DucksLos Angeles ChargersGolden State WarriorsOakland Athletics
Los Angeles KingsSan Francisco 49ersLos Angeles LakersLos Angeles Angels
San Jose SharksLos Angeles RamsLos Angeles ClippersSan Diego Padres
  Sacramento KingsLos Angeles Dodgers
   San Francisco Giants

Sportsbooks by category

California sports betting and the taxman

It’s difficult to say what the tax rate for sports betting winnings will be after legalization. However, according to the current law, bettors have to pay a federal tax of 24% on all gambling winnings.

In addition to that, these winnings may also be subject to California income tax. In this case, you’ll be obligated to pay a rate determined by your tax bracket. Unfortunately, income taxes in the Golden State can go up to 13.30%, the highest of any U.S. state.

What’s missing from California sports betting?

Until sports betting comes to California, we won’t be able to say for sure which markets will be off-limits. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some plausible options.

Politics

Betting on politics is not permitted in any U.S. jurisdictions, so we expect the same to happen in California once betting gets legalized.

Entertainment award ceremonies

In contrast to politics, entertainment award ceremonies are often a betting option on popular American betting sites. Popular markets like the Emmys and the Oscars could also be included in California sportsbooks.

Esports

Esports betting has been gaining traction in recent years, which means it could become a possibility at California betting sites. Players can expect to bet on LoL, Dota 2, Valorant, CS:GO, and more.

What about Daily Fantasy Sports?

Since California’s law doesn’t mention Daily Fantasy Sports in either a positive or negative light, the industry operates in the legal gray area. This means Californians can sign up on notable DFS sites and place bets. In fact, California is the largest single-state DFS market in the country including operators like Thrive Fantasy.

California college sports betting 🎓

Betting on college sports is legal and quite popular in most U.S. states that have legalized sports betting. 

However, this betting option also comes with some common restrictions, as many states forbid betting on in-state college teams. In addition to that, Arizona, California’s neighboring state, doesn’t allow college prop bets. 

If the Golden State were to legalize sports betting, we could expect college sports betting to become available. Whether it will have restrictions imposed by other states remains to be seen.

Responsible California sports betting

When and if sports betting becomes regulated in California, licensed operators will have to offer resources on responsible gambling and gambling problems. 

Like other states, California sportsbooks would have to allow users to set deposit and betting limits and exclude themselves from the brand’s services. In addition to that, they would also have to provide links to organizations that help with gambling problems.

The Californian authority currently in charge of responsible gambling in the state is The California Council on Problem Gambling (CalPG). This non-profit organization educates the public on the potential dangers of excessive gambling, promotes responsible behaviors, and helps individuals and families affected by gambling problems.

Sportsbooks to avoid in California

With the hurdles CA sports betting has been facing and the long wait for legalization, Californians may find offshore sportsbooks tempting. However, we strongly advise against registering and placing bets on these sites since they're unregulated and can, thus, be a threat to your money and information.

The table below shows some of our blacklisted offshore sportsbooks and why we warn against them.

BetOnSports ❌TopBet ❌ 131Sport ❌BetIslands ❌
Closed in 2006More than a dozen reports on confiscated winningsScam sportsbookWent offline in 2012, owing $1.5 million to players
$16 million owed to customersScam siteClosed in October 2007, owing more than $45,000 to players 
CEO indicted for racketeering   

Growth of sports betting 📈

When the U.S. Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018, the growth of legal sports betting in the United States skyrocketed. Close to three dozen states have since legalized some form of sports betting, with the most common legislation including the licensing of online sportsbooks and mobile betting apps. Check our legal sports betting tracker to find out more about any state you're interested in. 

Over the past two years, large states like Ohio and Massachusetts have enjoyed massively successful online betting launches. Sports fans get an extra way to engage with their favorite teams, and the states earn plenty of much-needed revenue from licensing fees and taxes.

Most recently, legal North Carolina sports betting arrived on March 11, 2024, bringing eight of the best sportsbooks in the country to the Tar Heel state. And with events like the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing betting events, the excitement and opportunities for sports betting enthusiasts continue to grow.

For more information on the best betting sites for horse racing, check out our guides Kentucky Derby betting sites and horse racing betting sites.

List of California sports betting resources

State of California Department of Justice — Law enforcement department

California Legislative Information — Digital archive of California law codes and bills

CalMatters — Californian nonprofit news organization

California Gambling Control Commission — Gambling regulator

The California Council on Problem Gambling — Non-profit organization dedicated to responsible gambling 

California sports betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in California?

No, it isn’t. California considers both retail and online sports betting illegal.

When will sports betting be legal in California?

It’s difficult to say. The last attempt to legalize sports betting happened in November 2022, and we can’t expect another initiative before 2024.

Is betting on horse racing legal in California?

Yes, it is. Californians can place pari-mutuel bets on horse races at the state’s racetracks and at off-track betting facilities.

Is online sports betting legal in California?

No, it isn’t. Proposition 27, which aimed to legalize online sports betting, fell through on the November 2022 ballot.

When will online California sports betting go live?

It’s uncertain. We’ll have to wait for new propositions and ballot measures to see if legalized California sports bettinghas a future.

Where can I bet on sports in California?

Unfortunately, you can’t bet on sports in California. However, you can cross the border to Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon to take advantage of legal retail and online sports betting opportunities.

What sportsbooks are legal in California?

There are no legal sportsbooks in California. The state hasn’t legalized this gambling activity yet.

Do you have to live in California to bet online?

You can’t bet online in California. However, you can bet online in other U.S. states if you’re physically located there.

How do you place a sports bet in California?

If California legalizes sports betting, you’ll have to choose a licensed sportsbook, create an account, deposit, choose a bet type, and place your bet.

Are sports betting apps legal in California?

No, they aren’t. California bans all types of sports betting, including sports betting apps.

What is the minimum age to bet in California?

It’s unclear what the minimum sports betting age will be once California legalizes the activity. However, we can assume it will be 21, like in most other U.S. states.