Why Trust BestSportsBettingCalifornia.com?
Best Sports Betting California is a site dedicated to properly informing potential bettors of the current laws and regulations in the Golden State.
Here, users can quickly find the resources and updates needed to legally bet on sports in California. We provide law breakdowns, legislative news, and key updates to ensure that everything is clear. Join us to learn more, with BestSportsBettingCalifornia.com highlights including:
- Regulation updates for sports betting in California
- The latest news regarding legal sports wagering
- A complete analysis of the current betting landscape
Is Sports Betting Legal in California?
No, sports betting is not legal in California. Residents of the state had the chance to legalize sports gambling on two occasions in 2022. However, both ballot propositions lost, and by significant margins. As a result, the best step going forward will probably be another proposition, requiring voters to go back to the polls.
Even if this time the proposition receives enough votes, it will probably take more than a year for the regulations to be put in place. That means that legalized sports betting in California would be possible in 2024.
Before reaching that point however, there is quite a bit of work to do. The ballots in 2022 showed just how powerful the Native tribes are when it comes to legalizing CA sports betting. The next commercial proposition has to include the tribes and offer them advantageous terms in order to back the change in regulations.
On top of everything, we also have to consider the impact that the presidential election will have in 2024. Most likely, there won’t be enough support for sports betting in California and the focus will be on other topics that are more pressing.
As it stands right now, the main form of legal sports betting in California is on horse racing. This applies to both in-person betting at any of the five racetracks, and online betting, but only at a handful of authorized off-track betting parlors and at advance deposit wagering (ADW) sites. The California Horse Racing Board is in charge of overseeing the action.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are also available in California and can act as a substitute for sports betting. Here, users take part in competitions where they draft a fictional team within a selected sports league and compete with other players.
California Sports Betting Latest Updates: Timeline
California was certainly busy in 2022 in regards to sports betting. Get the highlights and the latest updates right here:
- January 3, 2023 – The new legislative season begins in California with only a few mentions of sports betting in the state.
- November 8, 2022 – Both Proposition 26 (backed by Native tribes) and Proposition 27 (backed by sportsbooks) fail to get the votes needed to pass.
- October 26, 2022 – Gov. Gavin Newsom opposes Proposition 27 on online sports betting in California.
FAQs about Sports Betting in California
When will sports betting be legal in California?
At this time, it doesn’t look like Californian voters will pass a sports betting proposal during the 2023-2024 ballot, even if one gets added. As a result, online sports betting in California is probably at least two years away. A more realistic scenario would be five years.
Why is sports betting illegal in California?
Legal sports betting in California isn’t yet legal because voters in the state didn’t back either of the two propositions in 2022. These would have allowed for sports betting regulations in the state, although with different operators being in charge.
What sports betting apps are legal in California?
Right now, there aren’t any apps for legal online betting in California. Residents can only access daily fantasy sports apps and take part in contests with real money prizes. Online horse racing betting is also legal on authorized sites.
Why don’t the California gaming tribes have sports betting?
Native tribes in California can’t offer real money sports betting options due to current regulations in the state. They did back Proposition 26 in 2022, which would allow retail sports betting at the 67 tribal casinos in the state. However, this didn’t get enough votes to pass.
Can I play DraftKings in California?
You can take part in daily fantasy sports competitions at DraftKings in California. While the operator also has sports betting options in other states, these are not available here.
Can I use BetMGM in California?
No, BetMGM is not available in California for sports betting or casino gaming at this time.
When will Sports Betting be Legal in California?
The earliest that Californians could be able to legally bet on sports is in 2024 if an agreement is reached in 2023. However, this is very unlikely after the two CA sports betting propositions fell through in 2022.
A more realistic timeline for legal California sports betting would be that it passes in 2025 and goes live in 2026. This would give the key stakeholders in the state enough time to come to an agreement, even with the hassle of the presidential election in 2024.
As it stands right now, there are two competing sides that both want legal sports betting in California, but in different ways.
The coalition of tribal gambling operators pushed Prop 26 on the ballot for November 2022. This saw to legalize sports betting at retail locations at tribal casinos and racetracks in California. However, it wouldn’t allow for online sports betting in the state. It failed with only 30% of votes being in favor.
Commercial operators also formed a group and introduced Prop 27, which made it to the same ballot in November 2022. Some of the supporting members were DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, WynnBET, and Bally’s. This proposition aimed to allow CA sports betting apps. It failed even worse with only 17% of voters saying yes.
What makes it even more impressive is that both sides spent more than $450 million in advertising and support for the props. This makes it one of the most expensive measure fights on a ballot in US history.
Despite the massive spending, neither of the two bills came close to passing in 2022. It seems that in order to legalize sports betting in California, both the Native tribes and the sportsbook operators need to be on the same page.
Previous Sports Betting Bills in California
There have been several attempts to legalize gambling in the state and bring the best betting sites to California. While none of them made it into law, there is something to learn from these failed measures.
- Prop 27 – A proposition to allow Native tribes and gambling companies to offer sports betting online in California. Supported by BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and other known brands.
- Prop 26 – A proposition to allow in-person betting on sports at tribal casinos and racetracks in California. Supported by the coalition of tribal casino operators in the state.
- 21-0009A1 – A ballot initiative that would allow for tribal casino operators, professional sports teams, cardroom operators, and racetrack companies to apply for licenses for retail and mobile sports betting apps in California. It failed to make it on the ballot due to lack of signatures.
- SCA-6 – Known as the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act. A measure that would legalize CA sports betting, including online and mobile wagering, provided by federally recognized Indian tribes.
Is Offshore Betting Legal in California?
No, all offshore sports betting sites in California are illegal. While many of them accept CA residents and provide real money wagering options, these platforms don’t come with local licenses or customer protection. As a result, users aren’t guaranteed that they will be able to withdraw their funds from the sites after betting.
Past issues with offshore gambling sites also include unfair games, blocked accounts, and even overnight disappearing acts. While they represent the only way to currently bet on sports online in California, we advise against betting on offshore sportsbooks.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in California?
Daily fantasy sports aren’t actually legal in California, but they are available without any hassle. In fact, DFS operators receive more contest entries from California than from any other state in the nation. It is estimated that they take in more than $200 million from entry costs every year.
Despite the great popularity of daily fantasy sports among Californians, the state hasn’t formally legalized the practice. The operators are mostly allowed to fly under the radar within the unregulated market. The drawback is that these DFS sites don’t contribute to taxes in California.
Best DFS Apps in California
FanDuel and DraftKings are the two biggest operators for California daily fantasy sports betting contests. The two brands are renowned throughout the country and account for most of the market share. Both offer online sites and mobile apps with various contests for NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and other leagues.
Other notable DFS apps in California include Fantasy Draft and Yahoo Fantasy. While these are smaller in overall contest offerings and the number of users, they are easy to access and include special promotions.
Professional California Sports Teams
Given the fact that California is the most populous state in the nation and the third largest by overall area, it isn’t really a surprise to learn that it is home to multiple professional sports teams. In fact, it has the most major sporting franchises out of any other state. A solid California sports betting bill would instantly appeal to countless fans of these teams across major leagues.
NFL Teams in California
The NFL is the most popular sporting league in California in terms of viewership and fans. There are three local teams that compete in the league, so Californians definitely have plenty of reasons to be proud during the season.
The San Francisco 49ers play at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and are easily regarded as one of the top teams in the NFL. They won the Super Bowl a total of five times, although the most recent title was in 1994. They did make it to the big game in 2020 but weren’t able to take down the Kansas City Chiefs.
Los Angeles Rams have a lot of fans and would be a top pick for NFL betting in California if this becomes legal. Founded in 1936, the franchise has a total of four league championships, with two of them being in the Super Bowl. A big reason for their popularity nowadays is their championship win in 2021.
Los Angeles Chargers haven’t managed to bring a Super Bowl trophy to California just yet, but they have frequent appearances in the NFL playoffs. They even faced the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl XXIX for a completely California-based final to the 1995 NFL season.
NBA Teams in California
As soon as California sports betting becomes available, NBA will definitely be a top choice for customers. Basketball is the second most popular sport in the state and there are several NBA teams based here.
The Golden State Warriors are one of the biggest sporting teams in the US. Based in San Francisco, the Warriors have six NBA titles, with the most recent one being in 2022. They are the team to beat right now and their many fans know this.
The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be immensely popular, even if they haven’t had the best performances in recent years. Even so, the franchise has won a total of 17 NBA championships, making the Lakers tied with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles.
The Sacramento Kings have five division titles and one NBA championship win, although none of them are recent. They won in the finals against the New York Knicks in 1951.
The Los Angeles Clippers play at the same venue as the Lakers, the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California. The team had a good run in the 2010s and won two division titles in a row. However, the Clippers didn’t do so well in the postseason and weren’t able to bring home the trophy.
MLB Teams in California
With a total of five teams in the MLB being based in California, baseball betting definitely has a lot of potentials. After all, it is the oldest major sports league in the nation and it has strong roots in the state.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most successful franchises in the MLB. They also have a long history that goes back to 1883. Over the many years, the Dodgers have won a total of seven World Series championships. They also hold the record for the most National League pennants won in history, with 24 titles.
The San Francisco Giants MLB team started as the New York Gothams in 1883. It then became the New York Giants in 1886 and moved to San Francisco in 1958. It is the franchise with the most wins out of any other major sports team in the US.
The Los Angeles Angels haven’t had the most success in the MLB and were even considered to be cursed at some point. They did manage to win the World Series in 2002, making them one of three MLB teams with only one game played in the World Series. The Angels have a total of nine AL West Division titles, the most recent being in 2014.
The Oakland Athletics, also known as the A’s, is a professional MLB team that plays at the Oakland Coliseum. The franchise has nine World Series titles, although the most recent one is from 1989. As for other results, the Athletics won the West Division in 2020.
The San Diego Padres are one of the smaller MLB teams, with only a few major wins. They did win the two NL pennants but lost in the World Series both times.
NHL Teams in California
While ice isn’t the first thing that most people think of when it comes to California, the state does have a big hockey following. There are three teams based in CA, which would make it one of the biggest sports betting markets for the sport.
The Los Angeles Kings are the most popular NHL team in California. They won two Stanley Cups and now play at the same arena as the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers from the NBA.
The Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup during the 2006-2007 season and have a total of six division championships. The team used to be called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim when they were owned by the Walt Disney Company. In 2005, Disney sold the team and the new owners changed the name to the Anaheim Ducks.
The San Jose Sharks claimed one conference championship, in the 2015-2016 season, but haven’t won an NHL championship title yet.
College Sports Teams in California
There are more Division I college sports teams in California than in any other state in the nation. Tens of universities have college athletics programs that compete at the highest level for football, basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer. This would help boost action for sports betting in California even further.
However, we should mention that most states with legal wagering don’t allow betting on college sporting events that take place within their borders, or on games that involve local teams. It remains to be seen if a future California sports betting bill includes this mention or not.
NCAAF Teams in California
There are seven teams based in California that compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). An additional four teams compete in the FCS, which is the second highest level for college football in the US.
The Best NCAAF Teams in California are:
- California Golden Bears
- Fresno State Bulldogs
- San Diego State Aztecs
- San Jose State Spartans
- Stanford Cardinals
- UCLA Bruins
- USC Trojans
NCAAB Teams in California
There are 26 NCAA Basketball Division I teams in California, the most out of any state. It is safe to say that March Madness is felt on a whole different level in the Golden State. The lack of sports betting in California does mean that interested fans have to cross state borders to place wagers on their favorite college teams.
The Best NCAAB Teams in California are:
- UCLA Bruins
- San Francisco Dons
- Cal Poly Mustangs
- Stanford Cardinals
- USC Trojans
- Santa Clara Broncos
- Saint Mary’s Gaels
- Long Beach State Beach
- Pacific Tigers
- Loyola Marymount Lions
Other Popular Sports in California
The list of popular sports continues as there are quite a few other professional and collegiate sports teams based in California.
Soccer is massive here and there are three teams that compete in the Major League Soccer (MLS). These are the Los Angeles Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, and the Carson Chivas USA. Moreover, almost all of the 26 main universities have Division I soccer teams for both men’s and women’s leagues. The state even hosted several games during the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Horse racing is also big in California, although there are only five racetracks, which is not that many given the size of the state. These all allow for in-person betting and fans can also place their bets online through 24 off-track betting parlors and licensed online wagering providers. It is the only form of California legal sports betting available right now.
Golf, gymnastics, esports, motorsports, and mixed martial arts are also popular in California.
Sports Betting History in California
As a frontier state, gambling has always been a big part of California. During the 19th century, the Wild West saw a massive boom in gambling activities. The gold rush was in full swing and general mining brought a lot of people to the region, many in search of quick riches. Gambling games fit right in and parlors were easily accessible in the main cities.
In the 1970s, California started developing Indian reserves by allowing them to open casinos. The Oneida tribe opened the first bingo club and it quickly exceeded the imposed limits on the number of prize bets. However, the tribe argued that the laws of the state do not apply to them as they are indigenous people of the region.
This argument allowed Indian clubs to spread as other Native American tribes followed in the same footsteps.
In the 1980s, the California Gambling Control Commission was formed and put in charge of regulating Indian businesses within the state. While attempts started with a ban on gambling, the tribes were quick to respond with a lawsuit that would last for several years.
In 1984, the California State Lottery was introduced and it started selling tickets in 1985. It now has scratch cards, local draw games, and multistate lotteries, like Mega Millions and Powerball.
In 1987, the US Supreme Court stated that local governments don’t have the power to ban gambling on Indian reservations. One year later, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed into law and provided the legislative basis for gambling operators organized by Indian tribes. There are now 67 casinos in California, operated by 61 tribes, plus another 18 cruise ship casinos.
How California Sports Betting Laws Compare to Neighboring States
California is definitely under a lot of pressure from neighboring states when it comes to sports betting and other forms of gambling. While the big cities are located on the west coast, the drive to the border on the east is reasonably short for fans of sports betting in California.
Nevada is the go-to destination for those who want to place legal sports bets from California. Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the US, is only a 4-hour drive away from Los Angeles.
Moreover, Nevada was the first state to legalize mobile sports betting and players can now choose from quite a few apps. Basically, every major land-based casino chain in the state has its own sportsbook app. The only drawback is that customers have to register in person at a casino before they can start betting from anywhere within Nevada’s borders.
Arizona launched sports betting in September, 2021. Now, there are 18 online sports betting sites available in the state. While still in its early stages, the sports betting industry in Arizona is doing very well. This is also in small part due to Californians in the San Diego area that wish to place sports bets.
To the north, California has yet another neighboring state that legalized sports betting. However, there are some unique rules to keep in mind when wagering in Beaver State. The most important aspect is that there is only one mobile app that CA sports betting fans can use once they cross the border into Oregon – DraftKings Sportsbook.
California Sports Betting Conclusion
The bottom line is that sports betting is not currently legal in California, despite multiple recent attempts to change this. In 2022, residents voted on two propositions that would allow for CA sports wagering under different operators. However, both of these propositions failed and didn’t make it into law.
There are two competing sides when it comes to legalizing sports betting in California – Native tribes and commercial sportsbook operators. While the proposition initiated by the Native tribes received more votes, it is clear that both sides need to work together to pass sports betting legislation in the state.
Other attempts to legalize wagering in California will most probably take place in 2023 and voters will have to go back to the polls. Even if one of these is successful, it will take some time before sportsbooks can go live. As a result, the earliest that sports betting could be available in California would be in 2024. However, a more realistic timeline would be 2025 or later.