Brick-and-mortar casinos sometimes stand in the way of online gambling. California is the perfect example of how land-based gaming interests block online gambling. California’s lawmakers tried to pass online poker laws for the past decade, but have been unsuccessful. A longstanding dispute between two blocks of tribal casinos undermined several bills sponsored by Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Lou Correa, and Mike Gatto. PokerStars is the source of the dispute, because it would dominate online poker sites in California.
The Golden State therefore has unregulated online gambling. California residents are not charged with a crime for gambling online, but they don’t have responsible gambling tools and consumer protections. This guide to legal online poker in California provides residents with the information to gamble online in a safe, fun, and worry-free way. We also discuss the best online casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting sites for Californians.Have a crypto wallet? See the best online crypto casinos!
California Online Gambling Quick Menu:
There are no written laws in the state of California that prohibit, ban, or regulate online gambling. Residents are not arrested or prosecuted for gambling online. California requires residents to be 18 years of age to play the lottery. Residents of California must be 21 years of age to play in online casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, and bingo halls.
California makes it illegal to start your own online gambling business. In the state of California, all residents must pay taxes on any revenue earned from online gambling. It is illegal not to report winnings from online gambling and pay taxes on revenue.
Many gambling sites accept Californians. Online gambling fans who want to play at a safe card room should read honest reviews by other players. We list online gambling sites that are safe, trusted, entertaining, and accept California residents. We discuss signup bonuses and deposit bonuses. We stand by our reviews, but encourage readers to do their own research.
Poker is a very popular game in California, while private card rooms offer offline poker games. For those who wish to play poker online, many card sites exist, too. Because iPoker is unregulated, some poker rooms can’t be trusted. The sites we review are safe, entertaining, trusted, and accept California residents. We refuse to give rogue sites publicity, so any of the online poker rooms we mention are trustworthy and reliable.
Online bingo sites are not as popular as online casinos, sportsbooks, or poker rooms in the state of California, but there are a few who still enjoy them. For those who wish to join an online bingo hall, we have provided you with safe and entertaining choices in our list of online gambling sites. Join one today for fun, carefree, entertaining bingo games.
Sports wagering is not legal in California at the moment, though gaming analysts speculate that the Golden State will be one of the dozen or more US states which is likely to legalize land-based sportsbooks & online betting sites in the next 5 years. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court repealed a 46-state federal ban on sports betting. California could follow suit in the next two years.
The Californian legislature could legalize sports betting in 2019 or 2020, just as New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia passed single-game sports bet laws. If California operators come together, then a constitutional amendment to approve sports betting might happen in the near future. Since no dominant sportsbook exists in the bookmaker market, the tribes are more likely to agree on sports betting.
Daily fantasy sports regulations were a part of online poker bills in 2016 and 2017. Because DFS was tied to online poker, the measures failed. Daily fantasy sports is not banned, but no regulations exist. DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel accept real money play from Californians.
Though unregulated, California residents will find most online betting sites in California provide a safe gaming, reliable payouts, and generous welcome bonuses.
Online poker is unregulated in California, but passing regulations is complicated. Online gambling needs no constitutional amendment, but tribal casinos cannot agree on the laws, so multiple bills failed over the years. Four separate state lawmakers have introduced a total of 11 different online poker bills over the past 9 years, but each bill failed to pass out of committee.
The first bill was introduced by State Senator Roderick Wright in 2010, at a time when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) still banned iPoker. Sen. Wright reintroduced the bill two years later, after the Department of Justice issued an opinion which allowed for state-licensed online poker. In 2013, the California Online Poker Association (COPA) split into two factions over the future of California online poker.
One faction was led by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The two signed a deal with PokerStars, the largest online poker site in the world. So did a handful of commercial poker clubs, like the Bicycle Club and Commerce Club in Los Angeles.
The other faction was led by the Pechanga Band of Luseno Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the Pala Band of Mission Indians. This group wanted to block PokerStars’ entry into the California online poker market. Because PokerStars commands 70% of the global market and players like its platform, poker rake, and payout structure, they knew the PokerStars coalition would dominate online poker in California.
The Pechanga-led group claimed PokerStars was a “bad actor”, because it accepted real money play from American cardplayers from the time the UIGEA went into effect (Dec. 31, 2006) until the Department of Justice shut down PokerStars’ US domain on Black Friday (April 15, 2011). The Pechanga coalition insisted any poker legislation should have a bad actor clause to ban PokerStars from California perpetually — or delay their entry for 5 to 10 years.
Every attempt to pass iPoker legislation foundered over the bad actor clause, despite several attempts to find a compromise. In April 2016, while Amaya Gaming (Stars Group) CEO David Baazov faced an investigation in Canada, the San Manuel Band pulled out of the pro-PokerStars faction. Roderick Wright left California politics in 2013, but Sen. Lou Correa championed internet poker. Correa eventually ended his active support in 2015, but Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Mike Gatto made several attempts to pass California online poker laws. No attempts have worked to this date.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who now is the most prominent supporter of California iPoker, said he might introduce a new version of the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act in 2019, but both sides need a “cooling off” period before that happens. Thus, no California online poker laws exist.
Here is a full list of the various bills that have been introduced to the California legislature over the years. Lawmakers have re-submitted certain bills two or more times, which is why some bills have similar names.
|Name of Bill||Year||Lawmaker||Supported||Opposed|
|Senate Bill 1485||2010||Sen. Roderick Wright||N/A||N/A|
|Senate Bill 1485||2012||Sen. Roderick Wright||California Online Poker Association (COPA)|
|Senate Bill 1485||2013||Sen. Roderick Wright||A faction of COPA members.||A faction of COPA members.|
|Senate Bill 678||2013||Sen. Lou Correa||A faction of COPA members||A faction of COPA members|
|Senate Bill 1366||2014||Sen. Edwin Correa||Morongo Tribe, San Manuel Band||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|Senate Bill 1366||2015||Sen. Edwin Correa||Morongo Tribe, San Manuel Band||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|California Online Poker Bill 2014 (AB2291)||2014||Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer||Morongo Tribe, San Manuel Band, Bicycle Club||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|California Online Poker Bill 2015 (AB2291)||2015||Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer||Morongo Tribe, San Manuel Band, Bicycle Club||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|2015 California Online Poker Bill (AB 167)||2015||Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Reggie Jones-Sawyer||Morongo Tribe, San Manuel Band, Bicycle Club||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|Assembly Bill 9 Online Poker Bill (AB 9)||2016||Assemblyman Mike Gatto||Morongo Tribe, Bicycle Club||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
|Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act 2017||2017||Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer||Morongo Tribe, Bicycle Club||Pechanga, Agua Caliente, Pala Tribes|
California is home to over 100 different poker rooms, many of them available if you run a Google search of “Card rooms near me”. This list includes addresses, phone numbers as well as how many poker tables are available in the poker room along with table games.
711 West Shaw Avenue
Clovis, California 93612-3214
12 Poker Tables, 6 Table Games
|The Aviator Casino
1225 Airport Drive
Delano, California 93215-9344
12 Poker Tables
|Artichoke Joe’s Casino
659 Huntington Avenue
San Bruno, California 94066-3608
51 Poker and Table Games
111 Monterey Street
Salinas, California 93901-3406
5 Poker Tables, Racebook
|Bay 101 Casino
1788 North First Street
San Jose, California 95112-4508
23 Poker Tables, 26 Table Games
|The Bicycle Hotel & Casino
888 Bicycle Casino Drive
Bell Gardens, California 90201-7617
135 Poker Tables, 60 Table Games
|California Grand Casino
5988 Pacheco Boulevard
Pacheco, California 94553-5608
14 Poker Tables, 5 Table Games
|Cameo Club Casino
552 West Benjamin Holt Drive
Stockton, California 95207-3827
3 Poker Tables, 5 Table Games
411 North 16th Street
Sacramento, California 95811-0516
10 Poker Tables, 7 Table Games
175 East 20th Street, Suite 150
Chico, California 95928-6631
6 Poker Tables, 2 Table Games
1887 Matrix Boulevard
San Jose, California 95110-2309
49 Poker and Gaming Tables
1885 Hilltop Drive
Redding, California 96002-0266
5 Poker Tables
515 Fourth Street
Marysville, California 95901-5601
4 Poker Tables, 2 Table Games
123 East Artesia Boulevard
Compton, California 90220-4925
42 Poker and Gaming Tables
|Club One Casino
1033 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, California 93721-2006
16 Poker Tables, 35 Table Games
|Casino Monterey: Marina Club
204 Carmel Avenue
Marina, California 93933-3044
3 Poker Tables, 7 Table Games
6131 Telegraph Road
Commerce, California 90040-2501
200 Poker Tables, 70 Table Games
1355 North Main Street
Manteca, California 95336-3212
6 Poker Tables, 7 Table Games
For those who might have missed basic information in the guide above, we include a “frequently asked questions” section with a few of the most common questions readers have about California online gambling. Read through this handy set of Q&A’s to learn about major legal concerns you might have about playing at online poker sites, casinos, and sportsbooks in California.
California residents can gamble online, but they need to be choosy about the online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites they use. California has an unregulated online gambling industry, so you’ll be playing at offshore sites. Use due diligence to make sure a website is trusted, safe, and entertaining.
Online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms operate in a legal gray area. The California legislature has not legalized online gaming sites, but no ban exists on iGaming, either. Lawmakers in California have tried to have such laws passed and have failed so far, because the many land-based gaming interests can’t agree on new laws.
California authorities do not arrest online gamblers. While no residents of California have ever gone to jail for gambling online, that does not mean it might not happen in the future. US operators might face prosecution, but only the most radical public figures (in Pennsylvania) have called for law enforcement to prosecute gamblers. Before you bet online for real money, please make certain of the federal, state, and local laws on gambling.
Online casinos are not regulated in the state of California, but they are not banned, either.
Residents of California cannot go to jail for gambling online. Californians who gamble online are not prosecuted in the Golden State. If you are unsure of the information we provide here, please contact a lawyer to discuss California gambling laws.