If you’re looking for safe and legal online casino gaming in the state of California, you’ll be happy to know that you have several options to choose from. The state is a long way from legalizing real-money online gambling, with a recent effort to launch online sports betting failing at the ballot box. But the best California online casinos offer tons of slots, plus table games and more, with bonus codes that make it possible to win cash prizes for free.
California Online Casino Quick Links
Online Casino Gaming for Cash Prizes in California
While players in California don’t have access to safe, legal real-money online casinos, they can play at social and sweepstakes sites that offer free Sweeps Coins on signup. Play the games to win Sweeps Coins, and redeem the winnings for cash prizes. Get started with the bonus offers below.
of Gold Coins for $10
Terms and conditions apply. Gambling is for entertainment purposes only. Stay safe and ensure success when you gamble responsibly. Gambling problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER for confidential support. Visit SAMHSA’s National Helpline website for resources that include treatment center locator, anonymous chat, and more.
How We Rank the Best California Online Casinos
Determining the legal status of an online casino is the very first step of our ranking process. If an online casino isn’t fully legal and above board, it does not make our top lists and is immediately removed from our ranking consideration. Illegal and offshore casinos pose many threats to players, including but not limited to stolen personal and financial information. This is why we only recommend legal online casinos, and since legal real-money options don’t yet exist in California, why we only recommend sweepstakes and social casinos within the state.
Once we have legality and security verified, we begin at the start of the user journey, which is the welcome bonus. Some welcome bonuses may seem large and generous, but we dig further into terms and conditions to ensure that these welcome bonuses are fair, attainable, and are as they appear to be in the large print. This includes reasonable playthrough requirements, time limits, game eligibility, and more — and that’s just the start. Essentially, our casino experts do the heavy lifting for you to ensure you’ll receive a welcome bonus that’s both fun and potentially rewarding.
Bonuses for Existing Players
The rewards shouldn’t stop once you’ve signed up. The best California online casinos offer appealing bonuses for existing players to both attract and retain those players. Our approach here is much like that of our approach to welcome bonuses, which includes delving into the terms and conditions to make sure bonuses are attainable and fair. However, here, we also take into account the variety of types of bonuses and the frequency of bonuses offered.
The variety and breadth of a game catalog is obviously an important part of ranking the best California online casinos, which is why we weigh this section heavily in our research. Not only do the best online casinos offer slots, table games, and other game categories, but they also offer variety within each of those categories. This variety should come in the form of game features (bonus rounds, side bets, etc.), minimum and maximum bet amounts, and even theme. This is also where your own research should come into play — for example, a player who focuses primarily on table games shouldn’t pick an online casino that prides itself on its slot selection alone.
We always believe that reputation is important because there’s almost always a reason why an online casino holds the reputation that it does. For our rankings, we take into consideration not only the reputation that each online casino holds, but why it holds that reputation. If it’s a positive reputation, we make sure to point out why. If it’s a negative reputation, we look to see if the online casino is or has already taken steps to mitigate the reasons for that negativity.
Loyalty and Rewards
Some of the best online casinos have made it to where they are based on the quality of their loyalty and rewards programs. So, while this isn’t an essential piece of the online casino experience, we do take it into consideration for our rankings. We look at whether or not an online casino offers a loyalty or rewards program, and if it does, the details of that program itself.
California Online Gambling Snapshot
|🎂 Minimum Gambling Age:
|💰 Cash Prize Limit?
|No limit to size of cash prizes
|🎰 Best for Casino Players:
|🏈 Best for Sports Bettors:
|Fliff Sports Picks
|♣️ Best for Poker Players:
|🎉 Newest California Online Casino:
|👩⚖️ State Regulator:
|California Gambling Control Commission
|✅ Sweepstakes Casinos:
|✅ Sweepstakes Poker:
|✅ Sweepstakes Sportsbooks:
|✅ Sweepstakes Sportsbooks:
|✅ Online Horse Betting:
|✅ Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS):
|❌ Real-Money Online Casinos:
|No, Not Legal
|❌ Real-Money Online Sportsbooks:
|No, Not Legal
|❌ Online Lottery:
|No, Not Legal
|📞 Gambling Helpline:
|✍️ Facts Updated:
California Online Casino Games
Slots in California
Sweepstakes and social casinos available to California players offer a wide variety and selection of slots. Themes varying from Asian-themed slots to Ancient Egyptian-themed slots can be found, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond that, players can choose from slots that feature a wide range of features, bonus rounds, bet amounts, and more. Essentially, all players from those new and on a budget to high rollers can find something they enjoy here.
Table Games in California
Table games players in the state, while not presented with as rich a catalog as slots, can still find all of the classics from blackjack to roulette and more. Where some sweepstakes and social casinos lack variety is game variations that offer side bets that can’t be found in land-based casinos, but this should have no effect on a true table game player’s enjoyment. While you may have to search a little harder to find your ideal table game selections, they do exist and are readily available in California.
More California Online Casino Games
Where California sweepstakes and social casinos go above and beyond land-based retail casinos is with unique game offerings. Often called “originals”, players will be able to find many options that aren’t available at their favorite retail casinos. This includes games such as Plinko, Dice, and many more. We strongly recommend exploring these other game options as you may find new favorites that you weren’t even aware of originally.
History of Gambling in California
Gambling has had a relatively recent and restrictive history in the state of California. Truly, modern gambling legislation began with the Gaming Registration Act in 1984, which allowed cardrooms to open in the state. 1984 also saw the introduction of the California State Lottery. Following that, California created a gambling control commission in order to pave the way for tribal casinos to open. Since then, California has become home to the one of the largest tribal casino industries in the country, which we’ll go into more detail about below in the “Retail Casinos in California” section below.
As for online gambling in the state, no traction has been found. Online casino gambling and online sports betting are both still illegal in the state, despite some attempts to legalize recently. Most recently, this came with an attempt to legalize sports betting via two ballot options in Nov. 2022. Those ballot options subsequently failed.
Retail Casinos in California
As mentioned in the history section above, the retail casino market in California has grown massively and currently consists of only tribal casinos. Despite the lack of online options, there are currently 66 tribal casinos in the state, putting it in the top five states with the most casinos in the country.
Also available in terms of land-based offerings are cardrooms, of which there are currently 89 in the state. These cardrooms offer a variety of games, but slot machines are not included in that variety. As for gambling access within the state, players must be 18 to gamble at tribal casinos that don’t hold liquor licenses and 21 to gamble at those that do.
California Online Casinos – Bottom Line
The bottom line is that California online casinos are currently limited to sweepstakes and social casino options, which serve to provide plenty of variety and options to play casino-style games to redeem cash prizes within the state. As for the legalization of California real money online casinos, solid legislation has yet to be seen. While it seems that much of the state would like to see both online casino gambling and online sports betting legalized, ballot measures to do so have failed to pass in recent history, raising questions and dashing hopes for legalization in the near future.
More Resources for California Online Gamblers
- Gambling Law, Regulations, And Resource Information, 2024 Edition
- California Gambling Control Commission
- California State Lottery
- Complete list of all California tribal casinos from 500Nations
- Complete list of all licensed cardrooms in the state of California
- US News & World Report’s Top 5 Best Casino Hotels in CA
Online Casinos in Neighboring States
California Online Casinos FAQ
No. Real money online casinos are currently illegal in California. However, sweepstakes and social casinos in the state offer the ability to play casino-style games to redeem cash prizes, giving those in California a solid alternative.
No. Both real money online casino gambling and online sports betting remain illegal in California. The most recent attempt to legalize via ballot measures in Nov. 2022 failed.
Yes. Chumba Casino is available to play casino-style games to redeem cash prizes in the state of California.
None. Online gambling as a whole is currently illegal in the state. However, players do have the option to visit many tribal casinos and cardrooms in person, or play casino-style games on sweepstakes and social casinos online.
Currently, no legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling has passed in the state of California. For that reason, gambling online in the state remains illegal.