California Online Gambling: Play Casino Games for Cash Prizes

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When it comes to California online gambling, there are many restrictions placed on California residents. In California, online casinos, online sportsbooks, and traditional online poker sites are illegal. But you do have a few options when it comes to online gaming:

Plus, the California Lottery often runs special “second chance” promotions on scratchers that you can participate in online. You can play online poker for sweepstake entries. You can bet online on horse races. And you can play Daily Fantasy Sports, which is legal in most US states.

Best Online Casinos In California – Top Social Casinos

Although online gambling is fairly restrictive in the state, players can access California’s social casinos online to play casino-style slots and table games to win cash prizes and more. People located in California have access to all the major sweepstakes casinos and social casinos. This includes promotional sweepstakes sites, social casinos, and poker sites.

Best Social Casino In California

Play Chumba Via: Desktop, laptop, on mobile phone

Available In: All US States Except Washington

Chumba Casino
Full Chumba Review

5.0

Chumba Casino is our top social casino for California players who want to play on the sweepstakes model. Not only does Chumba offer the best selection of slots, but it also offers video poker and classic table games like blackjack. And if you win the games using Sweeps Coins (SC), you can redeem them for cash prizes and more.

Chumba also regularly adds new games, so it’s impossible to get bored, as every time you log in the variety of games is sure to blow you away. Sign up with our special link. Click to Claim 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins and 2 FREE Sweeps Coins at Chumba today. Plus, get a first purchase offer 10,000,000 Gold Coins for $10 (normally $30), plus 30 FREE Sweeps Coins.

 

Best Social Casino In California

Best Social Casino For Quick Cash Prize Redemption

Play Luckyland Via: Android app, desktop, laptop, mobile phone

Available In: 48 US states and Washington DC

Luckyland Slots
Full Luckyland Review

4.8

Players love the fast and secure cash prize redemptions at Luckyland Slots. This California online social casino sends the cash prizes right to your bank account via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) if you win with their Sweeps Coins (SC). Or, you can play for fun with Gold Coins (GC) and have just as good a time with the same games and excitement.

Tons of slots are available at Luckyland Slots, hence the name. And what’s more, players can get a Luckyland Slots bonus code by signing up using our special link. Click to Claim 10 FREE Sweeps Coins and 7,777 FREE Gold Coins. Plus get a first purchase offer of 50,000 GC for $4.99 (Normally $10). Plus 10 FREE Sweeps Coins.

Best Social Casino For Quick Cash Prize Redemption

Best for Progressive Jackpots

Play Pulsz Via: iOS, Android, desktop, laptop

Available In: All US States Except Washington & Idaho

Pulsz Casino
Full Pulsz Review

4.4

Pulsz Casino is definitely one of the best social casinos available to California players. It offers high-quality slots with big prizes, plus a great selection of table games, including casino-style blackjack with player-friendly rules. Players can get up to 367,000 Gold Coins + 32.3 FREE Sweepstakes Coins exclusively when you use our exclusive link to sign up at Pulsz today.

Other Pulsz promotions for existing players include slot tournaments, prize pool giveaways, and additional purchase boosts. You also get huge purchase bonuses the further you climb up the loyalty tiers, including getting 10x the coins when you reach the top of the VIP ladder.

 

Best for Progressive Jackpots

Best For Fans of Online Poker in California

Play Global Poker Via: iOS, Android, desktop, laptop

Available In: All US States Except Washington

Global Poker is the largest social poker site in the United States. It gives US poker fans a legitimate online poker experience while playing for the chance to redeem cash prizes and more. Global Poker has games running around the clock for California poker players, and best of all, it’s 100% legal in the state.

Ring games, tournaments, and Jackpot Sit’n’Go tournaments are among the Sweeps Coins games offered by Global Poker, and players can choose between Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple (although Texas Hold’em is the most popular by far). The site is legal in all US states except Washington, and because you can always play completely for free, players can play poker for a chance to redeem cash prizes and gift cards in states where online poker sites are usually not allowed. Now, and for a limited time, new Global Poker players receive a purchase bonus of over 65% off their first purchase.

New players use  Global Poker promo code FLUSH to purchase 150,000 Gold Coins for $10, plus get 30 FREE Sweeps Coins. Additionally, for a limited time,

players can get 200,000 Gold Coins for $20 (Normally $40).  Plus 40 FREE Sweeps Coins, no code required.

Those are huge introductory offers that players can utilize for multiplayer poker, casino gaming, or both.

Best For Fans of Online Poker in California

Best For Winning Daily Jackpot Prizes

Play Funzpoints Via: iOS, Android, desktop, laptop

Available In: All US States Except Washington and Idaho

Funzpoints Casino
Read Full Funzpoints Review

4.5

There’s an argument that Funzpoints is even better than some others like Pulsz depending on your preference. We think the Pulsz slots have a bit more originality, and Funzpoints doesn’t offer table games like Chumba does. But Funzpoints offers something completely unique: the ability to win cash prizes, even when you’re not playing with premium credits.

At every other social casino, you can only win cash prizes when you play the games with premium credits. As you play the games at Funzpoints with standard credits, you can earn entries to the daily prize draw, with $1,000 worth of cash prizes.

Funzpoints also offers a prize spin wheel that’s unlocked every four hours. All you have to do is log in and spin the wheel to get up to 200 or more free entry tickets. But most spins get you at least 10 entry tickets.

Plus, Premium Funzpoints can be used to play any of the slots (and a couple of versions of Keno) to win cash prizes directly, just like at any other social casino. Sign up at Funzpoints now to get $2.50 worth of Premium Funzpoints and a 100% purchase match up to $20 Premium Funzpoints. (100 Premium Funzpoints is the equivalent of 1 SC.)

Best For Winning Daily Jackpot Prizes

Best For Sports Fans

Play Fliff Via: iOS, Android

Available In: Almost all US States

Fliff Sports Betting
Read Full Fliff Review

4.5

Much like Global Poker, Fliff offers a different, more specialized version of a social site.  Fliff is a social sportsbook. Thus, you use your site currency to make sports picks.  You have lots of options, as you can make picks about moneyline, over/under, prop bets, points spreads, and more.  For this reason, many sports enthusiasts will probably find Fliff more entertaining than DFS sites.

Like the other operators on this lists, Fliff offers two different modes of play.  You can play with Fliff Coins, which are just for fun. Or you can play with Fliff Cash, and Fliff Cash winnings can be redeemed for cash prizes.

You can get site currency for free through several methods, such as winning contests and login bonuses.  You can also choose to purchase site urrency. Any Fliff Coin purchase unlocks FREE Fliff Cash.

To get people off to a great start, Fliff Sports Betting offers a fantastic welcome bonus. Use  Fliff promo code SHARP to get 600,000 Fliff Coins and a 100% Match Up to $100 in Fliff Cash.

 

 

Best For Sports Fans

California Social Casino Vs. Online Casinos

California currently does not offer legal online casino games, traditional poker sites, or online sports betting. But it is possible to win cash prizes and more through promotional sweepstakes. Known as social casinos, you can do so similarly to their real-money counterparts playing casino-style games.

You’ll see a lot of talk about technicalities and other convoluted explanations about sweepstakes, and promotional play. This is particularly true when compared to online gambling sites, but the difference is actually very straightforward.

At an online gambling site, you load money into your account. This would be like putting money in your PayPal account. You can then use that money to bet at the online gambling site.

At a sweepstakes site, players purchase in-game currency, usually called “coins’ or ‘tokens’, like Gold Coins or Standard Funzpoints (at Funzpoints), which they use to play the games. Those purchases will usually include free premium credits, like Premium Funzpoints, or Sweeps Coins (at Global Poker). You cannot purchase Sweeps Coins and can only be awarded FREE Sweeps Coins via daily login bonuses, social media competitions, or mail-in offers (see site T&Cs for details).

Players then choose to play with standard or premium coins. The standard credits are used for fun play or practicing the games, as Gold Coins are not transferable for any other prizes & hold no monetary value. However, if you play with Sweeps Coins via promotional sweepstakes and win, you can redeem them for cash prizes and more. For example, 2,000 Premium Funzpoints can be redeemed for a cash prize at Funzpoints.

Here’s a helpful table based on buying Funzpoints coin packages:

Purchase PriceStandard FunzpointsPremium FunzpointsWith Funzpoints Bonus Code
$4.991,0005001,000
$9.992,0001,0002,000
$19.994,0002,0004,000
$49.9910,0005,000N/A
$99.9920,00010,000N/A

Click here to claim the Funzpoints bonus code automatically.

Can You Win Real Money At Social Casinos & Poker Sites In California?

You can redeem winnings for cash prizes at social casinos and poker sites in California. Premium credits you receive for free or with purchases are not redeemable and must be played through. But the Premium credits you win are considered Cashable Funzpoints, which can be immediately redeemed for a cash prize transferred directly to your bank account.

At Funzpoints, the minimum cash prize is $20. Most sweepstakes sites and social casinos have a larger minimum redemption (sometimes as high as $100), which makes Funzpoints a more approachable option.

However, you can win far more than 2,000 Premium Funzpoints (the minimum for prize redemption). In addition, some of the jackpots can net over 100,000 Funzpoints, which would be a massive cash prize.

What Kinds Of Bonuses Do Social Casinos And Poker Sites Offer To Players In California?

Signup Bonus

Social casinos and other social gaming sites must allow players to win prizes without making a purchase. Just for creating an account, sweepstakes players receive free Standard credits as well as Premium credits. 

Daily Login Bonuses

Like the initial signup bonus, you can receive coins just for logging in each day at some social casino sites, including Premium credits. At Chumba Casino, for example, returning players log in once per day to get 1 FREE SC and 200,000 FREE GC. That’s up to 365 FREE SC and 73M FREE GC to play with at Chumba every year. 

Discount GC Offers

Once you join a social casino, you’ll receive promotional offers in your inbox. These usually include the chance to purchase discounted Gold Coin offers that may include FREE SC. The most common discount is 50% off, but have personally seen offers of 75% pop up so keep a look out for these offers.

Social Media Contests

Follow the sweepstakes sites and social casinos you’ve joined on their social media channels, so you don’t miss out on one of these contests. All you have to do is let them know you’re participating, and you could receive a large amount of GC and SC for free.

What Kinds Of Slots Can I Play At Social Casinos?

Social casinos offer as many or more slots than most of the legal online gambling states, including the following casinos:

West Virginia Online Casinos
New Jersey Online Casinos
Pennsylvania Online Casinos
Michigan Online Casinos

The kinds of slots you can play run the gamut. At social casinos, you can play three-reel classics and five-reel 3D slots with progressive jackpots, plus scratchers, keno, video poker, and other slot-adjacent games.

Some of the most popular slots at Funzpoints include:

  • Buffalo Plains
  • Buffalo Fury
  • Barnyard Frenzy
  • Gold Rush Pete
  • Chillin’ While Grillin’
  • Chase Wild Game Hunter
  • Paintball Keno

What Kinds Of Games Are Available At California’s Social Poker Sites?

Global Poker offers many of the same games you’d find at the most traditional online poker sites like 888, WSOP, and PokerStars. The biggest difference is the option to play with either Gold Coins (GC) for fun and practice or Sweeps Coins (SC) where you can redeem for cash prizes and more.

The formats for the different types of games are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or Crazy Pineapple. At Global Poker, all game types are available in all three formats. However, the most popular Texas Hold’em format offers the largest variety of tables.

Here are the games Global Poker offers. The stakes are presented in SC because that is the most popular form of Tournament Entry:

GameLowest StakesHighest Stakes
Ring Games (small blind/big blind)SC 0.02/SC 0.04SC 10/SC 20
Tournament (tickets)SC 0.11SC 33
Sit ‘n’ Go (entry fee/jackpot)SC 0.05/SC 0.5SC 18/SC 200
Jackpot Sit ‘n’ Go (entries/jackpot)SC 0.5/up to SC 5,000SC 20/ up to SC 200,000

Ring Games

Playing at Ring Games allows players to sit at a table whenever a seat is open and leave anytime. Players in California always have access to an SC table with micro, low, medium, and high stakes 24 hours a day.

Tournaments

Multi-Player Tournaments (MTTs) are scheduled throughout the day, although some are held only once a week. You begin at a table of players, and the last one standing progresses to the next table. Grand prizes usually depend on the number of entries.

Sit ‘n’ Go (Regular and Jackpot)

Sit ‘n’ Go are similar to tournaments except that the goal is to eliminate all players at a single table. The regular version awards a fixed top prize. The jackpot version randomly generates a top prize that can be as high as SC 200,000.

Social Casino Poker Sites: How Hard Are The Games?

Social casino poker sites have a reputation across the online poker community for having inexperienced players. And a lack of experience translates to easy pickings, which attracts some of the best online poker players for that reason alone.

However, the professional-level players in California will likely play real-money sites In neighboring Nevada, which has access to World Series of Poker online (WSOP.com). And, because cardrooms are legal in California (versus casinos, which are limited to Native American tribal land), most of the best play in person.

So, Global Poker players can expect a wide range of experience and skill levels, from newbies to card sharks.

Is it easy to win Sweeps Tournaments at Global Poker?

The larger the jackpot, the harder it is to win at Global Poker. The huge winning potential will attract the best players. This makes winning a multi-table tourney for a large Sweeps Coins (SC) grand prize extremely difficult.

Is it easy to win Sit ‘n’ Go at Global Poker?

Inexperienced players are more likely to get lucky at a Sit ‘n’ Go tournament at Global Poker because you only need to beat out a few players at one table to win.

Still, the higher the potential SC prize, the harder the competition. There are no outright easy Sit ‘n’ Go options if you want to play for redeemable SC.

What are the easiest games at Global Poker?

The easiest games are low-stakes SC ring games and any game that’s played for Gold Coins. 

The most serious players will go for the highest cash prize potential, so the lower the SC, the lower the competition. 

And Gold Coins are all but disregarded by experienced players because you can’t redeem them for cash prizes. So it’s a great option for practicing your skills before playing with SC.

California Online Casinos For Real Money

There is currently no legally licensed online casino available to people located in California. However, Californians can travel to states with legal online casinos to bet on digital casino games. They can even join and deposit without placing a bet at many American online casinos. But doing both from within the state is currently against the law.

Will online casinos be legalized in California? Not anytime soon. No recent news coverage has identified any online casino legislation in the works. While the federal government no longer restricts states from legalizing online casinos, it’s up to the state to pass the legislation, issue licenses, and regulate operators.

Online Sports Betting In California

The online sportsbook is another betting option currently unavailable to those located in California.

California voters rejected the two sports betting initiatives, Prop 26 and Prop 27, during the November 2022 general election Prop 26 would have allow tribal casinos and horse racetracks to offer retail sports betting. Prop 27 would have allowed private sportsbook companies like DraftKings and FanDuel to partner with a California tribe to offer mobile sports betting. 

Supporters of the dueling initiatives combined to spend $450 million on their failed campaigns. Sports betting likely won’t get a next chance to become a reality in California until 2024 at the earliest.

Folks with legal residencies in states where regulated online sports betting and online sportsbook bonuses are available (including Nevada sports betting promos, Pennsylvania sports betting promos and New Jersey sportsbook promos) cannot place a bet in those states unless they’re physically located within state lines. In that same vein, California residents can legally bet in those states as long as they’re located within the borders.

Further, California doesn’t offer land-based sportsbooks except horse race betting at retail race tracks.

However, many people in California are close to Nevada, where they can place sports bets online and at brick-and-mortar sportsbook locations.

Online Poker In California

Online poker is currently unavailable in California. However, this is one area where legislation is moving forward.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, state legislators scheduled a bill for a vote in November 2020. Whereas some states, like Maryland, moved forward on scheduling votes and referendums, California’s legislation is currently at a standstill.

For the time being, poker players in California are limited to land-based poker tables. But Southern California is primarily considered the brick-and-mortar poker capital of the world, as it’s one of the few places in the country to allow poker since the 1930s.

That’s on top of this being one of the wealthiest regions, inviting both international, national, and local high-rollers to some of the most sought-after seats in world poker.

No wonder many Hollywood celebrities double as professional poker players, including Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Tilly.

Playing The California Lottery Online

An online lottery is not legally offered in California. Typically, the only online interaction a Californian can have with the lottery is checking a ticket to see if it’s a winner. After that, you simply download the app and scan the barcode.

Some websites allow you to purchase foreign lottery tickets. But you have to trust that they’ll both buy the ticket for you in person and pay out any winnings. Even more so than online casinos, we recommend avoiding offshore lottery websites. Imagine if you won a million dollars. What’s to stop them from keeping the money? They possess the ticket, and you have zero recourse because the website is unlicensed.

However, California launched a “second chance” promotion for scratch-off tickets in 2019. After a ticket is purchased, you can log in to the California Lottery app and try your luck at another chance to win. Two people won over a million dollars, so keep your eye out for the next time they roll out a promotion like that.

But, generally, you can’t log in to the California Lottery app and buy tickets online. Instead, you have to go to a local retailer (the nearest of which is probably around the corner from your home).

Betting On Horse Racing In California

Brick-and-mortar horse racing in California spans four full-time tracks up and down the state: Santa Anita Park, Del Mar Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, and Los Alamitos Race Course. You can bet on those races remotely direct with some of the tracks – or from legal horse race betting websites.

Privately Operated Race Tracks

1 – Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar
2 – Golden Gate Fields, Albany
3 – Los Alamitos, Cypress
4 – Santa Anita Park, Arcadia

Racing Fairs

5 – Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton
6 – California Exposition & State Fair (CalExpo)
7 – Big Fresno Fair, Fresno
8 – Humboldt County Fair, Ferndale
9 – Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa

Santa Anita and Golden Gate are both owned by The Stronach Group, which operates 1/ST Racing & Gaming.

PointsBet announced a partnership with 1/ST TECHNOLOGY, a business division of The Stronach Group, to collaborate on integration and launch of the one-of-a-kind 1/ST BET online horse wagering product in US jurisdictions where Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) is permitted.

See our comprehensive Guide To Online Horse Betting In The US.

Popular Horse Racing Sites In California

The most popular legal horse racing sites include TVG, Xpressbet, and TwinSpires. Each hosts a wide range of events that span the entire globe. This includes races in Australia and Southeast Asia, on top of all the tracks within the US.

These websites are popular outlets for two simple reasons: traveling to the track isn’t always feasible, and the promotions are worthwhile. In addition, California’s legal horse racing sites offer no-deposit bonuses, bonus bets, and loyalty programs, just like the traditional sportsbook bonuses.

In September 2022, Belinda Stronach, chairwoman, chief executive officer, and president of The Stronach Group and 1/ST – which owns Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields – introduced 1/ST Racing & Gaming, an enhanced division of the company that will position the core Thoroughbred horse racing business to capitalize on the future of sports wagering and gaming fully. The 1/ST Racing & Gaming division will continue to oversee racing operations at 1/ST tracks and training centers while working on expanding the company’s gaming footprint in collaboration with 1/ST Technology.

The bets you can place at these horse racing sites are the same as if you visited the track itself. That means you can win small amounts on micro-bets and enormous payouts on long-shot bets like the pick-six bet.

Online Horse Racing Bets In CA

Horse racing is the only traditional online betting legal online in California. You can bet on local, national, and international tracks, from local races in San Diego to races on the other side of the world.

However, many betting websites that take horse racing bets from folks in CA are illegal and unlicensed, so it’s essential to be sure you’re depositing at a legal choice.

It also might be worth noting that horse racing could be nearing its finish line as a practice in California. The activist outcry against what many dub animal cruelties, particularly in a famously progressive state, could make horse racing illegal before the state legalizes online sportsbooks and casinos.

Still, even if horse racing goes the way of greyhound racing and is outlawed in CA, betting on it online will almost certainly remain legal.

If you like horse racing and online casino action, check out b spot Casino CA, which is a fun combination of the two.

Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal In California?

Yes. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is legal in most states because their operators convinced legislators that DFS is skill-based. So, while almost all states have outlawed online casinos, online sportsbooks, and poker sites, DFS is only unavailable in about ten states.

In every other state, as well as Washington DC, you can legally play DFS at DraftKings DFS, FanDuel, and other operators.

If you’re wondering how sports betting isn’t skill-based but DFS is, that’s a hotly debated topic. If you’re wondering how DFS is more skill-based than poker, no one has a good answer for you. It’s a total mystery.

A Very Brief & Somewhat Disappointing History Of Online Gambling In California

Interestingly, gambling is one of the few bipartisan issues in the United States. Republican, Democrat, and Independent politicians can be for or against legalization, political party notwithstanding. This is important because online gambling legislation is a political issue, and California is a historically left-leaning state.

Since states across the country began legalizing online casinos and online sportsbooks, California has been slow to follow. But this isn’t for lack of demand; it’s a matter of political will. Passing new legislation requires cutting through a mountain of red tape. And the recent push toward legalized online poker in 2020 was hampered by COVID-19.

Effect Of The Wire Act

For decades, the government used the Federal Wire Act of 1961 to restrict all forms of online gambling at the federal level. However, in September 2011, the US Department of Justice declared that the Act only applied to sports betting under the Obama administration.

In 2018, the Trump Justice Department reversed its course. First, it retracted the 2011 DOJ opinion and declared the Wire Act applied to all forms of online betting. Next, the Fifth Court of Appeals said the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Then the Department of Justice filed an intention to appeal that decision. And if you’re confused, welcome to the club.

And that’s where we are at the federal level.

Basically, the history of California’s online gambling is yet to come. However, online poker seems to be the most likely legalization in the near future. And the growing demand for legal online sportsbooks will likely reach a fever pitch across the country, California included.

The Legality Of California’s Brick-And-Mortar Gambling

The cardroom is the most liberal aspect of legal gambling in California compared to other states. These land-based establishments allow real money blackjack, poker, pai gow, and baccarat but do not permit slots or table games.

Cardrooms also serve food, drinks, and host events, giving them a casino feel. But if you like digital games or roulette, you’ll have to travel one state over to Nevada. Further, since 1995, the state won’t allow additional cardrooms to open. If a California cardroom goes out of business, the state will not issue a  license for a new cardroom to open in its place.

Another option is to travel to Native American reservation casinos. In California alone, over 60 different tribal casinos span the state.

You can also play the California State Lottery, available for purchase and cash-in only within the state borders. However, you can also play Mega Millions and PowerBall, available in 45 states, including California.

Quick Facts On CA Gambling

Does the state of California offer casinos?Cardrooms only
How many tribal casinos are in the state?65
How many horse tracks are in California?4 privately operated tracks, 5 racing fairs
Can you play the lottery in California?Yes
What is the legal gambling age in California?18
Who regulates California gambling?California Gambling Control Commission

How Many Casinos Are Located In California?

Within the California state lines, there are two types of casinos: tribal casinos and cardrooms. Currently, you can bet at more than 60 full-sized tribal casinos and approximately 90 state-licensed cardrooms. These establishments vary dramatically, especially when comparing small cardrooms to enormous casino resorts.

Unlike cardrooms, tribal casinos host every type of casino game. This includes slots, video poker, roulette, and craps. Of course, that’s on top of the blackjack and poker the cardrooms offer.

How Has The California Casino Industry Grown?

California’s casino industry took off after the ratification of the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts in 1999. Since then, dozens of casinos have opened across the state on reservation land.

Because no new cardrooms can open as of 1995, the only way a new casino can open is if it’s tribal-run or the state passes new legislation. That means, for now, the California casino industry has, by all indications, plateaued. This situation appears to be fluid, though. Currently, the moratorium on new cardroom licenses expires in 2023.

Who Owns California Casinos?

Currently, 61 Native American tribes own all the casinos within California state lines. The names of the casinos usually do not relate to the name of the tribe.

As for the cardrooms, the ownership is even more varied, but they’re often named after the location. So, for example, Commerce Casino is located in Commerce, CA, while the Napa Valley Casino is located in Napa.

California Online Gambling Options And Restrictions

Here’s a helpful breakdown of what is and isn’t legal in terms of betting online in CA:

Type Of Betting SiteLegality In The State Of California
Sweepstakes casinosLEGAL
Sweepstakes pokerLEGAL
Online horse race bettingLEGAL
Daily Fantasy SportsLEGAL
Online CasinosIllegal
Online sports bettingIllegal (aside from Daily Fantasy Sports)
Online pokerIllegal
Online LotteryIllegal (except for special state-sanctioned circumstances)
Online BingoFree-play only. No real-money games allowed.

Learn More About California Gambling Laws

California Online Gambling FAQs

Yes. The legal age for playing at a social casino in California is 18 and older.

You have to be at least 18 to gamble in California. For example, buying a lottery ticket is perfectly legal for an 18-year-old. However, many California casinos enforce a gambling age of 21 and up. All card rooms are also 21 and older.

No. Not unless you’re betting on horse racing, playing a social casino or poker site or going for a second chance through the CA Lottery app. Otherwise, you’re gambling at an illegal betting site.

While it’s not illegal to gamble at an offshore casino, you won’t have any recourse if you’re ripped off. Many Californians still choose to bet at unlicensed sites and receive their winnings without issue. But is it safe? Strictly speaking, it is not.

To ensure the user base complies with local regulations, online sportsbooks and casinos require members to let them know their location. Otherwise, there’s no way of knowing whether the person is inside the state – or even within the country.

Allowing bets from people located outside of the specific state is illegal. Even those legally residing in states where online casinos or sportsbooks are legal cannot bet if they’re outside of state lines.

Yes. The second you cross the border into Nevada, you can play at any of their licensed betting websites. Many who live close to the border can feasibly drive over state lines, place their sports bets, go home, then drive back into the state to collect their winnings.

Yes. State residency does not matter. All that matters is that you’re located within the state lines. That means you don’t need to legally be a United States citizen to bet at licensed online casinos. This applies to  New Jersey online casinos, Pennsylvania online casinos, Indiana, and other states.

Yes. California’s standard income tax applies to any gambling winnings. The only exception is the CA Lottery, wherein the state automatically withholds the 24% tax (30% for non-US citizens or legal residents) if the winnings exceed $600.

So, if you’re a US citizen and win $1,000 on the CA Lottery, you’d receive $760. You would not have to pay any additional taxes.

If your net winnings for the year exceed $5,000, then your gambling winnings are subjected to a flat tax rate of 25%.

It’s important to note that “net winnings” means your winnings are subtracted from your losses. If you won $10,000 but lost $5,0001, you would not have to pay federal taxes for gambling.

About the Author
Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani

Casino Content Manager
Mike Epifani is a gambling expert and professional writer. His current role is Brand Content Manager at Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media network. Mike spoke on the affiliate marketing panel at G2E 2022 in Las Vegas and won "Casino Affiliate of the Year" at the 2022 SBC Awards North America in NYC.

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