California Daily Fantasy Sports

California has no law that explicitly legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports, but the state also has no laws declaring the contests illegal. California DFS sites continue to offer their games to players without issue.

Lawmakers in California have made a few attempts to formally legalize Daily Fantasy Sports in recent years. The California Assembly approved a bill that proposed to regulate and tax Daily Fantasy Sports, but the state senate did not move the bill forward. 

Despite legislative uncertainty, DFS remains in California and is quite popular among players. DraftKings and FanDuel reach the most players and tend to be the most popular DFS sites across the nation, California included. 

The Best California DFS Sites 

SiteBonus OfferLaunchedAnnual Net Revenue
(2019)
DraftKings$20 Free Play2012$323 million
FanDuel$5 free, $5 more after deposit2009$419 million
Yahoo!1,000 rewards points on first deposit2015~$200 million
Fantasy Draft10% Rakeback bonus2014Privately Held

DraftKings DFS In California

DraftKings’ Daily Fantasy Sports offer is available to California players, and it’s a great place to start. The company launched in 2012, and it leads in many DFS markets alongside competitor FanDuel. California players should have no trouble accessing DraftKings via mobile app (on iOS or Android) or via the Company’s website. 

Bonus Offer

DraftKings has a lucrative setup for new Daily Fantasy Sports players. Signing up and adding $5 earns you $20 in free play. That’s free, real money you can use to kickstart your DFS games.

Further, the site sometimes offers a deposit match up to a certain amount. In the past, DraftKings promoted a 20% deposit match of up to $500. Check the operator’s site for the latest deals and be sure to read the terms and conditions to be sure you don’t miss out. 

DraftKings Real Money Gaming

In some states, DraftKings offers online casino games for real money. The company also has a massive online sportsbook presence in states with regulated digital sports betting. In California, both types of gaming remain illegal for the time being, so DraftKings players cannot access these options just yet. 

DraftKings Vs. FanDuel

DraftKings and FanDuel offer similar options to Daily Fantasy Sports players, though each has a few differentiating factors to encourage players to use one over the other. 

DraftKings has a few advantages over FanDuel. It offers a contest type called “Tiers” in which DFS participants craft a lineup by choosing players from a pre-selected pool of available competitors. 

DraftKings also features WNBA contests while FanDuel does not. 

FanDuel In California

FanDuel is a great starting point for any Daily Fantasy Sports enthusiast in California. The company is one of the two biggest DFS providers in the world. Its wide variety of contests and sports reflects that market position. 

FanDuel launched in 2009 and has since expanded to include a number of gambling products. Paddy Power Betfair, a leading gambling operator in the European market, acquired FanDuel in 2018. The merger gave FanDuel a big boost by putting the power of a large gaming operator with years of experience behind its US offering. 

FanDuel has an iOS and Android app, plus a simple, intuitive website. 

FanDuel Promotions

FanDuel gives Daily Fantasy Sports players $5 for signing up and an additional $5 following the initial deposit. That’s a quick $10 to be used on DFS contests. 

FanDuel and other DFS companies constantly compete for player attention. Promotions change, usually presenting great opportunities to maximize the value of your DFS experience. Keep an eye out for new offers as you play. 

FanDuel Online Gambling

FanDuel’s merger with Paddy Power Betfair (mentioned above) brought it to the forefront of the online gaming landscape. FanDuel runs online casinos for Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as online sports betting sites for a number of licensed operators in various US states. 

California’s stance toward online gambling is still behind the curve compared to other states, so players in The Golden State can’t enjoy these offerings right now. However, it’s possible California could legalize online wagering in the future. In this case, FanDuel would likely be one of the first operators to launch. 

FanDuel Vs. DraftKings

FanDuel doesn’t have the “Tiers” contest available on DraftKings, but it offers an exclusive game type called “Beat the Score.” If your team matches or beats the target score set by FanDuel, you split the winnings with everyone else who participates. FanDuel provides a number of Beat the Score contests with different point thresholds, so there’s a wide variety of difficulties to choose from. 

FanDuel has a slight leg-up on DraftKings when it comes to available sports leagues. The site offers contests for EuroLeague basketball, Champions League soccer, the Canadian Football League, and the PGA European Tour. Players who prefer European sports contests may find that FanDuel has a better portfolio than DraftKings. 

How Do DraftKings And FanDuel Compare?

ComparisonDraftKingsFanDuel
Bonus Offer$20 free play$10 free play ($5 on sign-up, $5 after deposit)
Exclusive Contests/Game TypesTiersBeat The Score
Exclusive League OfferingsWNBAEuroleague basketball, CFL, Champions League Soccer, PGA European Tour
League PartnershipsNFL, MLBNHL, NBA

Other California DFS Sites

Of course, FanDuel and Draftkings aren’t the only operators available to Calfornia’s Daily Fantasy Sports enthusiasts. 

Fantasy Draft

Fantasy Draft is the industry’s rake-free Daily Fantasy Sports site. 100% of the initial entry fee is distributed among winners of each contest, which sets Fantasy Draft apart from the competition. Their FAQ offers some helpful info on the rake-free model. 

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy

Yahoo! joined the Daily Fantasy arena back in 2015 and has been operating ever since. Contests in California are fairly similar to those found on DraftKings and FanDuel.

MonkeyKnifeFight

Weird name, cool Daily Fantasy Sports site. MonkeyKnifeFight has a variety of DFS contests in California. Notably, the site also features DFS games for eSports like League of Legends and Counterstrike: Global Offensive.

PrizePicks

PrizePicks has a number of racing contests and eSports available, making it a great fit for players looking for sports outside of the usual hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. Players can participate in contests for NBA 2k20, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, MMA, NASCAR, and more. 

Is Daily Fantasy Sports Explicitly Legal In California?

No. California has no laws in place that specifically legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. 

In 2016, the state’s Assembly approved a bill that would have formally legalized Daily Fantasy Sports in California. The legislation stalled and has seen no movement since. Lawmakers supporting the bill aimed to regulate and tax Daily Fantasy Sports and require operators to pay licensing fees.

For now, California remains an unregulated Daily Fantasy Sports market. That doesn’t mean it’s harmful to participate. Legal battle surrounding DFS typically take place at the operator level, with states either completely barring the practice or allowing operators to offer their products in the state. Until California makes such a decision, players can continue to enjoy Daily Fantasy Sports in The Golden State. 

Is It Safe To Play Daily Fantasy Sports In California?

Generally, yes. California isn’t exactly a progressive state when it comes to legal gambling, as evidenced by the state’s slow progress on the regulated sports betting front. 

However, DFS sites support the concept that their contests are games of skill and therefore not covered by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

The uncertainty over the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports is a legal battle that plays out at a higher level than any individual player. Lawmakers and DFS providers typically come to a decision one way or another, either legalizing DFS or declaring it illegal. California has yet to do either, though most signs point to DFS becoming legal, especially if a recent push for sports betting makes it through the state Senate. 

All this is to say that it’s completely safe to participate in DFS in California while the companies involved and state lawmakers come to a conclusion about its legal status. 

Best DFS Bonus Offers in California

SiteBonus OfferTerms & Conditions
DraftKingsUp to $520$20 sign-up bonus, up to $500 as part of 20% deposit match
FanDuel$10 Free Play$5 for signing up, $5 after first deposit

There are plenty of offers for new Daily Fantasy Sports players that can maximize your account value. Here are a few of the most common bonuses you’ll find on offer at California’s top DFS sites. 

Sign-Up Bonuses

If you like free money, you’re in luck. Most Daily Fantasy Sites will give you a small amount of money to use right off the bat. Usually, these bonuses come in small amounts of around $10 or $20. They provide a nice boost to your wallet, especially if you’re just getting started. 

First Deposit Match

Deposit match offers are especially common for online sports betting sites, but you may find them in Daily Fantasy Sports as well. 

They’re pretty self-explanatory: make your first deposit and the operator will match it, effectively increasing your account balance. Always watch out for the conditions, though. Some operators require you to make your first deposit within a certain time frame, such as one week or one month after creating your account. Some match 100% of your first deposit while others may only match 20%-50%. It varies by operator, so always read the terms carefully. 

Top DFS Contests For California Players

DFS players have a wealth of options to choose from in terms of contests available on each platform. Here, we’ve outlined a few of the top options for two of the most popular DFS leagues: the NFL and the NBA.

National Football League (NFL)

The NFL is the most popular sport available on DFS sites, with a huge variety of contests available:

Guaranteed Prize Pools

Guaranteed Prize Pools feature a set amount of prize money known by all players in advance of the matchup. No matter the number of players, the guaranteed prize money will be paid, usually split among winners. 

Players in the GPP select their fantasy teams and compete against one another for a chance to win their share of the pool. 

Head-To-Head

Head-to-head matchups are exactly what they sound like: two participants select their teams and compete. The player whose team scores the most points takes the money. 

This format is excellent for players who prefer to compete against their friends to up the stakes of a given day’s NFL games. 

50/50

50/50 contests pay the top half of entires. For example, if a game includes 30 participants, the top 15 will win, doubling their money (minus the rake). These NFL contests are popular on DFS sites and can be a great way for a group of friends or family to compete with one another. 

National Basketball Association (NBA)

DFS operators provide plenty of DFS contests for players to choose from:

Tiers

Tiers is only available on DraftKings. Competitors select one player from each tier level (pre-selected by DraftKings), and teams compete for the prize pool. 

3-Man Challenge

FanDuel players can participate in the unique 3-Man Challenge contest. Select three players of any position and outscore your opponent to win.

Guaranteed Prize Pools

NBA enthusiasts can get in on the GPP action, too. These contests move forward even if they don’t fill all the way up, so the chance at a possible win can increase. Select a team, watch them compete, and hope you outmatch your competition. 

California Daily Fantasy Sports FAQ

Do California’s DFS sites have eSports contests?

Yes. Most DFS sites have eSports contests available. The most common eSports on offer are League of Legends, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and NBA 2k20. 

Even the smaller DFS sites in California like PrizePicks and MonkeyKnifeFight offer eSports match-ups, so be sure to check all your options when deciding which one to use.

What’s the minimum age to play DFS in California?

Anyone 18 or older can currently participate in DFS in California.

However, recent legislative efforts that would fully legalize Daily Fantasy Sports would set the minimum age to 21. While 18 remains the threshold, California could up the minimum if certain bills become law in the future. 

Who regulates DFS in California?

Daily Fantasy Sports is currently unregulated in California. 

Lawmakers tried to legalize DFS in 2016, but the bill stalled in the state Senate. Since then, there’s been no activity to legalize or prohibit Daily Fantasy Sports in California. 

Operators still accept players from the state, however, and it looks like they will continue to do so until laws say otherwise. 

Is FanDuel Legal in California?

Daily Fantasy Sports are not explicitly legal in California, but FanDuel is available to players in the state. 

Absent formal regulations or laws, FanDuel is allowed to operate and accept players from California. Legal back-and-forth regarding DFS happens well above the individual player level, so DFS enthusiasts should have no problems accessing FanDuel in California. 

Can I play DFS contests for college sports in California?

Yes. California DFS players can access college sports contests, including NCAA basketball and football. 

Other states bar DFS or sportsbook providers from offering college-based matches. With no regulations in place, California players can access these contests on DraftKings, FanDuel, and other Daily Fantasy Sports providers. 

What types of prizes are available on California DFS sites?

It varies. Depending on the types of contests in which you participate, you could win anywhere from a few dollars to well over $100,000, though the chances of the latter happening are significantly slimmer. 

Head-to-head matches feature smaller prize pools because you’re playing against a single opponent and the winner takes all. Guaranteed Prize Pools offer much larger cash payouts, but more players participate, making them difficult to win. 

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier. Cole writes for a number of online and print publications, including The Quill To Live, a book review site.