UNITED STATES—The Golden state sits on a $30 billion a year gambling underexploited market thanks to its stringent anti-gambling regulations according to the LA times.

After the stripping of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) bill in 2018, which revoked the federal government’s nationwide jurisdiction over the gambling industry, most investors viewed California as a potential golden goose.

However, it was not until a year later that the wheels on the state legalization of gambling debate started turning. With a bill at hand, many hopefuls believe that the state will have proper regulations and legislation in place by 2022.

Experts predict a modern-day gold rush as investors move in to take advantage of the newfound goldmine, as big sportsbooks already have their plans in place and cannot wait for the big day.

Is sports betting currently legal in CA?


There are no state-run online gambling sites nor legislation to facilitate the establishment of its alternative in the state. The proposal to have tribal casinos run sports betting sites bore no fruit in the November 2020 elections.

However, there are other betting options for Californians to consider:

How can Californians bet on sports?

Despite unfavorable legislation, Californians have a massive advantage over other abstained state residents. Indeed, Las Vegas is a few hours’ drive, or better take a short flight to the sin city and get spoiled by dozens of gambling options.

Alternatively, you can still place bets on international online gaming sites. Unfortunately, this denies the state deserved revenue and brings about the moral question to lawmakers and the residents.

Californians can bet on horse races as this has been the state’s culture since 1933. The exception is only in horse racing and not any other sport.

Therefore, as a sports enthusiast and a CA resident, you can still wager on your favorite sports and teams without fear of reprimand. Here are some of the extensively researched best legal California sports betting sites you can check out.

What are forms of gambling legal in CA?

Tribal Casinos

These are restricted to the Indian land and are only 69 in number. They are Vegas-style casinos with banked games such as poker and blackjack, Bingo, and slot machines.

Well, the tribal casinos have been at the forefront of opposing the opening of sport betting to private entities as they fear the competition will wipe them out. There has been an ongoing cold war between the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) and independent card room investors.

The CNIGA has been accused of showing no interest in the legalization of sports betting in CA, even after the 2016 PASPA federal ruling denied them revenue-sharing agreements with the state.

Investors believe that sports betting could generate enough revenue to support the cash-strapped local government.

Card Clubs

Most often confused with Vegas-style casinos, card rooms/clubs make their money by charging players an entry fee. Therefore, card club players bet against each and not against the house, as in casinos. There are dozens of card clubs in California, and none offers sports betting options.

Pari-mutuel horse wagering

Pari-mutuel betting is commonly referred to as mutual betting. Like card rooms, pari-mutuel bettors play against one another rather than against the house.

However, they are different in that pari-mutuel bets are pooled together. Once the fees and taxes are deducted, the winners share the pooled bets’ remainder. The California laws only permit horse racing pari-mutuel betting.

Charitable gaming

This refers to games of bingos whose proceeds go to charity, and often times competitions and events are hosted by the same charity organization. Only Bingo is permitted in charity gaming.

State Lottery

Well, you can play the game of chances in CA through the California lottery, which provides gaming options such as Super lotto plus and Mega millions.

Who is likely to be the first sportsbook after legalization?

With gambling legalization on the horizon, it is imminent that legislators will grant tribal casinos the priority to provide sports betting as they are already established throughout the state.

Afterward, the second priority will be given to state based commercial facilities paving the way to reputable casinos to invest in the untapped CA gaming market. The following are the best suitors for these opportunities;

Santa Anita Park

Top of the list is the famous Breeders Cup Leg of horse racing Triple Crown host, Santa Anita, renowned for holding major racing events and providing professional physical sportsbook services in LA.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

If you understand anything about gaming in the US, you should know that Harrah’s is a big name in the Casino sector. Its humongous reputation and base in California will be its significant advantage, not to mention its close affiliation with Tribal Casinos.

Other contestants include DraftKings, Fan duel, Pechanga Resort and casino and San Manuel Bingo and Casino.

What is the fate of online poker and fantasy sports?

The daily fantasy sports had their glorious moments in 2016 after the state assembly overwhelmingly voted for its legalization. Unfortunately, their little merriment was thwarted by the Senate, which disapproved the Bill’s proposition, stating that the state assembly did not consider the position of the tribal casinos.

Since then, there has been no further effort to push for legalization. However, there are no legal grounds that stop residents from entering online fantasy content.

Bottom line

California has the highest number of teams in national league competitions across all sports; hockey, NFL, MLS, NBA, you name it. These teams have millions of fans who are dying to participate in their team’s gaming activities by wagering on them.

It is high time the state takes advantage of this vast market to generate billions in annual revenue. Statistically, the state sits on the largest gaming market in the United States with its staggering population and dozens of successful sports teams.

However, the fate of sports gambling in CA lies in the legislators’ hand while sports enthusiasts can only hope that a consensus will be reached through professional consultation and public participation across the state.