California Sports Betting

California is the largest state in the USA and has the most profound sports betting potential. The legal framework, however, is yet to embrace sports gambling despite the numerous calls from residents over the years.

Below is an in-depth guide to California’s sports betting culture. We’ll look into the legal structure behind the current betting environment in California, its history, and its future.

If you have plans to place bets in California but don’t know where to start, maybe because of the complex laws regulating the industry in the state, worry no more because this article offers all the information you need to get started.

Legal Online California Sports Betting

California laws prohibit any form of in-person sports betting, and locals have to rely on online sportsbooks to place bets. This state of affairs has prevailed over the years, but now, the tribal coalition hopes to get this law overturned.

They have presented over a million California signatures to the state government to press for reforms in the betting industry.

Their bill, if approved, will allow betting in brick-and-mortar casinos in the state, with the minimum legal betting age set at 21 years.

Other aspects of the bill include the addition of roulette and craps into the American gambling culture and restriction on betting in high school events.

How To Pick A California Sports Betting Site

Settling on a worthy sports betting site can be as crucial as your betting strategy. In addition, studying the site’s relationship with previous customers can be a great way to ascertain its trustworthiness and reliability.

Aside from customer reviews, there are several other facts about an online sportsbook that you ought to look into before deciding to go all in.


Bettors looking to stake on significant sports like Basketball and football will easily select sports books because almost every company offers betting opportunities for these sports.

If you plan on betting on other not-so-popular sports like cricket, you might need to check the site’s website to verify their presence in this market.

Another aspect about markets worth looking at is the number of games they cover in your sport of choice; some online sports books claim to cover low league games but only concentrate on one or two.

Bet Options On Offer

Some bettors prefer to stake on specific types of bets, while not all sites can meet this need. If you like to bet NFL props then a quick look into the site’s information will tell you if it accommodates your style or not.

Betting skills and experience are useless if the site does not offer the betting types that suit you.

Ease Of Navigation

A user’s experience with a betting site is subjective, but there are a few navigation enablers that any site needs to have. In simple terms, a site should make it as easy as possible for users to access the different areas like finding bets, placing bets, and maybe betting history.

This issue might seem small but scrolling through a poorly designed and optimized site can be frustrating-a frustrated or angry bettor is one looking to place anger-induced bets.

Usability With Different Devices

The essence of online betting sites lies in the convenience aspect. A good site should be easily accessible from a home computer, PC, and mobile device. This way, you can check the odds, place bets, and analyze history from home, a restaurant, or even public transport.

With the recent technological developments, this feature should be made standard to save us the time we spend logging into horrible sites.

Before signing with any platform, ensure that it accommodates your device of choice.

Live Betting Opportunities

This is where the sportsbook allows you to place bets after the game kicks off. This is more like stock day trading, where the different occurrences during the game present different money making opportunities for you.

We do not recommend this for novice bettors, but experienced bettors have much to gain.

If this betting style resonates with you, selecting a site that features live betting should be your priority.

Deposit And Withdraw Options

With the advent of online money transfer, there are multiple channels through which you can fund your account and also withdraw winnings.

An excellent online sportsbook should offer as many deposit and withdrawal options as possible. If your site offers only one banking channel and this channel fails to match your needs, then it’s time you leave that platform.

It can be frustrating to have to endure a stressful game only to deal with customer service because you can’t withdraw your winnings.


A man is only as good as what his peers say about him. Every sports book strives to present itself as the most trustworthy, but not all are.

It would be wise to ask around for reviews about a site before diving in. There is so much information about the multiple sites online; compare the various strengths before clicking that sign-up button.

What To Avoid

You need to watch out for certain things before signing up at a sports betting website.

Blacklisted Platforms

There are multiple sites with questionable behavior in the industry, but you won’t find such information on the operator’s website.

Luckily, multiple external sources will frankly tell you of sites you need to steer clear of. All it takes is a simple Google search with the site and the word “blacklist.”

Before making a deposit, verify the site’s authenticity, although caution is recommended-some sites sponsor negative campaigns against their competition.

Some websites investigate betting sites and expose their rogue side, a deep search on the internet will reveal all this and more.

Delayed Payments

Why should you wait days to get your money if you’ve won? If a site has had issues with payment processing before, that should be your signal to run.

There can be delays caused by internet downtime or other tech issues, but frequent payment delays signify deeper underlying troubles.

Getting such information about a site is difficult unless you talk to customers. So enquire about a betting site in online sports forums and among friends to get the real story.

There might not be enough information on Google, but individuals on social media are always eager to bash rouge operators.

Timeline Of Sports Betting In California

California betting history is unique. One takeaway is that it has never been legal to bet in California. This is set to change. However, different fronts are pushing for California’s legalization of sports books.

The journey to legal betting in California is championed by tribal leaders who have collected over a million signatures from supporters.

California’s Sports Betting History


The tribal groups in California have something to celebrate after their online sports betting measure gained a slot in the November election.

There have been attempts to delay the tribal groups’ efforts, but there is hope with the measure on the ballot.


Over 1 million signatures were in May certified as valid. With this order in place, California residents now had an opportunity to decide the fate of their sports betting industry.

After the tribal measure appeared on the ballot, two other initiatives started their campaign for the same. The two initiatives championed different structures for the California sports betting industry.

The initiators had difficulty convincing the public to back them, with reports indicating a massive dislike for these initiatives.

Each initiative had to compile the required signature by mid-2022.


In January, the Joint Governmental Organization Committee finally agreed to hear the California sports betting bills. The tribal leaders and Card rooms were hopeful as the senator and Assemblyman looked through their concepts.

The tribal leaders’ efforts to collect as many signatures as possible were derailed by COVID-19, although they have adopted safer ways to interact with residents.

The pandemic was a significant worry for the tribespeople as they needed to collect and submit the signatures by June to offer enough time for verification and maybe consideration in the next election. They, however, rushed to the court requesting more time to collect and process signatures.


Multiple states in the USA have already legalized sports betting. Some leaders felt it was time California did the same.

The bills did not include any question about legalization in the November 2022 election but rather a few basic suggestions on how to run the betting industry in California.

On D-day, however, the tribe members boycotted discussions and introduced their initiative that only allowed highly regulated sports betting at the tribal casinos and horse tracks. They sought the support of the public to take this bill to the ballot.

One committee member saw the need for inclusivity in the final initiative.

California Sports Teams

There are plenty of options when it comes to betting on your favorite sports team in the US>

Los Angeles Dodgers

League: Major League Baseball
Founding years: 1883
Homes Stadium: Dodger Stadium
Partner: TBD

The team was founded in 1883 around Brooklyn and experienced multiple name changes before settling on the Dodgers tag in 1932.

The initial signees to the team included legends like Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, who led this little Brooklyn team to win a World Series title as early as 1955.

In 1958, the team found a new home in Los Angeles, where they were quick to lay claim to 3 more championships in 59, 63, and 65.

The Los Angeles Dodgers consisted of strong players like Don Drysdale, who earned the Dodgers 2 more victories before a thirty years curse hit them-they waited 30 years before securing their seventh world series title.

There are 162 regular season games; this is the perfect opportunity for California residents to make a kill.

Los Angeles Angels

League: Major League Baseball
Founding Year: 1961
Home Stadium: Angel Stadium
Partners: TBD

The Angels initially played in Los Angeles before 1966, when they shifted loyalty to their current home Anaheim.

The shift resulted in a change of name to California Angels in 1965, which they later changed to Anaheim Angels in 1997.

The team held on to the name until 2005 when they changed it to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before dropping the last two names later. The team holds the name to this date and maybe forever unless another change comes along.

The team is known for its surprise wins, like in the 1997-2004 period when they bagged an American League Pennant and World Series title-the Barry Bonds’ San Francisco Giants had a rough time in 2002.

With the team featuring some pretty impressive players like Mike Trout, the team is expected to bag even more championships in the coming years.

San Francisco Giants

League: Major League Baseball
Founding year: 1883
Home stadium: Oracle Park
Partners: TBD

This organization was initially known as the New York Gothams before dropping it a few months later for a lighter option-the, New York Giants.

The team dominated the circles from 1885-1957 before relocating to San Francisco in 1958, bringing with them 17 National League Pennants and 5 World Series Titles.

The team was among the first Major league Baseball teams to play on this side of the map. Unfortunately, the shift was followed by a 56-year drought running from 1958. It was only until 2010 when the Francisco Giants bagged a serious win-they beat the Texas Rangers in a whopping 5 games.

The team has bagged two more titles, with their supporters anticipating more. The San Francisco Giants are among the oldest and most successful; teams in the history of sports. For novice bettors, this is a team worth looking at.

San Diego Padres

League: Major League Baseball
Founding Year: 1969
Home Stadium: Petco Park
Partners: TBD

The Padres were first heard of in 1969 and joined the Los Angeles Angels as the only teams with their original homes in California.

Before laying claim to Petco Park in 2004, the padres occupied the Qualcomm stadium with two other teams, the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs football team.

On the team was world-renowned hitter Tony Gwynn who led the teams to the World Series twice, although they didn’t entirely bag the titles.

With Tony now retired, the Friars have their hope pegged on Ferdinando Tatis Jr. The team is expected to bring home more titles in the coming seasons.

Oakland Athletics

League: Major League Baseball
Founding year: 1901
Home Stadium: Oakland Coliseum
Partners: TBD

The Oakland Athletics organization was registered in 1901. Before settling in Oakland in 1968, the team played in other cities like Philadelphia and Kansas City.

The organization boasts up to 5 World Series titles in the 20 years of its existence. After strings of wins in Kansas City under the leadership of Connie Mack, the organization relocated to Oakland in the 1970s, where they went on to win 3 World Series titles by 1974.

The team maintained an impressive performance for a few years before the drought hit them. They have not won any major title in recent years, but their ups and downs could make a skillful bettor some good money.

Los Angeles Rams

League: National Football league
Founding year: 1936
Home stadium: SoFi Stadium
Partners: TBD

The Cleveland Rams relocated to Los Angeles in 1946, bringing an NFL championship title they had won before the AFL-NFL merger. It was not long before the Rams bagged a second championship-the 1951 NFL champions went to the Cleveland Rams.

They relocated to St Louis after playing in Los Angeles for 44 years. The team has, over the years, produced some pretty impressive end-season results, although they have not clinched as many titles as fans expected.

 Despite this, analysts still believe this team has what it takes to turn things around.

Los Angeles Chargers

League: National Football League
Founding year: 1959
Home Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Partner: TBD

Formerly, The San Diego Chargers, this organization was founded in Los Angeles in 1959 before relocating to San Diego in 1961. They played in the AFL for 55 seasons and won their only AFL championship in 1963.

Their Success was short-lived; their performance in the NFL has not been the best. The team has not won any super bowl title ever since, and their only appearance in the big games was rather disappointing-they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.

In the 2000s, the team suffered a chain of losses which are believed to have contributed to the organization’s decision to return to Los Angeles in 2017. They currently play in the SoFi stadium and their immediate rivals, the Rams.

The Rams have in recent years delivered impressive results-this has put pressure on the Chargers, who have been eying the top post for quite some time.

The Chargers are among the most promising teams with Justin Herbert on their side. By looking at the odds, it’s pretty clear that betting platforms acknowledge The Chargers’ potential.

San Francisco 49ers

League: National Football League
Founding Year: 1944
Home Stadium: Levi’s Stadium
Partners: Cache Creek Casino Resort

The organization is probably considered a symbol of traditionalism from its name source, named after the 1849 North California gold rush founders.

The team was founded in 1944 as the 49ers in California and has never changed its name or location. The team’s fans in the early years were treated to jaw-dropping performances on the field, with veteran players like Joe Montana propelling this team to glory in the 80s.

Montana retired in 1989; the team was left in the hands of other respected players like Steve Young, who received the baton with honor. He delivered 6 touchdowns in the Super Bowl XXIX. This was a proud moment for Young Steve, having won his first Championship without Montana’s backing.

However, this performance was not replicated in later years as the team has yet to break a 25-year title drought.

Los Angeles Lakers

League: National Basketball Association
Founding Year: 1947
Home Stadium: Arena
Partner: FanDuel

You cannot talk about sports history in the USA without mentioning this franchise. The team’s first home was Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they played for 13 years from 1947; they even got their name from here.

They played in the National Basketball Association, and Basket association of America before financial trouble drove them out of Minnesota and into California.

The shift must have done the Lakers a lot of good; they delivered up to 6 NBA finals, although they didn’t clinch any titles.

In 1968, they acquired former MVP Wilt Chamberlain. This low-key move earned the Lakers their first title in their newfound home. Unfortunately, this was followed by 10 years of dominance-they shelved 5 NBA championships.

In the 1990s, the Laker’s pillar retired; this resulted in a string of disappointments which were only remedied by the signing of Kobe Bryant in 1996. Kobe, coupled with Shaquille O’Neal, was the boost Los Angeles Lakers needed to turn things around.

By 2002, the Lakers had secured 3 consecutive championships under the stewardship of legendary coach Phil Jackson.

O’Neal retired in 2004, leaving the Lakers in the hands of Bryant, who took 5 years to secure their successive win, 2 back-to-back victories between 2009 and 2010.

The Lakers have portrayed ability recently, even with Kobe off the court. This puts them on the top of the list of teams most attractive to new talent and bettors.

Los Angeles Clippers

League: National Basketball Association
Founding Year: 1970
Home Stadium: Arena
Partners: Betway, Draftkings

Formerly the Buffalo Braves, this organization was founded in 1970. They shared an auditorium with the Canisius Golden Griffins for around 8 seasons, but the rivalry between these two teams soon led to the Braves shifting to San Diego in 1978.

The newly founded San Diego Clippers had it rough in San Diego. So, in a salvation attempt, the team’s owner Donald Sterling decided to move the team again, this time to Los Angeles. He did this without the league’s approval, though.

In LA, the team improved in performance, although not as much as its controversial owner had predicted. In 2014, Donald sold the Los Angeles Clippers and the franchise to Steve Ballmer, who steered the team to massive sponsorship deals with companies like Betway and Draftkings.

Retail Sports Betting In California

Retail betting is not legal in California yet. However, there is intense lobbying from different factions, mainly the tribal community, to have these restrictions lifted.

The coalition of California tribal groups has presented the “California Sports Wagering and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act,” which seeks to legalize retail sports betting in California.

The group’s request passed scrutiny and will be on the November ballot. As a result, California residents will have an opportunity to shape the future of gambling in their state.

Another measure consideration is the legalization of sports betting on American Indian Lands. If Californians vote “yes,” the tribal groups will reach six dozen sports books locations.

The proposal, however, comes with restrictions like prohibiting sports betting on college teams. In addition, the revenue from these operations will be subject to a 10% tax from the state government.

The tribal group’s long-term plan is to have exclusive rights to sports betting by imposing stricter legislation on online betting in California.

The initiative does not consider card rooms, but dice and ball games will be available in brick-and-mortar casinos mostly run by tribal groups.

Tribal Casinos

Tribal groups have recently increased their presence in the gambling scene with the development of new brick and mortar casinos that bear more slot machines and similar equipment.

In 2006, there were around 54 casinos in California under management by 53 tribes. Most of these casinos are located in Riverside and San Diego counties. If the measure passes in November, residents can expect more casinos and slot machines in California.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Even with the strict gambling laws in California, major DFS platforms operate with minimal interference from the local government. The law does not mention DFS explicitly, so the authorities might lack a route to approach the DFS operators from.

Former Attorney general Kamala Harris was once pressured to rule on the legality of DFS sport but never did. So as far as California is concerned, legalizing DFS sport would only be a formality.

Offshore Betting

With local sports betting currently illegal in the golden state, residents are forced to contend with offshore betting platforms like BetUS, bet online, and mybookie to stake.

A turnaround is expected in November with a measure to overturn these restrictions already in place. In the meantime, California residents will continue to enjoy federal laws which allow all US citizens to utilize online betting platforms from all states.

California Horse Racing & Off-Track Racing

Horse racing betting has been part of the culture in California for decades. However, upon its legalization and the establishment of the California Horse Racing Board in 1933, California residents could now bet on their favorite horses.

The CHRB has, over the years, revised the law allowing for in-person and mobile betting on horse races. This board holds the mandate to regulate wagering and horse racing in CA. Its constitutional goal is to promote integrity and transparency in the sport.

To do this, the board oversees activities like wagering and breeding while ensuring that the animals’ physical health is guaranteed.

The board also regulates online betting operators and lists all the licensed operators in California and their physical offices on its website.

California boasts over 5 racetracks with 24 off-track betting locations, most of which operate as mini-satellite parlors in alcohol and snack joints. Most OTB facilities are concentrated in southern California, with the rest spread out in other areas like the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Bay Area.

These facilities allow residents to enjoy sports betting even in areas without racetracks.

Final Thoughts

Sports betting in CA has become a hot topic in recent years with the multiple attempts by different groups in California to loosen the strict laws surrounding it.

Tribal groups have for many years pushed for the legalization of sports betting in their casinos and have gone ahead to sponsor a measure on the November ballot; their hope now lies with the electorate.

Even with the laws, California residents have not been excluded from sports betting as the law allows them to place bets on offshore platforms that the California state law does not regulate.

The election in November is set to determine the future of sports gambling in California for the coming decades.

About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of Casinos, Slots, Bingo & Sports Betting than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.