California Gambling Laws


Posted: April 13, 2016

Updated: April 13, 2016

There are only a few states with such open-minded approach to gambling as California. Besides some small restrictions, California gambling laws provide plenty of opportunities for legal and safe gaming.

California Gambling Laws

California gambling laws allow for a wide range of gambling in the state. Defined in the Gambling Control Act of California, gambling “means to deal, operate, carry on, conduct, maintain, or expose for play any controlled game.” According to the California Penal Code, controlled game stands for “any poker or Pai Gow game, and any other game played with cards or tiles, or both […], and any game of chance, including any gambling device, played for” anything of value. To conduct gambling in California the owners of gambling enterprises are required to obtain a state gambling license.

Let’s take a look at games that are approved or prohibited by California Gambling laws. Certain games that use equipment like balls or dice are specifically prohibited. Therefore, roulette and craps are not to be found in California casinos. However, some gambling establishments have successfully bypassed this ban with some clever changes to these games. Since poker is not illegal, the state is home to 89 active cardrooms, also known as Card Clubs, or California Casinos (not to be mistaken with classic Casinos). Besides poker, California card rooms provide player vs. player games, some of which are modified versions of classics like blackjack.

In California, classic casinos, with Class I, II, or III games, are on Native American land. Currently, there are 60 tribal casinos in California, generating huge revenues. The gambling compacts were signed after 2000. Each tribe has an individual compact with different regulations, based on the tribe’s resources. The casinos can offer up to 2,000 slot machines but there’s no limit on the types or quantity of card games. Another form legal form of gambling in California is horserace betting. California is one the few states where online betting on horseraces is allowed.

Online Gambling in California

California is definitely open to online gambling, specifically to online betting and poker. However, this does not mean that these games are already legal. Online betting on horseraces is legal if it happens through licensed providers. Around 2014 there were numerous bills that sought legal online poker in California. Unfortunately, they were dropped by the legislature for different reasons. Most recently, a California online poker bill, AB 167, was pulled from the legislature’s agenda in the last minute. Even though California lawmakers seem open to regulate online gambling, it will be a hard progress because of clashing interests.

Update [29th April 2016]:

On April 27, 2016, the Assembly Government Organization Committee approved the California online poker bill by unanimous vote. The would establish the framework for the licensing and operation of online poker rooms in California. According to US gambling news, he Native American tribes of the state are also in support of the bill. The bill’s text includes consumer protection measures, and licensing criteria.

Lotteries in California

The California Lottery was created in 1984 for the supplemental funding of public education in the state. Players can enjoy local and multi-state games as well. Currently, tickets can be purchased only at licensed, land-based resellers. “The California Lottery does not sell its games online and does not partner with or endorse any third party businesses that claim to sell or courier California Lottery products,” warns the official website of the California Lottery.

Daily Fantasy Sports in California

“California is setting the tone for the rest of the nation on what a regulatory framework should look like,” stated Assemblyman Adam Gray, the sponsor of AB 1437, California’s daily fantasy sports bill that passed in January, 2016. Lawmakers are currently awaiting the opinion of California’s Attorney General, about the legality of daily fantasy sports in California. After the bill passed, tribal interests came to the center of focus. As of now, the bill is in front the Senate. Until the final decisions, all major daily fantasy sports operate in California.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x