Every effort to bring legal sports betting to California so far has failed. In fact, two separate ballot measures to bring legal sports betting to California in 2022, one to tribal casinos and the other online, failed to pass.
Ultimately, California needs a constitutional amendment to bring legal sports betting of any kind to the state. That will require a successful ballot measure.
It’s now clear that sports betting must go through the tribes first. The tribes own and operate casinos in the state, they have what they consider exclusive rights to casino gaming in California, and they successfully lobbied against sports betting in 2022.
California could technically get another ballot measure going and legalize sports betting as soon as 2024. However, the state will need to get some kind of agreement with the tribes in place first. That’s job one.
Because of the number of pro sports teams in the state and the size of the market, California and its potential to generate $30 billion in bets every year, is widely considered the holy grail of sports betting markets.
That means no one is giving up on it anytime soon. Based on what other legal sports betting states have done and what the state has already considered, here’s what legal sports betting could ultimately look like in California.
Best California Online Sportsbooks
If California says yes to online sportsbooks, more than a dozen will quickly become available across the state, including the biggest sportsbook brands in the country.
DraftKings Sportsbook California
DraftKings Sportsbook has long had its eye on California.
The sportsbook brings innovation and a personalized sports betting experience to every new state it enters, and California will jump at it. DraftKings’ long list of contests, promos and unique features includes:
- Free-to-Play Pools
- Odds Boosts
- Single Game Parlays
- and more.
FanDuel Sportsbook California
FanDuel has found the key to unlocking big chunks of market share wherever it goes and California should be no different.
Live betting and live streaming options abound and betting is smooth with FanDuel’s easy-to-use app. Plus, FanDuel’s No Sweat Bet promos and regular odds boosts are hard to beat.
It’s also famous for the Free $1 million NFL Hi-Lo props-style contest and Free College Football Pick’em contest it runs.
BetMGM Sportsbook California
A gaming giant like MGM belongs in California where it can offer its best-in-class sports betting, banking, and account management options to the massive sports betting market there.
More unique sports to bet on and more promos offering refunds when your bets come close are the signature BetMGM sportsbook offerings it is sure to bring with it to the Golden State.
It will also feature One Game Parlays and the great MGM Rewards Loyalty Program.
Caesars Sportsbook California
Another American gaming giant, Caesars would love to make a home for itself in California and offer anyone in the state the chance to bet on its extremely competitive lines and odds.
However, Caesars sportsbook big draw in Cali is likely to be the same as it is in other states: The chance to earn with its Caesars Rewards Program with every sports bet.
How to sign up at a California online sportsbook
Signing up with a California online sportsbook is a simple four-step process anyone with a laptop or phone can complete.
- Click a link from this page to any online sportsbook licensed in California
- Download and install that sportsbook’s app through the links on that page
- Start the registration process on the app or do it right on the website via the ‘Register’ ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Sign Me Up’ button
- Fill out the sign-up forms, enter the bonus code or promo code you find listed here, and accept the terms and conditions
How to download a sports betting app in California
Step two above asks you to download and install a sportsbook app. That’ll turn your phone or tablet into a sportsbook you can access anytime, anywhere inside state lines.
There, you’ll find the same lines and odds you can bet in at retail and online sportsbooks all over the country. Plus, you’ll also have access to live betting odds during games.
Here are simple device-specific download instructions for these apps:
iPhone or iPad
- Find and click the download link with the Apple logo on the sportsbook’s website.
- Find and click the “Get” button on the page.
- Find and click the download link with the Android logo on the sportsbook’s website.
- Click “Install” when prompted.
How many sportsbook apps will I be able to use in California?
You’re free to use any and every sportsbook app that gets a license to operate in California. In fact, it’s a good idea to use them all to shop around and find the best prices on your bets.
You’ll only be able to have one account with each one, but you can get that one account and claim a welcome bonus offer from each licensed sportsbook.
Will I need to live in California to bet at legal online sportsbooks?
California residency is not likely to be a requirement for online sports betting in the state. However, you will need to open an account with a California online sportsbook and be inside the state to place all bets with it.
What will be the legal age for sports betting in California?
The legal age for sports betting in California will depend on who runs sportsbooks in the state. California Gaming Clubs only allow patrons who are 21 or over to play, but tribal casinos are 18 and up.
How will you know if you can trust a California sportsbook?
You can expect any legal and regulated sportsbooks to be licensed by the California Gambling Control Commission or owned and operated by trusted tribal entities who have entered into gaming compacts with the state and already operate trusted tribal casino locations.
You’ll know you can trust these sportsbooks because, one way or another, they are state approved.
What to look for in a California sportsbook app
When you’re looking for a legal sportsbook app to make bets in California, ask yourself:
- Is this site licensed in California? Look for the California Gambling Control Commission seal of approval.
- Are the odds posted fair?: Shop around to make sure the odds are competitive and you get the best price in your bets.
- Is there a welcome bonus I can take advantage of? Bigger is better and you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to get hold of any bonus too.
- How easy is it to navigate? Test the software to see how functional everything is and how easy it is to place a bet fast.
- Are there ongoing promos I can take advantage of? Make sure there’s something you will use or go elsewhere where there is.
- Is there a Loyalty Program? Get rewards for betting and get connected to your favorite land-based casino loyalty program.
- How’s the customer service?: Find a question you want to ask just to make sure someone will be there when you really need them to be.
Will I be able to bet on college teams in California?
Only if California sports betting law says it is OK to bet on college sports will you be able to bet on your favorite college teams, or any college teams for that matter. Some states have restricted bets on local college teams, college games that are played locally no matter which schools are involved, and certain bet types, including player props.
This will all depend on what the state and the tribes want regarding college sports betting.