Welcome to the ultimate guide to sports betting in California. In this article, we’ll help you launch your betting career by recommending excellent offshore sportsbooks you can join without breaking any California laws.
For those looking to understand the legal situation in CA thoroughly, we provide a detailed overview of applicable laws, explain the tension between Native American tribes and other industry players, and attempt to predict what the future holds for sports betting in the Golden State. Read on to find out if sports betting in California is legal.
The Best California Sports Betting Sites List 2021
We evaluated dozens of offshore sportsbooks to arrive at the following top-ranked platforms for online sports betting in California. All providers below offer a secure wagering experience and a full range of betting options, including parlays, teasers, prop bets, in-play betting, point spreads, and moneylines, to name some.
- MyBookie – Best overall California sports betting site
- Bovada – Great bonus for Bitcoin depositors
- BetUS – Best promotions overall
- Intertops – Lots of value lines
- Sportsbetting.ag – Great eSports coverage
- BetOnline – Very high deposit limits
- GTBets – Deep markets & great onboarding bonus
- BetNow – Excellent tool for building prop bets
- XBet – Wide variety of lines for international sports
- BUSR – Great support and swift withdrawals
Best California Sportsbooks Reviewed
1. MyBookie – Best overall California sports betting site
Mybookie requires no introductions. Formed in 2014, this Costa Rica-based sportsbook caters to bettors all around the globe, including residents of California.
The bookmaker offers a mixture of betting options on over twenty sports, many of which are US-favorites. You can use the bookie’s browser or mobile app to wager on football, basketball, baseball, darts, ice hockey, martial arts, motorsports, and much more. Leagues you can bet on include local majors like the NBA or NFL, as well as minor counterparts from across the world.
Additionally, MyBookie stands out from competitors thanks to its unmatched League of Legends market depths. At the time of this review, we counted 14 LoL leagues available for betting – over twice as many as what we found elsewhere.
MyBookie also offers a generous welcome bonus, a responsive mobile betting app, several recurring promotions tailored to bettors of all calibers, and convenient deposits through credit cards and top cryptocurrencies.
Sign-up with MyBookie today and experience the best that sports betting in California has to offer.
- Impressive range of betting markets
- Generous introductory and recurring bonuses
- Impressive LoL and basketball coverage
- Cryptocurrency deposits
- Quick payouts
- eSports variety could use improvement
2. Bovada – Great Bonus for Bitcoin Depositors
Bovada is probably the most recognizable betting brand in California. In addition to serving up lines on the most popular traditional sports and eSports, Bovada offers an exceptional selection of parlays – possibly the best we’ve seen.
Furthermore, one of the company’s centerpieces is an advanced prop builder that simplifies creating and placing complex wagers – we’re sure you’ll love it.
What’s more, Bovada provides an integrated video streaming tool, enabling you to track matches in real-time as you place in-game wagers. Streaming is available through both the dedicated mobile app and the browser-powered version of the platform.
- User-friendly application
- Great eSports and regular sports selection
- Huge bonus for Bitcoin depositors
- Focus on US sports and bettors
- Lines can be slow to appear
3. BetUS – Best Promotions Overall
When it comes to sports betting in California, few sportsbooks can match the raw experience that BetUS brings to the gambling table. Founded in 1994 and regulated by the government of Costa Rica, BetUS is ahead of competitors when it comes to generous promotions and bonuses. In total, new and existing players can claim up to $10,000 in bonus money – an unprecedented amount in this industry.
Another reason we like and recommend BetUS is its extensive selection of eSports. You can bet on popular video games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Valorant, Counter-Strike, and Dota, as well as back your favorite players in Tekken, Warcraft, and a few other titles that other sportsbooks usually miss.
BetUS also excels in the payments department. The bookmaker processes transactions via credit cards, cryptocurrencies, bank transfers, and Matchpay, in addition to approving payouts in 48 hours or less.
- Up to $10,000 in bonuses
- Fast withdrawals
- Excellent eSports coverage
- In-game betting, parlays, teasers
- Tough bonus wagering requirements
4. Intertops – Lots of value lines
Like BetUS, Intertops sportsbook has been doing business since the mid-1990s. Headquartered in Antigua, the bookmaker is known for offering some of the best reduced-juice lines, allowing you to extract more value out of your wagers.
Other noteworthy features include in-depth coverage of traditional sports like tennis, soccer, basketball, football, martial arts, handball, and cricket, paired with an impressive selection of odds on all popular eSports events.
Unfortunately, Intertops has drawbacks. For one, its application is dated – both the mobile and desktop apps could use an overhaul. The bookie also features one of the lowest welcome bonuses around, which is unexpected considering the fierce competition in the California sports betting market.
- Great reputation and longevity
- Solid sports and eSports offering
- Great selection of NHL lines
- “Hot Bets” filter
- Below-average welcome bonus
- No live streaming
5. Sportsbetting.ag – Great eSports coverage
Another top offshore site for sports betting in California is Sportsbetting.ag, founded in 1999 and later bought by BetOnline group.
The bookmaker is perhaps best known for its extensive range of soccer selections, covering virtually every upcoming match in the world. This bewildering variety is also reflected in Sportsbetting.ag’s choice of soccer prop bets and parlays, leaving competitors in the dust.
In addition to soccer, the bookmaker covers all of its other bases: rugby, martial arts, basketball, major US and international sports leagues – all disciplines are well represented.
Regarding bonuses, Sportsbetting.ag doesn’t disappoint: new players are treated to $1,000 in bonus funds, while loyal patrons can take advantage of multiple recurring offers, such as re-deposit bonuses, cashback, and boosted odds.
- Competitive welcome bonus
- An unprecedented selection of football lines
- Earn rewards for referring friends
- Lacks live-streaming feeds
- High fees on credit card deposits
California Betting Sites Comparison
|Sportsbook||Bonus||Promo Code||Available Markets||Live Streaming||Payment methods|
|MyBookie||50% deposit match up to $1,000
25% reload bonus up to $500
|Basketball, boxing, eSports, horse racing, soccer, and more||Yes||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum|
|Bovada||75% Bitcoin deposit match up to $750||BTCSWB750||Aussie Rules, badminton, baseball, football, golf, and more||Yes||Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin|
|BetUS||50% deposit match up to $1,250||SIGNUP100||Basketball, baseball, ice hockey, football, motorsports, and more||No||Credit card, bank wire, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin|
|Intertops||50% deposit match up to $200
100% deposit match up to $100
200% deposit match up to $50
|NFL, baseball, ice hockey, tennis, and more||No||VISA, Mastercard, AmEx, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Skrill|
|Sportsbetting.ag||50% deposit match up to $1,000
25% reload bonus up to $250
|Basketball, baseball, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and more||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple|
Is Sports Betting Legal in California?
Currently, no. Legalizing sports betting in California hinges on passing a constitutional amendment, in addition to balancing the interests of three competing stakeholders:
- Cardrooms – Land-based venues offering poker and other table games
- Indian tribes – Collectively, they own over 60 land-based casinos in CA. Native American tribes are the most powerful players in California’s gambling industry
- Racetracks – Although less popular than they once were, racetracks are managed by people with serious political influences
As of 2021, California doesn’t have a definite timeframe for introducing legal in-state bookmaking. Still, new proposals continue to emerge, implying a strong interest in making local sports betting a reality. The future remains uncertain. For now, sports betting in California is restricted to Daily Fantasy Sports contests and offshore sports betting sites.
Online Sportsbooks in California
When it comes to California online sports betting, local laws prohibit betting operators from basing their operations inside the state. As a result, bookmakers hoping to serve California residents must operate their business from overseas locations.
At the moment, most efforts directed at regulating sports betting in the Golden State center around land-based operations, with online initiatives taking a back seat. Still, once physical sportsbooks receive the go-ahead to operate from within state lines, we expect online betting in CA to take off as well.
If you’re a resident of California and would like to wager online without breaking applicable laws, you have two options:
- Drive over to a neighboring state with legal online sports betting. Luckily, every state bordering California (Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona) has legalized online sports betting.
- Use one of our recommended best offshore sports betting sites. So far, the California government has refrained from taking action against offshore sportsbooks, rendering this sector of the industry a legal gray area that millions of residents take advantage of every month.
Land-based California sports betting
There are currently no physical establishments that accept legal sports wagers in California. But this may soon change.
Local Native American tribal casinos filed a motion to legalize sports betting at their brick-and-mortar casinos. The amendment is currently under vote, with an election date set for November 8, 2022. If the initiative succeeds, California residents will be able to wager legally at any of the state’s Indian-owned casinos.
The ballot initiative is led by the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering, which is supported by multiple Indian tribes and has so far raised over $11 million to fund its activities. Among the coalition’s top donors are the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Horse racing in California
Parimutuel betting on horse racing is legal at satellite wagering facilities and sanctioned racetracks. Furthermore, California is one of over 27 states that permit the use of advance deposit wagering (ADW) applications, which enable bettors to fund their horse race betting activities online or through a phone call.
The state’s most prominent extended races are held year-round at the following tracks:
- Cal Expo
- Del Mar
- Golden Gate Fields
- Los Alamitos
- Santa Anita
As for California off-track betting locations, close to 30 of these facilities are dispersed throughout tribal casinos, county fairgrounds, and licensed cardrooms.
It’s worth noting that all horse racing activities in CA are licensed and regulated by the California Horse Racing board. And judging by the state’s dwindling horse race income, which dropped below $3.2 billion for the first time in 2018, we expect off-track betting in California to remain stagnant for a while.
Timeline of Sports Betting Legislation in California
Here’s a look at some of the most recent developments towards legalizing sports betting in California:
- 2022 (November 8th): New California sports betting 2022 proposal – voters will decide whether to legalize sports betting in Indian casinos. This decision will mark a turning point in the history of California’s regulated betting industry.
- 2021: Office of Secretary of State Shirley Weber confirms that 1,060,000 of the signatures collected by the coalition are valid, exceeding the minimum requirement of 997,139.
- 2020 (December): The coalition collects and files over 1,400,000 signatures.
- 2020 (July): Indian tribes fail to collect the required number of signatures but win the right to an extension.
- 2019: 18 of California’s Indian tribes form a coalition to file a petition that would get California betting on the November ballot. The alliance must gather 997,139 signatures by April next year to put forth its petition.
- 2018 : The Californians For Sports Betting group files a petition to legalize sports betting in licensed cardrooms. This petition, which clashed with Tribal interests, collects zero of the 623,211 signatures required to get the issue on the 2020 ballot.
- 2017: Adam Gray is back. He introduces legislation ACA 18 with the hope of amending the California constitution to allow for sports betting. This issue also flops.
- 2016: Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray introduces legislation CA AB 1573. Although a total failure, the issue marked the beginning of California’s march towards legal sports betting.
Offshore Sports Betting in California
California gambling laws don’t ban offshore betting sites. In fact, most punters in the Golden State use an overseas sportsbook, typically one that operates out of Panama or Costa Rica.
We want to remind you that offshore betting technically constitutes a legal grey area in California. No players were prosecuted for wagering with MyBookie or Bovada, but there are no laws that explicitly allow betting with an international bookmaker.
Additionally, the number of offshore sportsbooks that accept action from California residents grows every year. Some of these new entrants are licensed and regulated, while others are shady actors with dubious intentions. We encourage you to wager with an offshore sportsbook, but we also recommend that you only use approved betting sites, like the ones we recommend above.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in California?
Although land-based sports betting in California is a major apple of discord, daily fantasy sports (DFS) are a different beast.
Strictly speaking, CA lawmakers have neither legalized nor prohibited DFS. Nevertheless, all major Daily Fantasy Sports operators accept action from California residents. These companies are of the opinion that because fantasy sports constitute a skill game, the state’s ban on sports betting doesn’t apply to DFS.
As of 2021, you can participate in DFS contests through:
- Fantasy Draft
Casino laws in California
California casino laws are more lenient than their sports betting counterparts.
Online Casinos in The Golden State
Unfortunately, online casinos are forbidden from operating inside California. Nevertheless, if you’d like to scratch your slots or roulette itch, you can join one of many offshore casinos, which aren’t prohibited by CA gambling laws.
Native American tribes own all local brick-and-mortar casinos, and most of these venues are located in San Diego, Riverside, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties.
Here’s a complete list of active California casinos:
- Harrah’s Northern California
- Jackson Rancheria Casino
- Feather Falls Casino
- Gold County Casino and Hotel
- Colusa Casino Resort
- San Pablo Lytton Casino
- Elk Valley Casino
- Lucky 7 Casino
- Redhawk Casino
- Mono Wind Casino
- Table Mountain Casino
- Bear River Casino
- Blue Lake Casino
- Cher-Ae Heights Bingo and Casino
- Lucky Bear Casino
- Quechan Resort Casino
- Red Earth Casino
- Torres Martinez Casino
- Paiute Palace Casino
- Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino
- Konocti Vista Casino and Bingo
- Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino
- Twin Pine Casino
- Diamond Mountain Casino
- Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
- Black Bart Casino
- Red Fox Casino
- Shodokai Casino
- Sho-Ka-Wah Casino
- Desert Rose Casino
- Thunder Valley Casino Resort
- Agua Caliente Casino
- Augustine Casino
- Cahuilla Creek Casino
- Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino
- Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa
- Pechanga Resort and Casino
- Soboba Casino
- Spa Resort and Casino
- Spotlight 29 Casino
- Havasu Landing Resort and Casino
- San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino
- Tortoise Rock Casino
- Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino
- Casino Pauma Golden Acorn Casino
- Harrah’s Resort Southern California
- Jamul Casino
- La Jolla Slot Arcade
- La Posta Casino
- Pala Casino Resort and Spa
- Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino
- Sycuan Resort and Casino
- Valley View Casino
- Viejas Casino
- Chumash Casino Resort
- Pit River Casino
- Win-River Casino
- Rain Rock Casino
- Graton Resort & Casin0
- River Rock Casin0
- Rolling Hills Casino
- Eagle Mountain Casino
- Black Oak Casino
- Chicken Ranch Bingo and Casino
- Cache Creek Casino Resort
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
In addition, California is home to over 80 cardrooms.
Gambling Tax in California
All gambling income – except income from the CA Lottery – is subject to the state’s standard income tax. In other words, anything you earn from gambling is treated as ordinary income and incurs a tax rate between 1% and 13.3%. The exact rate depends on your declared combined income from gambling and other sources.
You can use a tax calculator and check the tax brackets on the State of California’s Franchise Tax Board.
CA Betting Conclusion
California’s betting industry is on the verge of a major transformation. Yet today, it’s impossible to predict what the state’s regulated betting industry will look like once the dust has settled – all we can do is guess.
Nevertheless, betting with offshore sites is not illegal in CA, and getting started is as easy as filling out a short registration form and making a Bitcoin transfer or credit card payment. Don’t believe us? Then head over to MyBookie’s website and see for yourself – you’ll be up and running in ten minutes or less!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is online sports betting legal in California?
When is California going to have sports betting?
What betting is legal in California?
Where can I place bets in California?
Why don’t the California gaming tribes have sports betting?
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