Legal Sportsbooks in California – Sports Betting in CA

Due to disagreements between the tribal nations and cardrooms, sports betting legislation has been unable to move forward in California.

Sports betting is still illegal in California. Two 2022 ballot referendums failed and there is little hope that 2024 will be any better. All states that border California offer legal sportsbooks.

History Behind California Sports Betting Proposed Bill

This page analyzes California sports betting and what it might look like in the future. Sports betting has been a lucrative business for states that have legalized it. States had the option to start legalizing sports betting in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional. PASPA kept legal sports betting out of the United States from 1992 until 2018. This allowed illegal offshore books to take over the American sports betting industry.

California could be the biggest sports betting market in the United States. California has the most professional sports franchises out of any state in America. There are over 40 million people that reside in California. Additionally, millions of visitors travel to the state every year. California has the framework to become a sports betting goldmine.

A majority of the legislators who serve the state favor sports betting. Tax revenue would skyrocket if the form of gambling was legalized. Bills have been suggested and progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work that has to be done for California to offer legal sports betting.

With sports betting losing in two 2022 landslides, there is little hope that Califonia will have legal sportsbooks any time soon. Luckily, Nevada is just to the east of the state. 

What the Sports Betting Bill Says

California is running on a massive budget deficit so there’s a push by the state legislature to implement sports betting. SCA 6 and ACA 16 are the two bills that deal with the future of California sports betting. California has tribal casinos and independent cardrooms that operate in the state. The topic of sports betting has caused tension between the two gambling operators.

The bills would allow tribal casinos to offer retail sportsbooks in the state. Cardrooms would not have the ability to offer sports betting in their facilities so the tribes would have a monopoly. Cardrooms are fine with this because they would be allowed to continue offering “player-banked” table games. The tribes were trying to take this privilege away from cardrooms to attract more visitors to their casinos.

The California state legislature wants to utilize mobile sports betting. Despite this fact, California tribes are against mobile gambling because it will take business away from their retail books. It’s projected that the state would receive over $280 million in tax revenue during the first six months of sports betting in the state. There will need to be some compromises between the tribes and the state when it comes to online wagering if sports betting ever becomes legal. 

What’s Holding Back Sports Betting in California

The contention between the tribal nations and cardrooms in the state has hindered the sports betting ballot. The tribal nations attempted to take away cardrooms’ ability to offer “player-banked” table games through legal action. The tribal nations lost in one of the state’s appellate courts in early December of 2020.

Following this decision, tribes submitted their request to include sports betting on the ballot in 2022. The tribes only want sports betting to attract bettors to their facilities to play casino games. Casino games are more profitable for the tribes than sports betting will be in the future. Once the tribes lost their legal suit, they needed sports betting as a way to separate themselves from cardrooms in California.

Cardrooms aren’t concerned with offering sports betting because they will still be able to include “player-banked” table games following the recent California appellate court decision. In the future, cardrooms could offer sports betting, but it will take a vote and a state constitutional amendment.

Sports Teams to Bet on in CA

The state of California has the most professional sports franchises out of any other American state. Nineteen professional teams across six different leagues call California home. The MLB has the most teams that play in the state. The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres play in the National League West. The Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics compete in the American League West.

Four NBA teams play in California. The four teams are the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Sacramento Kings. The Lakers, who are led by LeBron James, won the 2020 NBA Championship. The Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA are the sole women’s professional basketball franchise in California.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers are the three NFL franchises in the state. There were four before the Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.

The Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks of the NHL are stationed in California. The Kings are the only team out of the three to have won two Stanley Cups in the past decade. The MLS has three California franchises including the LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, and the San Jose Earthquakes. Bettors in the state will have a multitude of betting options when sports betting becomes legal.

FAQ for Betting in California

Is sports betting legal in California?

No, sports betting isn’t legal in the state of California. Tribal nations submitted a request for sports betting to be voted on by residents on the 2022 ballot. This would allow tribal casinos to open up retail sportsbooks.

Will there be online gambling options?

Yes, but it will likely be after retail sportsbooks open if the 2022 vote passes. The tribes aren’t in favor of online sports betting initially because they want to use retail books as a way to attract bettors to their casinos. California is too big of a market to not implement online sports betting in the future.

Will California cardrooms be able to offer sports betting?

No, only tribal casinos can operate legal sportsbooks at first. Cardrooms were able to continue offering “player-banked” table games if they gave up sports betting rights. This could change in the future, but it will take an amendment to the state constitution.

How many in-state professional sports teams will bettors have the ability to wager?

In California, there are nineteen professional sports teams across six different leagues.

When will sports betting be legalized in California?

Sports betting will be legal in 2022 at the earliest if the gambling ballot passes.