California Sports Betting
California sports betting is not legal at this time, but CA seems to be getting closer to legalization. This year, 2024, may see a ballot intuitive make it to California voters to legalize sports betting in the Golden State.
Two ballot measures are working their way through the process and if they obtain enough signatures they will appear on the 2024 ballot.
The team at PlayCA is keeping a close watch on the situation as the California sports betting saga unfolds. We’ll give you the latest on the status of CA sports betting, its prospects in the future, and any new developments.
Legal sports betting in California
While real-money sports betting is illegal in California, one social sportsbook operating in California offers sports fans a legal way to bet online:
Latest news and updates
Updated: Dec. 1, 2023
Snapshot of California sports betting
Here’s a quick look at some key elements of the California sports betting landscape.
Is sports betting legal in California?
Not yet. Two ballot initiatives were voted down in November of 2022. For now, Californians who want legal sports betting must travel to neighboring states Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon.
When will California sports betting be legalized?
It’s hard to know for sure. At the absolute earliest, California sports betting could go live in 2025 for in-person sports betting, an online launch, or both. For that to happen, initiatives would need to collect signatures and be approved by the public during the 2024 election, and time is starting to run short.
What CA sports betting apps can people expect?
Which online sports betting apps launch in California depends on whichever ballot initiative eventually passes. Reasonably the state could handle a dozen or more platforms if allowed. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, among others, would almost certainly be among the first operators to launch in California if an online sports betting initiative passes.
What is the legal age for sports betting in California?
You likely will need to be 21 years of age or older to participate in sports betting.
What happened with Prop 26 and Prop 27?
Prop 26 and Prop 27 gave California voters a pair of sports betting options on the 2022 Election Day ballot. However, they both failed.
Prop 26 would have legalized sports betting at California tribal casinos and select horse racing venues. Meanwhile, Prop 27 offered an online sports betting option and was backed by industry heavyweights such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Prop 26 was backed by a coalition of California Native American tribes, and it also would have allowed tribal casinos to offer dice and roulette games. However, when operators succeeded in getting Prop 27 on the ballot, tribal efforts were instead concentrated on defeating that measure, rather than passing their own.
More than $458 million was spent on campaigns for and against these initiatives, making it the most expensive ballot initiative contest in United States history. Ultimately, both measures were not just defeated, but crushed.
More than 82% of voters said no to Prop 27. In addition, 67% of the electorate rejected Prop 26. As a result, those wanting legal sports betting in California will need to wait until at least the 2024 election.
What’s next for California sports betting?
At this time, California is still several steps away from launching sports betting. The next time sports betting in California could be legalized by voters is in the 2024 election. As mentioned, though, that seems more and more unlikely the closer we get to that process.
What initiatives may or may not appear on that ballot, if any at all, is anyone’s guess. However, industry analysts generally agree that California tribes have all the leverage. Their efforts played a major role in the outcome of the 2022 election. Finding ways to earn tribal approval must be top of mind for anyone looking to pass sports betting legislation.
In addition, the focus for California is all about convincing voters. Both propositons failed by such wide margins that convincing voters must be at the top of mind in California at this point.
Potential California online sportsbooks
If California legalizes online sports betting, many of the top names in the industry will likely make their way to the state.
Here are some of the top online sportsbooks that could become available:
DraftKings is a well-known name in California due to its daily fantasy sports site, and DraftKings California would be hugely popular. The online sportsbook is a star, thanks to its long list of sports and innovative app design. A top feature on DraftKings is its betting carousel, which offers a custom list of bets based on your previous activity and the preferences you’ve stated, offering a more personal experience.
BetMGM Sportsbook represents the casino giant MGM Resorts International with a long and diverse list of sports on which to bet. Including esoteric options like Gaelic sports. BetMGM California also lets you adjust your open bets in a way that few other sportsbooks match.
Another company that initially made its mark as a DFS provider, the FanDuel Sportsbook app is notable due to its live betting and live streaming options. The biggest factor that sets it apart is its navigation, which makes it easy to find the information you need. The app also made a name for itself early on with Same Game Parlays, which would no doubt lead FanDuel California to a significant share of the state’s market.
Bally Bet Sportsbook
Bally Bet is the sportsbook for Bally’s, a well-known gambling company. It recently partnered with Kambi to overhaul its sports betting product and relaunched in the summer of 2023 after a brief hiatus.
DFS options in California
While real-money sports betting is illegal in California, playing real-money daily fantasy sports is permitted. In fact, DFS can often feel pretty similar to sports betting, especially with certain DFS contests that feel a lot like parlays.
Examples of such apps that are live in California include Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks, both of which have DFS features that feel almost identical to placing parlay bets in traditional sports betting.
Placing bets on California sports teams
California is home to more major professional sports teams than any other state in the country, each with a passionate fanbase. Here are the main options should legal betting of some type become available:
- Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
- Angel City FC (NWSL)
- Golden State Warriors (NBA)
- LA Galaxy (MLS)
- Los Angeles Angels (MLB)
- Los Angeles Chargers (NFL)
- Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
- Los Angeles FC (MLS)
- Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
- Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
- Los Angeles Rams (NFL)
- Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA)
- Oakland Athletics (MLB)
- Sacramento Kings (NBA)
- San Diego Padres (MLB)
- San Diego Wave FC (NWSL)
- San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
- San Francisco Giants (MLB)
- San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
- San Jose Sharks (NHL)
In addition to the plethora of professional teams, California is also home to more Division I colleges and universities than any other state.
California sports betting history
- In 2017, Assemblymember Adam Gray tried and failed to introduce a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in the event that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned.
- In 2018, the US Supreme Court did overturn PASPA, but California was unable to revisit the issue until the following year.
- In 2019, Gray and Sen. Bill Dodd each proposed bills in their respective state chambers to include a ballot question about legalizing sports betting. Tribes introduced a different initiative designed to limit legal sports betting to tribal casinos and racetracks. That plan was thwarted, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the tribes from being able to gather the necessary signatures to secure a place on the 2020 ballot.
- Meanwhile, Gray and Dodd pursued their bills, adding details authorizing tribal casinos and racetracks to offer both retail and online sports betting while also offering some legal support for California cardrooms. The tribes objected to that latter idea and refused to support the bills.
- By June 2020, Dodd and Gray withdrew their legislation, as it was clear it would not advance in time to meet the deadline to make that year’s November ballot.
- That led to the 2022 election. As mentioned, a pair of initiatives were soundly defeated at the ballot box.
- The earliest another sports betting initiative could be up for a vote is 2024.