California has been discussing legalizing sports betting for the past several years; however, the measure has yet to gain traction.
Any legal sports gambling efforts in CA would need to start at the brick-and-mortar level. Therefore, you probably won’t see regulated online sports betting in the Golden State any time soon.
However, if state legislators legalize online betting apps, it would undoubtedly become popular.
Here, we’ll discuss what you can expect from sports betting apps in California if and when they become available.
What features would California sports betting apps offer?
Nobody can say for sure how a regulated CA mobile betting market will look. However, plenty of examples exist when looking at other states with legal online sports betting.
California’s mobile market would probably be similar to New Jersey and West Virginia.
Here are the likely features that you would see with CA sports betting apps.
1. Bet on Android and Apple devices
Most regulated online sportsbooks serve both Android and iOS users. These operating systems comprise the vast majority of the mobile market.
Some online bookmakers only provide an Android or iOS app. However, all the big names offer their betting services to Android and iOS mobile devices.
Blackberry and Windows Phone OS have been left out of the equation, so far. These operating systems are not as popular.
Every state that offers online sports wagering requires gamblers to be within state borders. California would also adopt this rule to prevent legal conflicts with neighboring states.
States use geolocation technology to ensure that bettors are within state lines. It would bar anybody from making wagers outside of California.
3. View odds before signing up
Most betting apps let you view odds before registering for an account or making a deposit. You could use this feature to see what markets are available and how California betting odds compare to those in other states.
Some mobile sportsbooks might even let you view the odds when you’re outside of the Golden State, but you still won’t be able to register or deposit.
4. Learn through tutorials
Some sports betting apps offer tutorials that explain different types of wagers. For example, you might refer to one of these guides to learn more about parlays and teasers.
These tutorials can also explain how to use a sports gambling app. This information is helpful if you’re new to betting.
5. Wager on various sports
Legal mobile sportsbooks in other states do an excellent job of covering many markets.
Here are some of the sports and leagues available through betting apps:
- Australian rules football
- NCAA basketball
- NCAA football
6. Free bets or deposit bonuses
Regulated betting markets are highly competitive. Many operators offer attractive welcome bonuses to stand out from the competition.
These sites feature some of the largest free bets and deposit bonuses available. Some operators even offer a free wager and deposit bonus to new customers, which is rare in the industry.
A free bet gives you the chance to earn losses back if your first wager is a loser. A deposit bonus is based on a match percentage of your first deposit.
You must satisfy terms and conditions (T&Cs) in both cases to earn anything from a welcome bonus. Regulated markets currently offer some of the friendliest T&Cs available.
Account registration, depositing
You need to register for an account and deposit before using a mobile sportsbook.
If you’re already familiar with these processes, then you’ll face little trouble using California sports betting apps.
However, if you’re relatively new to the betting world, you may want to know more about registration and depositing.
Here are the main points to keep in mind.
App or browser-based?
Many mobile bookmakers require you to download an app to get started. Usually, they feature a large button on their homepage that you press to begin the process.
You should be able to download and install these apps within seconds. Instructions on the download process are available.
Some mobile sportsbooks don’t even offer an app; you do everything, from depositing to betting, through your browser.
Register for an account
Account registration is straightforward at most online sportsbooks. You need to enter the necessary details and submit your account for approval to become a customer.
The information can vary slightly from site to site. However, the following details are typical:
- Date of birth
- Proof of identification (e.g., Social Security number)
Next, you must agree to the sportsbook’s terms and conditions. You also need to verify your account by following a link in an email from the site.
Choose a deposit method
A great thing about legal betting apps is that they offer plenty of banking options. Reputable financial intermediaries are more willing to serve the regulated market.
California will likely be no different if they legalize online sports wagering.
Here are some of the banking options available at legal mobile sportsbooks:
- American Express
- Bank transfer
- Prepaid cards
Earn your bonus
Typically, your first deposit qualifies you for a bonus. As explained earlier, free bets and deposit bonuses are the most common deals.
The method for earning your bonus differs based on the offer. However, free bets and deposit bonuses share plenty of similarities in their terms and conditions.
Here are standard T&Cs that you can expect to see attached to California sports betting bonuses:
- Rollover: You must wager your free-bet losses or deposit bonus a specific number of times (e.g., 8x) before cashing out the bonus.
- Claim timeframe: You have a limited amount of time (e.g., seven days) to claim your offer after depositing.
- Rollover timeframe: You must meet rollover within a specific amount of time (e.g., 90 days).
- Max bet: Wagers can’t exceed a specified amount (e.g., $100) when meeting rollover.
- Minimum odds: You must place your bets at minimum odds (e.g., -150), you can’t exclusively take heavy favorites to meet rollover.
Violating any term can compromise your bonus. You should thoroughly read T&Cs behind any bonus offer if online betting becomes available in California.
Pros and cons of legal California sports betting apps
A legal, online sports gambling market in California would present many benefits over the current unregulated setup. Some of these perks include regulation, bonuses and more state tax dollars.
However, legalizing the activity would also present a few drawbacks. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coins.
Advantages of California sportsbooks
The California Gambling Control Commission and tribal gaming interests would likely oversee online sports betting in California.
These governing bodies would combine to issue licenses and provide protection for gamblers. They would thoroughly vet applicants when issuing licenses as well as ensure that operators adhere to reasonable standards and don’t take advantage of bettors.
As mentioned, regulated mobile betting markets feature some of the best bonuses available. California would certainly follow suit as it would be served by many of the same operators as other states.
Some bonuses at legal online sportsbooks are worth hundreds of dollars. For example, you might receive a free bet between $200-$500.
Similar deals would be available in the Golden State. Given its size and economy, California might feature the best online betting bonuses in the US.
Lots of available markets
Legal online bookmakers cover a wide selection of popular sports both in the US and abroad. As expected, virtually all mobile sportsbooks feature markets like the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL. However, many also cover a range of popular European sports.
Tax dollars going to the state
California doesn’t have house land-based or online sports betting yet. The state is currently missing out on a lot of additional tax revenue that could come from this form of gambling.
Regulated sportsbooks could potentially bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The state would receive a cut based on tax percentages.
We can’t know the exact percentages until the Golden State approves a sports wagering bill. However, the key is that California would finally be cashing in on the industry.
Downsides of CA mobile sportsbooks
Geolocation isn’t perfect
Geolocation has gotten much better in states with regulated gambling. Most of the time, it accurately determines whether bettors are within state lines.
Unfortunately, this technology can mess up on occasion. Geolocation might mistakenly show that you’re outside of the state, rendering you unable to place legitimate bets.
Even if California legalizes online sports gambling, the market won’t immediately take off. As seen in other states, regulated markets take time to develop.
Operators must hire staff members, ensure that they comply with state standards, and fix any glitches in the beginning. Some gamblers may be disappointed with how slowly CA mobile betting develops.
Legal sports betting would finally give California bettors a safe environment to place wagers. Nevertheless, regulated gambling markets always seem to draw social concerns.
A legal betting market would give operators the freedom to advertise throughout the state. This aspect is a major point of contention among anti-gambling groups.
California mobile sportsbooks
Weighing the pros and cons, legal CA sports wagering apps would mostly be advantageous for the state and gamblers.
First off, the state could capitalize on all of the betting action. It currently draws no tax revenue from sports gambling because the activity is illegal.
Gamblers could benefit from access to regulated sportsbooks governed by state laws. These laws would ensure that operators treat bettors fairly.
The only problem is that a legal online betting market in CA is a long way off. Politicians, card rooms, racetracks and tribes can’t agree on land-based sportsbooks, let alone the online betting.
You might need to wait several more years until legal betting apps are available in the state. When regulation finally happens, the wait will have been worth it.