Gambling laws in the U.S. vary significantly by state, and regular changes can take place with different bills being voted on. California currently has 5 major gambling forms;
- Tribal gaming
- Horse racing
- Charitable organizations
While online gambling and sports betting in the state are still prohibited at present, there are those lobbying for reform that could stimulate revenue even further.
Tribal gaming in California is made possible through Proposition 1A of 2000. The amendment to the State Constitution allows recognized tribes to run lottery games, slot machines, and percentage and banking card games. Casinos can be opened where an agreement is made between the tribe and governor and the compact is approved by the legislature and federal government.
There are currently 69 casinos operating across 27 counties in California bringing in around $8bn in revenue.
The minimum age of gambling at Casinos in California is set at 21 for those with an alcohol license and 18 for those without.
California State Lottery
The California State Lottery was approved in 1984 after a voter referendum with Californians able to take part in multi-state Mega Millions and Powerball Games. There are also draw games and scratch cards available in the Lottery which is run by the Lottery Commission.
Californians must be aged 18 years or above to take part in any Lottery games.
Betting on horse racing has been legal in California since 1933 and the California Horse Racing Board regulates activities. Satellite betting is available in 27 locations around the state and was legalized in 1985.
The main five horse racing tracks in California are Santa Anita, Cal Expo, Los Alamitos, Del Mar, and Golden Gate Fields. However, Golden Gate Fields is due to close in December of 2023.
There is a minimum age of 18 for betting on horse racing in the state of California.
Californian card rooms offer card games where players play against one another rather than the house. Poker has always been legal to play in California but additional regulations were implemented in 1984. The creation of the California Gambling Control Commission took place in 1997 to regulate the Gambling Control Act.
Players must be at least 21 years of age to play poker in California.
Gambling by Charitable Organizations
A constitutional amendment passed in 1976 allowed the legalization of charitable bingo. This allows nonprofit organizations to operate fundraising raffles, bingo games, and one poker night per year.
A minimum age of 21 is required for those with an alcohol license and 18 for those without.
Sports betting is not legal in California at present. Two propositions to legalize the market failed in November of 2022. This means that the earliest it could be implemented would be 2024 if an agreement was reached during 2023.
Online gambling in California is not legal at present. However, social casinos operate in a way that rewards players with tokens that can be redeemed for money or gift cards.
Offshore online gambling also offers California gamblers a safe way to enjoy betting on sportsbooks without the threat of prosecution. (Source: https://thesportsdaily.com/california/online-gambling/)
Final Thoughts on California Gambling Laws
The gambling industry in California is already extremely lucrative. Many see opportunities in online and sports betting as a way to increase revenues even further.
The sports betting industry in the U.S. was valued at 7.56bn in 2022, With more states legalizing sports betting this is set to grow.
Despite voting against its legalization in 2022, there will be fresh moves to push through bills to offer wider betting markets across California in the future.