The world of online gambling is expanding rapidly, and North America is no exception. While the continent has traditionally been known for its strict anti-gambling laws, recent years have seen a shift in attitudes towards the practice. Nowhere is this more apparent than in California, the country’s most populous state.
California’s Limited Online Gambling Options
Despite its large number of Native American tribal casinos and poker rooms, online gambling options in California are limited. There is no legal real-money online casino gambling, online poker or sports betting. However, state lawmakers have introduced bills to legalise and regulate different forms of online gambling in recent years, with mixed results.
The Growing Popularity of Social Casinos in California
For now, Californians looking to play their favorite slots or table games can only do so for amusement or prizes at a growing number of social casinos. While these sites offer a great deal of entertainment, they cannot be played for real money. Additionally, playing online for real money at an offshore casino or sportsbook, which is not licensed and unregulated, is not recommended.
Daily Fantasy Sports
However, major daily fantasy sports operators accept players from California, operating in a grey area of the law. Some state authorities consider DFS legal games of skill, while others view them as illegal sports gambling.
Brighter Future for Online Sports Betting in California
While the outlook for online casino legislation in California is not promising, the future for online sports betting is brighter. The 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to legalese sports betting has made it more mainstream and California lawmakers are aware of the potential loss of sports wagering tax revenue to neighboring states.
The Difficulty in Reaching Consensus for Online Gambling Legislation in California
The state’s tribal casinos, poker room operators and state lawmakers all have very different priorities and agendas, making consensus difficult. Any bill would require the approval of two-thirds of the State Legislature and must be approved in a referendum by voters. And recent history isn’t promising – state gambling legislation tends to languish.
The Potential for California to Become an Online Gambling Powerhouse
That said, California has the potential to be an online gambling powerhouse, and therefore it is no surprise to see larger online casino sites and other established global brands, eager to obtain the appropriate licenses to operate in specific states. The state’s 65 Indian casinos and 86 active cardrooms make it an attractive market for operators, and there is no doubt that there is an enormous appetite for online gambling among Californians.
In conclusion, while the current position on legal gambling in California is far from ideal, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. The state’s lawmakers and the gambling industry will need to work together to create a regulatory framework that protects players while also generating revenue for the state. Until then, Californians will have to make do with social casinos and fantasy sports, which is far from ideal. We hope that in the near future, the online casino industry will thrive in the United States and California.