Status of California sports betting

🏈 Is sports betting legal in California? No
📆 Anticipated launch? Possibly 2025
📱Expected CA sportsbooks DraftKings, Caesars, ESPN Bet, BetMGM
✅ Last updated April 2024

Another year is complete, marking another trip around the sun with little to no progress in the realm of legal California sports betting.

Following Prop 26 and Prop 27 (33% and 17.7% voted “Yes,” respectively) failing to come remotely close to passing in California in November 2022, 2023 was another quiet year for the state.

The good news is that California sports betting will inevitably go live at some point - it’s just a matter of time. Let’s take a look at what to expect when that happens, what sports betting sites could launch, what promos to expect, and more.

Best California sports betting sites

With the overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, regulated sports betting companies flooded the United States market.

Below are a few of the best California betting sites you can expect to see when sports betting goes live.

🏈 DraftKings California ⭐ Best CA betting site overall
🏈 FanDuel California ⭐ Most popular betting site in the US
🏈 Caesars California ⭐ Large welcome offers & ongoing promos
🏈 Fanatics California ⭐ User-friendly site & good odds
🏈 ESPN Bet California ⭐ Flexible parlay options
🏈 BetMGM California ⭐ Great loyalty program

DraftKings California

DraftKings California

Launching in 2012 as a daily fantasy sports platform, DraftKings went live in 2018 in New Jersey and has since expanded to nearly every state where sports betting is legalized.

When legal California sports betting becomes a reality, we expect DraftKings to be the best CA betting site.

FanDuel California

FanDuel California

FanDuel took the same path as DraftKings with a dominant DFS presence that put them in a perfect position to capitalize on the legalization of sports betting.

Known for the same-game-parlay offerings, FanDuel has partnerships with a host of athletes and celebrities, including Jordan Spieth, Charles Barkley, and Bill Simmons.

Caesars California

Caesars California

Originally known as Harrah’s, the company rebranded in 2010 and has seen explosive growth in the sports betting industry since.

Their 2021 acquisition of the sports betting giant William Hill has turned into the current online Caesars Sportsbook.

Fanatics California

Fanatics California

Originally an e-commerce company founded in 2002, Fanatics has expanded its offerings to everything from trading cards, NFTs, iGaming, and now sports betting.

The deal came via their June 2023 acquisition of PointsBet after they won a bidding war with DraftKings, and it solidified their spot in the sports betting business.

ESPN Bet California

ESPN Bet California

After a host of partnerships with existing sportsbooks, ESPN made their way into the space last year, inking a lucrative partnership with PENN Entertainment.

Dropping their partnership with Barstool Sports in the process, ESPN will become a major player in the sports betting space in the coming months, and ESPN Bet California will surely be waiting when sports betting legalization reaches the Golden State.

BetMGM California

BetMGM California

A major player in the brick-and-mortar casino industry since the late 80s, BetMGM Sportsbook was ready to go when online sports betting became legal in the United States beyond Nevada in 2018.

Outside of the Silver State, BetMGM also has physical retail locations in New Jersey, D.C., Arizona, Michigan, and Maryland.

No, online sports betting is not legal in California, as sports betting legislation has not yet been put in place.

Despite their enormous population, which leans liberal on many issues, the voting population has yet to show much interest in sports betting legalization.

Are there any active bills to legalize sports betting in California?

No, there are currently no active bills to legalize sports betting in the Golden State. The most recent bills, Prop 26 and 27, failed to pass in November 2022, with neither coming close to passing the 50% threshold.

Prop 26 was proposed to legalize retail sports betting operations at tribal casinos and the state’s race tracks, with no online sports betting involved. Prop 27 was proposed for private operators, such as BetMGM or Caesars, to partner with the tribal casinos to offer online sports betting.

While there is nothing on the table, November 2024 would be the next opportunity for Californians to vote to legalize sports betting.

How will you be able to sign up for an online betting site in CA?

When California sports betting does go live, bettors will want to be sure they know how to sign up for online betting. Using FanDuel Sportsbook, as an example, let’s look at the few steps you will need to take to get involved immediately.

  1. Navigate to the sports betting site from your web browser.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, click on the green button that says “Join Now.”
  3. Enter the requested basic information that will include items such as first name, last name, birthday, and the last four of your Social Security number.
  4. Once your account is verified, pick the payment method of your choice and deposit your funds. You will also be given the opportunity to select a promo offer.
  5. With money now in your account, navigate to the bet you want to make, enter it, set an amount, and enjoy the betting action.

Are there any retail betting venues in California?

No, there are currently no retail betting venues in California to bet on sports. Prop 26, which failed to pass in the November 2022 California election cycle, would have allowed retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos and select race tracks in the state.

Unfortunately for California sports betting enthusiasts, it received just 32% “Yes” votes.

When California sports betting does eventually go live, all of the state’s teams will be featured for residents to bet on. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular.

  • Los Angeles Lakers: With 17 NBA Championships, the Lakers are the most successful professional franchise in the state.
  • Golden State Warriors: The Lakers might have more history, but the Warriors have had more attention in recent years, with NBA superstar Steph Curry among the most popular players in the world.
  • Los Angeles Rams: Winning the Super Bowl in 2022, Rams fans didn’t have to wait long for the franchise to return to success since coming back to L.A.
  • San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have five Super Bowl titles to their credit, and largely dominated the late eighties.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are king when it comes to baseball in California, and California sports betting enthusiasts will be lining up to bet on them every night when the time comes.
  • USC Trojans: The state’s most well-known college brand, the USC program has found success across its athletic department in everything from football to women’s beach volleyball.

Can you play Daily Fantasy Sports in California?

Yes, you are allowed to play Daily Fantasy Sports in California, with DFS being legal in the state.

In terms of the leaders in the space, the DraftKings California and FanDuel CA DFS platforms stand alone at the top of the heap.

What bet types will probably be available on betting sites in CA?

With the eventual launch of California sports betting, bettors in the state will want to make sure they know the key bet types that will be available to them. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Moneyline: The most common type of bet, the moneyline is simply a bet on who will win a game or matchup. The favorite (who is expected to win) will be found with a negative (-) next to their side, while underdogs can be found with a positive (+) next to theirs.
  • Point spread: A point spread is the number of points a sports betting site thinks a certain team or side will win (or lose) by. As an example, if the Pittsburgh Steelers are -2.5 vs. the Cleveland Browns, they would have to win by at least three points for Steelers backers to win their bet.
  • Over/under: Also commonly referred to as a “total,” the over/under is a bet on the total number of points scored in a game. You are betting on whether the combined score will be over or under a set number of points.
  • Parlay: In a parlay, you must accurately predict two or more bets. The more bets, also known as “legs,” involved, the higher the payout if you are correct on all of them.
  • Teaser: Most commonly found in football, a teaser is when you get added points in your favor on the point spread. However, you have to combine two or more bets on your teaser. As an example, if the USC Trojans are favored by -24 vs. the Arizona State Sun Devils, you can “tease” them down to -18, as long as you find another side to also tease down (or up) six points.

What kinds of promos will come to betting sites in California?

With the eventual launch of California sports betting pending, there are certain California sportsbook promos all bettors will want to be aware of on day one. Here are a few:

  • Sign-up bonus: As the name implies, a betting sign-up bonus is offered by a sportsbook upon registering your account and making a deposit.
  • Deposit match bonus: When you sign up at a California sports betting site and go to make your first deposit, a deposit match bonus will come in the form of a match based on the amount you put on the site.
  • Boosted odds: Increasingly offered by betting sites on a weekly basis, boosted odds give you, as a bettor, better odds than posted on select marquee games. There are often small bet limits on these, however, usually topping out at anywhere between $25-$50.

Tips when wagering on online sports betting sites in CA when they go live

No one wants to be a loser when California sports betting does go live, and since you will be new to the activity, you might be wondering where to start. Here are a few tips to gain an edge when it comes to online sports betting in CA on day one.

  • Multiple accounts: When California sports betting does go live, all of the big players in the space, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, will be quick to go live. Have as many accounts as you can to find the best number available for every bet.
  • Bet early: When betting on any sport, but especially football and basketball, be ready to make your bet when the spread and moneyline are posted. The longer you wait, the more the market moves the number, often against the more probable side.
  • Follow niche markets: Major sports leagues such as the NFL or MLB are followed closely by oddsmakers because of the high volume of money (risk) they have on the line. Smaller sports and leagues, such as table tennis or the Serbian SuperLiga (soccer), often have softer lines because they have fewer eyeballs on them. Become an expert in an under-the-radar market.

Payment methods that will be available at sportsbooks in California

Let’s take a look at a few of the payment methods expected to be available at California sportsbooks when they hit the market.

Deposit

  • Credit/debit cards: Most California betting sites will accept Mastercard and Visa, and this is one of the easiest ways to get money into your account.
  • Venmo: The popular payment processing site has come to American sportsbooks and is a favorite among young bettors
  • Bank transfer: Similar to Venmo, fees are rarely involved in bank transfers on either side, making this a method California sports betting sites will surely have on day one.

Withdrawal

  • PayPal: Similar to Venmo, PayPal is a payment processing site used for everything from personal payments to business transactions.
  • Check: There can be a fee if you want to be issued a paper check, but CA sports betting sites will offer this option.
  • Cash: They will create a barcode for you to redeem for cash at select retailers such as Dollar General or CVS.

Criteria we will use to rank sports betting sites in CA

Operators will flock to the California sports betting licensing race when legal sports betting becomes available in the state.

We’ll be quick to rank each and every one of them as soon they go live. Here are the criteria we will use to rank the best sports betting sites in CA.

  • Promotional offers: Often unique by state, we’ll first be taking a look at how good the offers for California sports bettors are.
  • User interface: We will analyze ease of use and intuitive navigation, as well as how fast the sites load both on desktop and mobile.
  • Payment methods: The variety and types of deposit and withdrawal methods offered is another factor we will consider.
  • Customer support: You should definitely be aware of the number of options available and how responsive the customer service team is.

Pros and cons of online betting in CA vs. in-person betting

One of the sticking points of sports betting in California was whether to make it online or in-person, or both. While neither passed in 2022, let’s look at the pros and cons of both.

Pros & cons of online sports betting

Pros

  • Many payment methods available to make your bets and receive your winnings
  • Ability to shop for the best number across betting sites
  • California sports betting apps will be available to bet on sports on the go

Cons

  • You can’t ask a sports betting site associate questions in real-time
  • Have to wait for your payment methods to process

Pros & cons of in-person sports betting:

Pros

  • The fun of watching your bet with fellow gamblers
  • Ability to ask questions face-to-face to a sports betting associate
  • Receive cash in your hand instantly when you win

Cons

  • Can only use cash to make your bets
  • Restricted to the odds posted by the retail sportsbook you are at

Should you bet at offshore betting sites in California?

No, you should not bet at offshore betting sites in California for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because they are not registered companies in the United States. As a result, any disputes you have with them financially are handled in the local jurisdiction of the site’s servers (often in Central America or Europe).

Because they are offshore and not registered in the U.S., you will have to use untraditional payment methods such as cryptocurrency to transact on the site, getting money both on and off of it.


FAQ

When will California sports betting be legalized?

There is currently no timetable for California sports betting to be legalized. The most recent attempts failed in November 2022, and the next possible vote would be in 2024.

Why is sports betting not legal in CA?

Sports betting is not legal in CA due to California residents voting against it in their elections. California tribes and select lobbying groups oppose the legalization and have so far been successful.

Will it be safe to bet at sports betting sites in California?

Yes, when California sports betting eventually does go live, it will be safe to use all the regulated sports betting sites available.

Why will gambling sites in CA offer bonuses?

Gambling sites in CA will offer bonuses to entice you to bet with them and not their competitors.

Can you bet on horse racing in California?

Yes, you can bet on horse racing in California. California has a rich history of horse race betting, with some of the most famous race tracks in the world, such as Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and San Anita Park.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry