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California sportsbooks

Step into the electrifying universe of California sportsbooks! This guide lights your path through upcoming online launches, legalities, and how-tos of engaging with CA bookies. Whether you're eyeing popular leagues or exploring bet types and promos, we've got your playbook for scoring big in California's betting scene.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry
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Though online sports betting is still prohibited in California, momentum is gaining to legalize gambling in all forms throughout the state even after voters shot down ballot propositions in 2022.

With the issue expected to be revisited in 2024, we’ve compiled a list of what online sportsbooks could arrive in California, as well as what characteristics players in the state can expect if/when sports betting is legalized.

Best California sportsbooks

Once sports betting becomes legal in the state, we expect the following to be the best California sportsbooks.

🏀 DraftKings Sportsbook California ⭐ Best California sportsbook overall
🏀 FanDuel Sportsbook California ⭐ Huge welcome promos
🏀 Caesars Sportsbook California ⭐ Live streaming of NFL
🏀 Fanatics Sportsbook California ⭐ Regularly boosted odds
🏀 ESPN Bet Sportsbook California ⭐ Best for NFL betting
🏀 BetMGM Sportsbook California ⭐ Great rewards program

DraftKings California

DraftKings Sportsbook California

DraftKings Sportsbook evolved into one of the premier online operators after dominating the daily fantasy sports (DFS) space.

The DFS platform is legal in most states even where sports betting isn’t legal, including California. This gives DraftKings excellent brand recognition and favorability as states launch sports gambling.

FanDuel California

FanDuel Sportsbook California

Like DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook has its roots in DFS contests. However, it was FanDuel’s massive array of same-game parlay (SGP) offerings that caused an explosion in popularity.

With many generous bonuses and an extremely easy-to-use platform, FanDuel is an excellent option for beginning and experienced bettors alike.

Caesars California

Caesars Sportsbook California

Caesars Sportsbook regularly raises the bar for welcome bonus offerings, with some promos valued at up to a $1,500 second chance bet.

The company also provides live streams of NFL action available online and through the Caesars betting app, as well as early cashout, allowing you to settle your bets before a game goes final.

Fanatics California

Fanatics Sportsbook California

After completing the purchase of PointsBet’s U.S. sports betting operations in the summer of 2023, Fanatics Sportsbook began a slow rollout throughout the country beginning in late August of that year.

Expanding from being a sports merchandise and memorabilia company, Fanatics has both the commitment and financial backing to be successful in the space, even if they don’t have the same experience as the other operators on this list.

ESPN Bet California

ESPN Bet Sportsbook California

ESPN Bet is the new title for PENN Entertainment’s online sportsbook platform, replacing the Barstool Sportsbook branding.

By partnering with the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” PENN can offer a unique betting experience with content created by ESPN’s on-air personalities.

BetMGM California

BetMGM Sportsbook California

BetMGM offers one of the top loyalty programs in the industry with its online sportsbook, allowing users to earn points for every wager placed to advance through rewards tiers.

Perks at the lower levels can include bonus bets and expedited customer service, with higher-tier rewards including discounted hotel and casino stays, complimentary food and beverage services, entertainment discounts, and more.

No, online sportsbooks are not legal in CA. Under the law, online and in-person sports betting in California is prohibited, and it’s unclear when the laws may change.

In 2022, California voters overwhelmingly struck down two propositions that would have legalized sports betting. Proposition 26, which would have allowed in-person sports betting at the state’s Native American casinos and racetracks, saw 67% of voters against the bill, while Proposition 27, which would’ve allowed online and mobile sports betting, saw more than 80% of voters against the bill.

While ballot initiatives in 2024 will almost certainly face an uphill battle, there is still hope that bills with different verbiage can still accomplish the same goal. Critics of Propositions 26 and 27 claimed those bills created an unfair and monopolistic market that would’ve done more harm than good for Californian bettors.

How can I sign up for online bookies in CA?

Once sports betting is fully legal in the state, the signup process for online bookies in CA will be mostly the same, even for different bookmakers. The steps you’ll need to take to get started will look something like this.

  1. Look for a bonus code: Bonus codes are words, phrases, or alphanumeric combinations that can sometimes be used to unlock generous welcome bonuses when creating your account. While some online sportsbooks won’t use promo codes at all, those that do will make them widely available for California players. We will list all available codes once the state launches sports betting on the review pages for the betting operator.
  2. Navigate to the signup page: As with the promo codes, we will list all legal, licensed California sports betting sites on our pages, along with links to their signup forms at the top of their reviews.
  3. Enter your account info: Next, you’ll need to decide which email address you’d like to link to your account and create a password you’d like to use. You may also need to include a phone number at this step to enable two-factor authentication when logging in.
  4. Type in your identifying information: After that, you’ll need to input your name, address, and birthday exactly as they appear on your driver’s license or other government-issued identification. You’ll also need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number.
    Complete the registration and make a deposit: Finally, you’ll need to check a box to agree to the terms of service and to verify you are eligible to bet in California (especially to confirm you aren’t prohibited because of your profession). After that, you can fully register your account, make a real money deposit, and begin placing your wagers.

California is home to 19 major men’s professional sports teams and three major women’s programs, all of which you’ll be able to bet on once the state legalizes sports betting. Here are some of the leagues we expect will be the most popular to wager on in California.

  • NFL: The NFL is the top dog of U.S. sports betting, accounting for billions of dollars in betting revenue annually. According to CRG Global, 81% of sports bettors in the U.S. placed a wager on the NFL in October 2022. Once sports betting arrives in California, the 49ers, Chargers, and Rams will drive CA’s NFL markets.
  • NBA: Despite trailing the NFL by a rather wide margin, the NBA is rather decidedly the next closest competitor. With one of the league’s most iconic franchises in the Los Angeles Lakers, a recent dynasty in the Golden State Warriors, and the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings looking to return to title contention, the NBA could narrow the gap on the NFL in the Sunshine State.
  • MLB: With five MLB teams, California accounts for nearly 20% of the league’s teams. Though there has been talk of the Oakland Athletics leaving for Las Vegas in the next few years, the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, and Padres are staying in CA for the long haul.
  • MLS: Soccer betting trails the others on this list, but wagers on both European and domestic matches continue to see growth year over year. California has more MLS teams (LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, and LAFC) than any other state.

Different bet types on online sportsbooks in CA

Online sportsbooks in CA will carry many of the same bet types, though the volume of each type’s availability may differ from site to site. Bookmakers also aren’t required to offer specific sports or leagues, but this can work to the bettor’s advantage by allowing them to shop around for the best odds on a given market or bet type. Here are some of the more common options you’ll find.

  • Prop bets: Prop bets are a fun type of wager that isn’t necessarily tied to the final score. For example, sportsbooks may list a prop bet for the Lakers’ point guard to finish the game with more or less than 15.5 points. Because this market isn’t dependent on whether the Lakers win or lose, it would be considered a prop bet.
  • Totals bets: Also called “over/under bets,” totals bets are predictions on the combined point total of the two teams at the end of the game. Sportsbooks will calculate a projected total and bettors then decide whether the actual total will be over or under the bookmaker’s line.
  • Moneyline bets: Moneyline bets are a type of straight wager that simply involves picking the winner of a sporting event. Factors like the margin of victory, regulation/OT, or combined point total don’t play into the bet.
  • Parlays: Parlays are combination bets that take multiple outcomes, called “legs,” and combine them into a single wager. The odds from each leg are multiplied, so the payout can be massive even with a smaller stake. However, if even one leg of the parlay fails, the entire bet is a loss. Traditionally, parlay wagers combined results from different games, but recently, same game parlays (SGPs), where all legs come from the same matchup, have become extremely popular and are a go-to option for many sports bettors.

Types of bonuses offered on sportsbooks in California

Welcome bonuses will be a key way for sportsbooks to drive new registrations and reward loyal players. Here are some of the most common California sportsbook promos.

  • Bonus bets: Bonus bets are a form of betting credit that is set at a predetermined increment, usually $10, $25, or $100, though it could be any amount decided by the sportsbook. They can be played as their own stake or to supplement a real-money wager to enhance profits without the same hit to your bankroll.
  • Deposit matches: When loading money into your sportsbook account, a deposit match bonus would award bonus bets or bet credits into your account in equal measure to the value of your deposit. This can sometimes be capped if you’re placing a sizeable deposit, but most of the time, it is a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Odds boosts: Sportsbooks will often post select wagers with boosted odds. Sometimes these are strictly moneyline wagers while others can be boosted parlays or prop bets.
  • Second chance bets: Second chance bets are most often available as part of a welcome bonus offer. They award bet credit in the amount of your eligible wager if that bet settles as a loss.

Will you be able to bet on college sports in CA?

It is unclear whether you will be able to bet on college sports in CA. Until California passes sports betting legislation, we can’t say anything for certain, but with the abundance of sports teams in the state, bettors should have plenty of markets and local teams to bet on regardless of whether college sports betting is permitted.

Tips when wagering on online sportsbook sites in CA

When California legalizes sports betting, there are a few tricks that can help you make the most of your betting experience. Here are some tips for wagering on online sportsbook sites in CA.

  • Set limits: Setting limits on both the amount of time and the amount of money you spend betting at a sportsbook is an excellent way to reinforce responsible gambling habits. It can be easy to chase losses or to lose track of time and money if you’re placing bets without a plan. Sportsbooks will allow you to self-impose limits to how much time you can spend on the site and the maximum amount you can wager per bet, per day, and per week.
  • Keep your emotions in check: Whether you are up or down, betting with your emotions is inadvisable. When you’re in a great mood, it can lead to betting more than you can afford or placing a wager without thinking it through; conversely, wagering while angry or upset can lead to trying to win back losses all at once. Both of those outcomes tend to result in losing your money.
  • Do your research: Studying matchups, trends, tendencies, injury reports, weather reports, and line movements are all good ideas. The more information you have at your disposal, the more likely you are to place a winning wager.
  • Shop the lines: When sportsbooks are fully legalized, there won’t be a rule that says you can only play on one site. The smart strategy is to sign up with multiple sportsbook sites so you can browse them all and find who has the best odds for a given spot. That way, you can make more money on your winning wagers. Even small differences add up over time!

Payment methods that will be available at sportsbooks in California

Sportsbooks in California will carry their own unique lists of payment methods that are available on their sites. As a general rule of thumb, the more options on a site, the better. It should always be easy and convenient to both make a deposit and access your winnings.

Here are some of the most common types we expect to be available.

Deposit

  • Credit/debit cards: Credit and debit cards are one of the most consistently accepted payment methods at online sportsbooks because of how easy and convenient they are to use. In some cases, you may also be able to withdraw winnings directly to your card. Any site that accepts cards will take a Visa or Mastercard, but if you’re on American Express or Discover, those may not be accepted. Check our sportsbook reviews so you can know for certain before you try to deposit.
  • Online banking: You can also link your bank account to your sportsbook account in many cases. Your financial information will be protected and secure at all times, as proof of cybersecurity standards would be required for gambling operators to obtain a license in California.
  • E-wallets: Apps like Venmo, Google Pay, Skrill, and Apple Pay are each becoming more accepted at gambling sites, though their relative newness has some sportsbooks a bit more hesitant in making them available. By the time California legalizes sports betting, these should all be more prevalent.

Withdrawal

  • PayPal: Like with the e-wallets above, PayPal can be an effective way to move your money around digitally, especially when accessing your winnings. While there aren’t fees involved with PayPal deposits or withdrawals, there could be costs involved with moving them into your bank account.
  • Check/E-check: When submitting your withdrawal request, you can often ask a sportsbook to send you a check in the mail through USPS, or send an e-check to your bank. Both tend to take a bit longer than some of the other methods here, but if you’re willing to be patient, both are very secure withdrawal options.
  • Play+ Cards: Many sportsbooks accept Play+ because it functions very similarly to a gift card. You can only offload funds at locations you choose when setting up your Play+ account, and you can access your winnings at an ATM. You’re also protected in case anything happens to the physical card because the money will be tied to Play+.

Criteria we will use to rank online bookies in CA

Leading up to the launch of sports betting in the state, we will list reviews on this site of prospective and confirmed online bookies planning to launch in CA. We will also assign an overall score to each operator based on the scores they receive for the following criteria.

  • Welcome bonus: The welcome bonus score will be based on the overall value of the offer, including the maximum earning potential, qualification parameters, and offer consistency.
  • Payment options: Having a wide range of options is a sign of a customer-focused approach to sports betting.
  • Sportsbook app: According to the Associated Press, more than 80% of sports wagers are placed with online bookies, the majority of which come via betting apps (roughly 60%). App navigability, customizability, and reliability will all impact the score, as will the sportsbook’s rating in available app stores.
  • Variety and features: In judging variety and features, we’ll assess the number of promotions available for returning players, the implementation of loyalty programs, how many sports and betting markets are available, and any other key elements of the sportsbook.
  • Customer service: Arguably the most important feature of a sportsbook is how it treats its customers. Having multiple support channels that are available 24/7 is key to a high score in this category.

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

Based on the approach to sports betting legislation in other states, it seems unlikely that CA would legalize exclusive in-person or online betting. However, the recent attempts did include a measure that would have confined the activity to brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

Both options have unique advantages and drawbacks that should be considered before placing a wager. Here are some of the pros and cons of online betting in CA vs. in-person betting.

Pros

  • Online bets can be placed anywhere: When betting online, you can make your wagers from a mobile device anywhere in the state, as long as you have a steady internet connection. In person, you can only place your bet at the sportsbook counter or retail kiosk. The convenience factor should certainly be considered.
  • Online betting comes with bonuses: Whether you’re on the website or mobile app, you’ll often see promotions as soon as you open the sportsbook. These can be daily odds boosts, sport-specific offers, or any of the bonuses listed above. You won’t find these same special offerings when you place a bet in person.
  • Online betting is customizable: On both betting sites and mobile apps, you can set your favorite players, teams, leagues, and sports to quickly place the wagers you want; you can also change the display to something that is easy on the eyes.

Cons

  • Online bets zap your device’s battery: If you’re on the go, the mobile app and geolocation service can cause your device’s battery to run down more quickly.
  • Geolocation technology isn’t perfect: In some cases, if the app is buggy or if your phone needs a software update, the sportsbook won’t be able to verify your location and will block you from placing bets.
  • Online betting lacks the atmosphere: Many in-person betting locations come with bars, restaurants, and large-screen TVs so you can watch your bets unfold in real-time. Sweating out your bets with other gamblers at the casino is a unique and fun experience all bettors should try at least once.

FAQ

When will California sportsbooks go live?

California does not yet have a set date when sportsbooks will go live. This is because sports betting is still prohibited under state law. The soonest voters could approve online gambling legislation is on the 2024 ballot.

Which sportsbooks will probably come to CA?

Once sports betting is legalized, it’s very probable that top operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, and ESPN Bet will come to CA. However, local, California-only operators could also get a chance to launch in the state.

Are desktop bookies in California safe to use?

After California legalizes sports betting, desktop bookies in the state will be safe to use. Online bookmakers will be required to comply with cybersecurity and fair play standards as part of holding an operator’s license, so you can trust your information will be protected at all times at these CA sportsbooks.

Why will bookmakers in CA offer promos?

Bookmakers in CA will offer promos because bonus offers are an excellent way to encourage new players to sign up and to reward returning customers for their loyalty to the sportsbook.

Why are sportsbooks in California not live yet?

Sportsbooks in California are not live yet because the state has not legalized sports betting. Once a sports gambling bill is approved by CA voters, it will take a few months for operators to obtain a license and prepare for launch in California. The soonest a bill would be approved is during the 2024 election season.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry