The Golden State is home to the most sports franchises of any other US territory. Fifteen teams compete in the ‘Big Four’ sports: five MLB teams, three NFL teams, four NBA teams, and three NHL teams.
At this time, sports betting isn’t legal in California (more on this below). However, punters shouldn’t despair. Lawmakers are busy drafting a bill that will legalize and regulate online and in-person sports betting in California.
The US Supreme Court repealed a federal ban on sports betting in 2018. Since then, California has struggled to draft a bill that would allow sportsbooks to run in the state. There are multiple factors at work contributing to the delay in legalization, including tribal casinos, card rooms, and racetracks.
California is a massive state with culturally diverse areas, which makes drafting laws difficult regardless of the issue. However, lawmakers and residents alike will continue pushing for the legalization of retail and online sports betting in California.
Sports betting in California is not legal. However, residents can wager on horseraces at certain tracks where designated sportsbooks are allowed to run. Additionally, DFS services from groups like FanDuel and DraftKings are also permitted. There are no laws either prohibiting or sanctioning DFS in terms of California sports betting.
There is no officially licensed sportsbook active in the state.
Despite the bumpy road to legalization, lawmakers in Sacramento are busy drafting a petition to allow sportsbooks to join tribal casinos. In states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, sportsbooks are required to partner with casino-resorts, as this makes regulating the gaming and betting markets easier for state governments.
Should the petition garner enough signatures, sportsbooks could go live with casino partners in California as early as late 2021 or early 2022. However, this would be provisional. California must also pass a bill that amends the State Constitution to allow sports betting, which is likely to happen before 2023.
With its massive major league count, the California sports betting market will likely see established brands enter the market as soon as possible. Brands like BetMGM, Bet365, Unibet, William Hill, FanDuel, DraftKings, and FOX Bet are popular for their range of wagers, as well as their competitive free bet offers.
FanDuel is one of the most popular sportsbooks active in the US right now. The company has a seamless mobile interface that makes it popular for newcomers, as well as a diverse odds market. As one of the first DFS providers, FanDuel has a large following for sports betting in California already.
Similar to FanDuel, DraftKings is known for its DFS offerings as well as its sportsbook. The DraftKings platform allows users to move from their DFS to betting accounts easily. Additionally, they have some of the most competitive bonus offers in the betting market, which makes them popular for newcomers.
As mentioned above, California’s developed sports industry will make it a priority for top sportsbooks. These oddsmakers are already known for their leading welcome bonuses and promotional offers. At the moment, New Jersey has one of the most economical markets, but California sports betting would see similar deals.
FanDuel and DraftKings have two of the industry’s best welcome offers:
FanDuel: $1,000 risk-free bet
DraftKings: $1,000 bet match
Companies like BetMGM, Bet365, Unibet, William Hill, FanDuel, DraftKings, and FOX Bet offer some of the most seamless mobile apps for punters. Given many bettors prefer to wager online and via mobile device, each sportsbook has an app ready for download.
FanDuel and DraftKings both have easy-to-use interfaces. The FanDuel app allows users to bet on live markets and same-game parlays. Its interface has made FanDuel one of the most popular sportsbook apps in the industry.
DraftKings allows users to switch from DFS to sports markets, and regularly provides odds boosts that punters look for. In terms of online sports betting in California, both brands offer the most cutting-edge DFS services that will transition users easily when sportsbooks open.
As mentioned above, California has the highest density of major league sports teams in any state, which means punters will likely need some help making picks. Here are some of the sports and franchises that residents will be able to bet on:
• NFL: San Francisco 49ers, LA Rams, & LA Chargers
• MLB: San Diego Padres, LA Dodgers, LA Angels, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants
• NBA & WNBA: LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings & LA Sparks
• NHL: Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, San Jose Sharks
• MLS: LA Galaxy, LAFC, & San Jose Earthquakes
• ATP & WTA
• NCAA Sports (subject to further regulation)
At this time, it’s undetermined how college (NCAA) sports will be handled in terms of sports betting. In certain states, such as New Jersey and New York, betting on in-state NCAA teams is prohibited.
You can bet on horseraces at designated tracks and dive into DFS services (discussed more below). Some of the most popular horserace tracks with live retail sportsbooks are:
• Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA
• Del Mar Racetrack, Del Mar, CA
• Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley, CA
• Los Alamitos Race Course, Cypress, CA
DFS is legal, as it isn’t considered sports betting in California. FanDuel and DraftKings have the most popular DFS services because of their leading platforms and competitive deals. Both offer free-to-enter contests, which include real-money winnings.
FanDuel hosts contests for beginners, which helps newcomers learn the ropes. Users can easily draft players and build teams—but they also have a ‘fantasy anything’ section. Here, users can compete in contests related to eSports, reality TV, and more.
DraftKings has the widest range of contests of any DFS provider. Additionally, many contests offer prizes to leaders rather than a winner-takes-all format. Users can draft new lineups whenever and compete in both public and private leagues.
Yes, California residents can wager on horse races at designated tracks (listed above). They can also take advantage of the insight and picks offered from sportsbooks like TVG and Twinspires, which cover major horse races.
Their live promotional offers include:
TVG: $300 risk-free welcome bet
TwinSpires: $200 welcome bonus
All horse race betting in California is overseen by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).
Online casinos are not legal in California. However, there are ways to play casino games online that are totally free. In California, it’s legal to play online casino games so long as they’re free-to-play. No money wagered means no money won.
Those looking to try their hand at popular online casino games can check out OddsChecker’s free bets section, which includes free play options.
We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.