California has the largest population of any US state. As such, it is home to no less than 15 professional sports teams. Although legislation efforts are trailing behind other states, CA is perfect for legal sports betting. To date however, neither online nor retail sports betting are available in the Golden State, even though lawmakers submitted legislation before the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).
One of the main challenges is that before lawmakers can create any legislation, the question of legal sports betting has to pass the public vote on the ballot. In 2022, two propositions were on the November ballot with very different visions for legalizing sports betting.
The first was Proposition 26, which was pushed forward by the CA tribes. This initiative wanted to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos while banning the launch of online sports betting in the state for at least five years.
Proposition 27 was backed by seven major US gambling operators, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National Gaming, WynnBET, BetMGM, and Fanatics Betting & Gaming. This initiative wanted to launch online sports betting, available to players across the state but had no plans for retail betting.
Both propositions failed to receive enough votes, so sports betting won’t be available in California until 2025 at the earliest. Read our expert guide below to discover the latest on sports betting in the Golden State, sports teams in CA, and legal betting in nearby states.
California is home to more major league sports teams than any other US state. 15 teams play across the four big leagues. So if and when sports betting becomes legal in California, sports fans will have loads of exciting betting options.
California is currently home to three NFL teams, although this number has changed frequently over the past decade. The Los Angeles Rams moved back to Los Angeles in 2016 after spending two decades in St. Louis. This return quickly proved successful, with the Rams winning the Super Bowl in 2021, spearheaded by 3-time defensive MVP winner Aaron Donald.
The Los Angeles Chargers also returned to LA in 2017, a year after the Rams’ return. The Chargers were previously based in LA for a year in 1960 before moving to San Diego. The Chargers are the only California team to have never won a Super Bowl.
The San Francisco 49ers round up the Californian NFL teams, with this historic franchise winning five Super Bowls with all-time greats such as Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice. Up until 2020, California was also home to the Oakland Raiders, but the famed franchise moved to Las Vegas.
Four NBA teams play in California, with two teams standing above the others. The Los Angeles Lakers are the joint most successful team in NBA history, with 17 NBA Championships and former players like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The Golden State Warriors have won seven NBA Championships, which is the second most in NBA history. Four of these championships came in an eight-year period from 2015 to 2022.
While well supported across the state, the other two NBA teams in CA have not been as successful as the Lakers and Warriors. The Los Angeles Clippers have never won an NBA Championship or conference final in the NBA. There is also the Sacramento Kings, the oldest franchise in the NBA. Despite spending the most time in the league of any team, the team has never won a conference final and once went for an NBA record of 16 consecutive losing seasons. The team has the longest postseason drought of any major league sports team in the US.
There are five MLB teams in California, which is the most of any state in the US. Four of the five teams in the state have won at least one World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, and San Francisco Giants have won multiple World Series each as some of the most successful teams in professional baseball. In addition, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won its one World Series in 2002.
The San Diego Padres are the only California MLB team without a World Series but have found postseason success in recent years. Adding Juan Soto to the roster in 2022 gives the franchise lots of hope going forwards.
Interest in the NHL in California spiked in the late 1980s when the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, joined the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings wouldn’t win a Stanley Cup with Gretzky, but the team won national championships in 2012 and 2014. The Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks join the Kings as NHL teams in CA. The Anaheim Ducks were founded by Disney as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993, following the success of the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks.
California is home to more NCAA Division I schools than any other state, so there are a huge number of schools for fans to get behind. Some of the most popular schools in the state are the California Golden Bears, UCLA Bruins, USC Trojans, and Stanford Cardinals.
Each state has individual rules for college sports betting, separate from rules on professional betting, to protect young athletes. However, whether sports betting will be available on these teams will depend on what sports betting legislation in California passes in the future.
There are two opposing camps regarding sports betting legalization in California, and where you can bet on sports in the state in the future depends on which side is chosen. One side of the debate is major US sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel, backed by major sports leagues like the MLB. If this side of the sports betting issue passes legislation, you will be able to bet on sports online from anywhere in the state. However, there will be no retail sports betting.
The other side of the debate is the Native American tribes, which have backing from the California Republican Party. The tribes want to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos from across California. However, the tribes also do not want online betting. Below are all the locations where tribal sports betting could be available in the future.
As sports betting is not yet legal in California, residents must travel to neighboring states to wager on their favorite sports teams. Thankfully, California’s neighboring states provide plenty of opportunities for players to bet online and in person. California shares a border with three states, which have all legalized sports betting.
Oregon offers one sportsbook app for mobile betting that is available state-wide, as well as retail sportsbooks in three casino locations. If you want to bet in Oregon, you must be over 21 and within the state’s borders. DraftKings operates the only sportsbook in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, bringing markets on dozens of different sports and live streaming on its mobile app.
Before the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018, Nevada was the sports betting capital of the US. There are dozens of online sportsbooks available such as DraftKings and BetMGM. There are also hundreds of retail sportsbooks open at the state’s many land-based casinos. To bet in Nevada, you must be 21 or older and within the state’s borders.
There are loads of betting opportunities in Arizona, with online and retail sports betting live since September 2021. AZ is one of the only states in the US where sportsbooks can partner with sports franchises and open retail sportsbooks at stadiums, like BetMGM at the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium. You can also use online betting apps anywhere in the state if you are over 21.
It is not surprising that a state as large as California plays host to a wide range of incredible sporting events throughout the year. In addition, California is also home to some of the greatest sporting venues in the country, if not the whole world. Check out some of the most popular sports events you can see in California below.
The Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl game played in the US, with the first game played in 1916. The Rose Bowl game hosts a National Championship semifinal game on a rotating basis every three years and hosts the No.1 Big Ten team vs. the No.1 Pac-12 team in other years. The game is played in the Rose Bowl Stadium, which is named after the Bowl Game. The Rose Bowl has a capacity of 90,000 and is the largest stadium in California, as well as the 11th biggest in America.
The Indian Wells Masters, now known as the BNP Paribas Open, is widely considered one of the most prestigious golf tour events outside of the four tennis Grand Slams. Indian Wells is host to the second-largest permanent tennis court in the world, and the hardcourt competition is the best-attended tennis tournament in the world outside of the Grand Slams.
California is home to some of the most famous and beautiful golf courses in the world. PGA Tour events are regularly held at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Silverado Resort in Napa, and at the picturesque Pebble Beach Golf Links. In addition, the state often holds major championships like the US Open, with the tournament being played at the Los Angeles Country Club in 2023.
The 2023 NASCAR season will start at the LA Coliseum, with the short, quarter-mile-long track hosting its first regular season NASCAR event. However, the LA Coliseum has previously hosted pre-season events. The LA Coliseum is one of the most famous sporting arenas in the world, having hosted the Olympics, the soccer World Cup, and the Super Bowl.
While the Breeders Cup is run across the US, it has been hosted at Santa Anita Park more than any other race track. The horse racing event started in 1984, with the first race hosted at Hollywood Park, another famous horse racing track in CA.
In 2016, the highest-ever two-day Breeders Cup attendance was set at Santa Anita Park, with over 118,000 racegoers attending the event. It is widely considered one of the best Grade 1 events in the world and a must for any racing fan.
The earliest sports betting will be legal in California is 2025. For sports betting in California to be legalized, the public has to support a sports betting initiative on the ballot. After the failure of Proposition 26 and 27 to pass on the November 2022 ballot, the next available ballot is in November 2024. If the public agrees to sports betting, lawmakers will then need to pass sports betting legislation.
Yes, horse racing betting is legal in California. You can visit one of the state’s four racetracks and place pari-mutuel bets in person, or you can go to one of the state’s many off-track betting locations. There are also online horse racing betting sites like TVG and TwinSpires available.
No, offshore sportsbooks are not legal in California. Sports betting is illegal in California, and this includes any offshore operators. Without regulations from a state authority, you cannot guarantee any offshore sportsbook you are using will provide payouts or fair odds.
The California Department of Justice would be the governing body overseeing sports betting in California. However, responsibility within the department would fall to the Bureau of Gambling Control. While Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 disagreed on many things in the November 2022 ballot, both supported the Bureau as an appropriate regulatory body.
All initiatives to legalize sports betting have proposed a legal sports betting age of 21. However, current rules allow you to bet on horse racing if you are 18 or over. In addition, you can visit any casino which does not serve alcohol if you are 18 or over. Any casinos serving alcohol require patrons to be over the age of 21.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are available to players in California. You can use sites like FanDuel and DraftKings to enter DFS contests for your favorite sports like the NFL and MLB. DFS games are legal through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, as DFS are deemed games of skill rather than luck.
While the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018, every state had to pass legislation to legalize sports betting. The ban on sports betting in CA is written into the state’s constitution, requiring a public vote to change the laws. So far, no sports initiatives have gotten enough support to win a majority public vote. Until legislation passes, sports betting will be illegal in California.
There are no legal sports betting apps in California because sports betting is illegal in the Golden State. Proposition 27 sought to legalize online sports betting, which would have allowed Californians to bet online via sports betting apps. However, Proposition 27 did not pass, and sports betting remains illegal in California.
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