California has yet to legalize online sports betting, but this could change soon — multiple initiatives will be on the ballot in November 2022.
California voters will have the opportunity to legalize retail and online sports betting this year by voting on several proposals put forth by state tribes, card rooms, and commercial sports betting platforms.
Here’s everything you need to know about online sports betting in California, including when it may be legalized, what proposals will be on the ballot in 2022, and more.
Recent News and Details About Sports Betting in California
- Sports betting is not currently legal in any form in California, including retail, online, or mobile betting.
- While sports betting is currently illegal in the Golden State, one initiative to legalize sports betting will be on the ballot in November 2022. As a result, the public will have the power to decide whether sports betting is legalized.
- Daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel continue to operate in a legal gray area in California due to a lack of regulation.
- With nearly 40 million people and some of the nation’s most popular sports franchises, California would likely become one of the largest sports betting markets in the country if efforts to legalize sports betting succeed.
- The California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative will be on the ballot in November 2022. If approved, it would legalize retail sports betting at land-based tribal casinos and racing tracks.
- There is also a separate ballot initiative to legalize online sports betting, which is backed by several commercial sportsbooks. This initiative would allocate 85% of sports betting tax revenue to a fund supporting homelessness and mental health. All online sportsbooks would be required to partner with a tribal casino under this initiative.
Online Sports Betting in California: A Timeline
While sports betting is currently illegal in California, this is likely to change soon; many expect the upcoming sports betting initiative to pass in November 2022. Depending on which ballot initiatives are successful, California may launch both retail and online sports betting in the near future. However, it is likely that only retail sports betting is legalized this year.
Here’s a look at the timeline leading up to sports betting legalization in California:
- July 1, 2022: Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber certifies the mobile sports betting initiative for the November ballot, giving California voters the power to legalize mobile sports betting.
- June 29, 2022: Dolores Huerta, a civil rights and labor activist, voices support for the tribal sports betting proposition, but disapproval for the online sports betting proposition because she believes it’s an attack on tribal self-sufficiency.
- June 27, 2022: The California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Solutions Act, which would legalize online sports betting, becomes eligible to be placed on the November ballot.
- May 26, 2022: The California Teachers Association voices its opposition to the online sports betting initiative over concerns that it will expose children to problem gambling and gambling addiction.
- May 12, 2022: BetMGM reports the launch of online sports betting in California would bring the total addressable North American sports betting market to $37 billion.
- May 3, 2022: California’s online sports betting proposal receives 1.6 million signatures by the deadline, making it eligible to appear on the November ballot.
- March 25, 2022: Several card rooms in California back a campaign to lobby against the tribal sports betting initiative. Card rooms are concerned this proposal will leave them vulnerable to lawsuits from tribes for offering certain types of games.
- March 7, 2022: Cal-Pac Rancho Cordova and Hollywood Park Casino join together to file a lawsuit to keep the tribal retail sports betting initiative off the November ballot.
How Do California Residents Feel About Sports Betting?
A recent poll conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that the 2022 initiative to legalize sports betting on American Indian lands is likely to succeed.
|California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative (2022)|
|Poll||Yes/Approve||No/Disapprove||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Governmental Studies Poll
(Feb. 3-10, 2022)
The poll asked respondents about their initial opinions regarding the initiative to legalize sports betting in California. Forty-five percent of participants approved this proposal, while 33% disapproved and 22% remained undecided. While support is not overwhelmingly positive, there is enough support to suggest the initiative is likely to pass this November.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in California?
Daily fantasy sports apps let users create fantasy teams and compete against other users in daily or weekly contests for cash and other prizes. As these contests require money to enter and depend partially on chance, some states view them as gambling and others view them as games of skill.
California is one of the nation’s largest markets for DFS contests, taking in an estimated $200-plus million in entry fees every year. While DFS apps are not legal or regulated in California, they are also not explicitly illegal. As such, platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel operate in the state in a legal gray area.
California Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||No|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||No|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||No|
|Minimum legal gambling age||N/A|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of August 2022.
Neighboring States That Legalized Sports Betting
While sports betting is not yet legal in California, the three states that neighbor California have passed legislation to legalize sports betting.
- Arizona: Arizona launched sports betting in 2021, and there are currently about 20 online sports betting apps available in the state, including major platforms BetMGM, FanDuel, and Caesars.
- Nevada: Retail, mobile, and online sports betting are legal in Nevada, and the state was the first to begin accepting sports bets in 2010. While online betting is legal, bettors need to register in person at a casino to get started.
- Oregon: Oregon officially launched sports betting in 2019 via the Lottery-run Scoreboard app. DraftKings is now the sole provider of online sports betting in the state.