Type the phrase "online casino California" in any search engine and you'll get mixed messages. That means you might not know if there's a legal online casino California residents can use. This guide to California gambling online laws explains why real-money gaming isn't available yet but why that doesn't mean you can't play slots and table games. As well as taking you through the nuances of social sites and sweepstakes laws, we'll give you our take on what the best online casino for California residents is. With that being said, let's take a look at gambling in California...
What's the best online casino in California? That's not an easy question to answer because it's a hot state when it comes to social and sweepstakes gaming. However, our job is to be critical and assess all of the online California casinos out there. So, through a combination of experience, industry insights, and thorough testing, we've determined that these are the state's finest casino sites...
If you can't find a real money casino California no deposit bonus, try our McLuck no deposit bonus. This social and sweepstakes casino might not offer real money games, but it does have the next best things. Those things are free-play social casino games, Sweeps you can exchange for cash prizes, and no deposit bonuses.
Indeed, when you use our sign-up link, you'll receive no deposit bonus worth 7,500 Gold Coins and 2.5 Sweeps. These deals not only mirror what you'd get at a real money casino, they allow you to sample McLuck's 300+ games without spending a cent. That, for us, is a positive because this mobile-friendly platform has free-play versions of every big hit from NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, and Big Time Gaming.
Promotions: 7,500 Gold Coins and 2.5 Sweeps welcome bonus
Of all the top online casinos in California, Pulsz casino has one of the best social set-ups for those who play on a regular basis. We say this because, unlike a lot of social casinos in California, it has a loyalty program. The program mirrors what you'd find at a real money gambling site but has the benefit of being free.
In other words, you can play online casino games using the free credits Pulsz offers and still earn VIP rewards. This, combined with hundreds of recognizable games, such as Blood Suckers from NetEnt, means you get as close to real money gaming experience as is possible with a social casino.
Promotions: 5,000 Gold Coins + 2.3 Sweepstake Coins welcome bonus
No California casinos online have more of a stake in the gambling industry than High 5. Founded in 1995, High 5 Casino sweepstakes not only offers social casino games in California, it provides software to many of the world's top real money gambling sites. That means two things. Firstly, you'll get access to over 800 high-quality slots, including High 5 hits such as Double Da Vinci Diamonds and Queen of the Gods.
You can play all of these games with Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins, which means it's possible to win real money prizes. The second reason High 5's position in the industry matters is because it can easily make the switch when California moves to legalize online gambling. Put simply, it has the resources to become a real money online casino California residents can access via their desktop or mobile. This alone is a reason to try High 5 Casino if you're in the Golden State.
Promotions: 600 Diamonds, 250 Game Coins, and 5 Free Sweeps Coins welcome bonus
Type "online casino games real money California" into a search engine and you'll likely see a ton of results from WOW Vegas sweepstakes casino. That's because this casino offers free-play versions of real money slots such as Big Bass Bonanza. You can't win real money prizes, but there is the option to wager Sweeps. Doing this allows you to claim coins that can be exchanged for prizes at a rate of 1:1 (one coin = $1 in cash).
This commitment to creating an authentic casino gaming experience through a combination of social and sweepstakes betting has pushed the developers to fill the app with over 350 games. From slots and novel variants of blackjack and roulette, WOW Vegas offers a real casino gaming experience that falls within the confines of California gambling laws.
Promotions: 3 Million WOW Coins and 50 Free Sweepstakes Coins for $24.99 welcome bonus
Innovation is the name of the game at Vegas Gems sweeps casino. This is one of the best California online casinos to try if you like cutting-edge technology. As well as accepting cryptocurrency payments, Vegas Gems has provably fair games. What does that mean? Put simply, it means that games run on blockchains and the results are determined by an encrypted algorithm that can be verified at any time. This allows you to check the results of any game to make sure they're fair.
That's something you don't get with other online casinos in California and one of the main reasons it's on our list. Add to this a generous selection of bonus offers and the ability to exchange Gems for cash (1 Gem = $0.01), and this is the place to experience the future of gambling online now.
Promotions: Up to 1,000 Gems and Get 50% Extra Gems on First Purchase
Chanced.com social casino takes social casino gaming seriously. It might need a few more games to compete with some of the best California online casinos but it certainly has an edge when it comes to competitions. Thanks to daily leaderboard challenges and competitions, you get to interact with the Chanced Casino community on a regular basis. This creates a uniquely social dynamic that a lot of online casinos in California lack. Naturally, there are plenty of promotions, so you don't have to spend a cent. However, if you want to buy coins and play for Sweeps, you can.
Promotions: 10,000 Gold Coins and 20 free Sweeps with your first $20 purchase
If you want an innovative online casino real money California residents can access, we recommend taking a look at Stake.us social casino. Technically, this is a social and sweepstakes casino because you can't win real money from any of its games. However, where this platform differs from other social casinos in California is the fact it accepts cryptocurrency payments.
Not only that, you can exchange Sweeps Coins for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. That's unique and, moreover, important because cryptocurrencies are universal. They're not tied to any countries or states. Therefore, you can enjoy this casino's 400+ custom-made games and redeem Sweeps for coins that can be used anywhere in the world.
BetRivers.net social casino is one of the only truly social casinos in California. That's because it doesn't offer Sweeps play, which means you can't exchange coins for cash prizes. OK, so why would I join BetRivers.net if I'm looking for a real online casino California residents can use? Simple: it's the sister site of BetRivers, one of the leading real money casino and sports betting platforms in America.
That means you get access to hundreds of popular games, including slots made by BetRivers' parent company, Rush Street Interactive. It also means you get access to bonuses that mirror what you can get if you were playing for real money. Put simply, Bet Rivers Online Casino California offers an authentic gaming experience without the cost. Moreover, if online casino California real money gaming gets legalized, you can expect BetRivers to be one of the first operators to make the switch.
Promotions: Spin the prize wheel for prizes worth up to 1,000 virtual dollars each day
If it's gaming options you want, try Sweeptastic social casino. As its name suggests, this is one of the top casinos in California when it comes to Sweeps. New customers get 27,777 Lucky Coins (aka Gold Coins) and 2 Sweeps Coins. From there, all active players get regular bonuses, including daily login rewards.
Sweeptastic has over 1,000 free-play casino games. Most of them are slots, but there are few table games sprinkled into the mix. What's most impressive about Sweeptastic is that it aims to complete redemption requests within 24 hours. This means you'll get your prize money faster at Sweeptastic than you will at other social online casinos in California.
Promotions: 27,777 Lucky Coins (aka Gold Coins) and 2 Sweeps Coins
We'll explain the nuances of California online casinos real money gaming laws in the following sections, but let's just say that B Spot casino is a special case. It's a special case because you can actually make real money bets in California. Even though online gambling in California hadn't been regulated at the time of writing, B Spot is able to offer real money games. How? Because it's an Advance Deposit Wagering provider. This means it operates under the same license as horse racing bookmakers.
But isn't it an online casino? Yes, it is. Instead of using random number generators (RNGs) to determine the outcome of its games, B Spot's unique system uses the results of horse racing events. Basically, each bet you make on a casino game is actually a horse racing wager. As such, it's legal to win real money prizes on B Spot when you're in California. Not only that, you can get $10 free when you sign up using our B Spot promo code GAMBLING.
Promotions: $10 sign-up bonus
California gambling laws make provisions for various activities, including casino gaming. Anyone in the state who is at least 18 years old can use tribal casinos in California to play slots and table games. Parimutuel betting on horse racing is also permitted in California, along with the State Lottery, and cardrooms. Finally, even though Daily Fantasy Sports isn't regulated, it's not illegal. Therefore, it's available to locals.
Online gambling in California wasn't legal at the time of writing, nor was legalized online sports betting. However, given the evolution of online gambling laws in the US, this is likely to change in the future. What's more, because social casinos are legal, you can still play games online within the state. What's more, with a sweepstakes casino online, California players can win prizes, including cash payments in a legal way.
The minimum gambling age in California is 18 if you're betting on horses, playing bingo, or buying a lottery ticket. You can also use social and sweepstakes California online casino sites if you're 18. The minimum age to play games in tribal casinos in California is also 18, but you might find that venues insist that you're at least 21 due to the fact alcohol is served on the premises.
Gambling winnings are classed as income and, therefore, taxed in California according to your personal or married couple rate. As a general guide, personal state tax rates range from 1% (up to $10,099 in earnings) to 12.3% (over $677,276 in earnings). Married couple rates are the same, but the earnings thresholds are greater.
Licensed operators will issue a pre-filled Form W-2G that lists your winnings if you breach the following thresholds:
You need to use the Form W-2G when completing your tax return. Finally, losses are tax deductible. However, the losses must be itemized on a Form 1040 Schedule 1. Moreover, you can only make deductions against winnings that are greater than the losses.
Tribal casinos in California are self-regulated entities that work alongside the California Gambling Control Commission and within the confines of tribal-state gaming compacts. Parimutuel betting is overseen by the California Horse Racing Board, while cardrooms are regulated by the Division of Gambling Control. Social and sweepstakes platforms comply with federal laws. Agencies such as the California Gambling Control Commission ensure these laws are followed by all operators in the state.
What casino games can you play at a social California online casino? The best California online casinos offer free-play and sweepstakes versions of these games:
Online slots are the biggest draw in social gaming. In fact, around 90% of all the games you play for free or Sweeps prizes will be slots. Some casinos, such as WOW Vegas, offer free-play versions of popular real-money games such as Sugar Rush. Other social casinos create their own slots.
Online blackjack is a casino classic and a few social casinos have it. Most games will use Vegas or Atlantic City rules and there will be the option to play one or multiple hands. In general, you won't find novel variants, such as Jackpot Blackjack, but this could change in the future.
Online roulette is another casino classic and almost all of the best online casinos California has to offer will let you play at least one variant. Again, there won't be much in the way of innovation. Don't worry though, because American and European roulette are great.
Poker isn't as prevalent as other table games, but you can find it. Pulsz Casino has Texas Hold'em Poker, while BetRivers.net has six different variants, including Three Card Poker and Side Bet City.
BetRivers.net is the best place to play recognizable types of video poker, such as Jester and Double Double Bonus. However, if you want original offerings, try the Stake.us version of video poker.
Very few social casinos have live dealer tables, simply because they're not typically available as free-play games. However, BetRivers.net bucks this trend, which makes it the top online casino California has to offer in the live gaming stakes. In addition to traditional versions of roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, and craps, you can try modern games, such as Lightning Blackjack and Mega Ball 100X.
Just because social California casinos don't let you play for cash prizes, unless you're redeeming sweeps, it doesn't mean they're devoid of online casino bonuses. In fact, social online casinos in California run just as many promotions, if not more, as their real-money counterparts.
All social online casinos in California will give you free Gold Coins when you register. These offers can also be classed as no deposit bonuses because, as is the nature of social casinos, you can't deposit money. As long as you successfully register an account, you'll receive free credits and, in some cases, free Sweeps you can use to play for prizes.
Social casinos don't let you make deposits, but you can buy Gold Coins. These coins are bundled into packages that often contain a few added extras, including Sweeps. You can also get a discount and/or an increased number of coins if you're willing to spend more.
California has 65 Indian casinos, according to the California Gambling Control Commission. In addition, the state has 86 cardrooms with active licenses that are spread throughout the state. Here are California’s tribal casinos:
Any form of California online gambling law would attract interest from all of the major online operators. Harrah's Casino, a part of Caesar’s Entertainment, already manages two tribal casinos in California, and has plenty of online operating experience in other states, including an NJ online casino app.
However, any kind of California online gambling legislation appears to be down the road. For now, California gamblers might consider alternatives such as social and sweepstakes casinos, which offer online slots and table games that are played not for real money, but for amusement or a chance to win prizes. Players can sign up for an account on the social casino’s website or through a Facebook account.
If and when casino gambling is permitted in California, you can be sure all of the operators will offer casino apps that allow bettors to wager on their casino sites from mobile devices anytime from anywhere in the state. Casino mobile apps in legal online gambling states are usually available for both Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free from the casino operator’s website or from the App Store.
Social casinos have apps that allow you to play online slots and other table games for points, credits and prizes with virtual currency. You can also wager Sweeps Coins and redeem them for prizes, including cash payments and cryptocurrency tokens.
Are California online poker rooms legal? Can you play slots in the state? Is there a California lottery? Certain forms for gambling are legal in California, so let's take a look at what they are:
Tribal Casinos, such as Thunder Valley Casino Resort, are legal in California. These venues operate under a tribal-state compact and offer slots, table games, and leisure facilities to patrons aged 18 or over. Tribal casinos can also offer poker cash games and tournaments.
*You may need to be at least 21 years old to enter some land-based casinos due to alcohol laws.
Sports betting is currently illegal in California casinos. Online sports betting is also illegal, but this may change in the future when online California casino gaming becomes a reality.
Horse racing betting is permitted in California. Racetracks and tribal casinos can offer parimutuel betting on all forms of horse racing, including harness racing.
The California State Lottery offers a variety of draw-based games, including scratchcards. It also oversees national lotteries within the state, which means you can play Mega Millions, SuperLottoPlus, and Fantasy 5 if you're 18+.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) isn't regulated in California but it's also not explicitly outlawed. This means leading DFS sites, including FanDuel and DraftKings, are operational in the state. The status of DFS may change as California moves to legalize sports betting.
Non-profit organizations that meet certain eligibility requirements can organize poker nights and host bingo draws or raffles to raise money for charity. These events can't be used to make a profit and prizes must fall within certain financial limits.
The legal gambling age is 18, but cardrooms and most (though not all) tribal casinos require players to be 21. It's safe to assume that the same rules will apply to California online casinos once the market becomes regulated. It's still when that will happen, though.
Native American tribes are permitted to offer slots and card games after successfully negotiating compacts with the state. Cardroom owners must obtain a gambling license from the California Gambling Control Commission. The Bureau of Gaming Control investigates the qualifications of all state gambling license applicants.
Tribal casinos allow slots, various table games, poker and bingo. Card rooms offer poker and some table games. Horse tracks offer live racing, with online parimutuel wagering permitted. State residents can play the California Lottery and national jackpots such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Social casinos are also legal. However, California online casinos have not been regulated yet.
Traditional online casino gambling is not legal, but California bettors can play online slots at several social casinos without playing for real money. It will take some time before California online casinos become available. Until then, playing slots online will only be possible with social casinos.
No. All players who want to play California online casinos must be in the state's territory to place any bets. This will be needed once California online gambling becomes regulated, though. Any online gambling is not permitted for the time being.
The only legal casinos to have offers in California are social and sweepstakes casinos that allow you to play online slots and table games for amusement and prizes using virtual currency. The top-rated social casinos are listed near the top of this page. Other casinos you can find online are offshore gambling sites and we do not recommend playing there.
At any of the state’s Native American tribal casinos; at cardrooms throughout the state; and on parimutuel wagering at the state’s horse tracks or online. California also operates a state lottery. Those are the only places until the state regulates California online casinos. Then, players will be able to gamble on the go.
The California Gambling Control Commission and the Bureau of Gambling Control work together to regulate the state’s gambling industry. The California Horse Racing Board regulates horse racing and parimutuel betting. Once online gambling becomes legal, these authorities will regulate California online casinos.
The games will be safe if you are playing at a legal site that is licensed and regulated by the California Gambling Control Commission, which would be responsible for protecting the integrity of the games. All California online casinos will go through a thorough check to ensure that they are safe for Californians. Therefore, you can use the best online casino real money in California and feel safe.
If and when CA online gambling is approved, the sign-up process will be easy. Select your online operator, sign up for an account, then choose a method to fund your account. Once your account is funded, you are ready to wager.
All gambling winnings are taxable, according to the IRS. Gambling income is also subject to California state income tax, except for CA Lottery winnings. These rules will also apply if and when you can access the best online casino real money California has to offer.
Online casino California gambling remains illegal. Therefore, no California online casino is legal in this state. While still away, it does not mean that we won't see any online casinos in California in the future. When the term "online casino legal in California" becomes a thing, it will help the state grow its income from taxes.