California Sports Betting

Sports betting is not legal in the state of California; and it’s not close.

Legal Status

Sports betting is not legal in the state of California.

Legislative Progress

California is an excellent market for sports betting but has had trouble making progress towards legalization in recent years. However, there is hope for the future. A petition driven by a tribal coalition succeeded in getting it on the 2022 November ballot. Enough signatures had to be collected by June 25, 2021—and the tribal coalition exceeded the target by approximately 60,000 signatures.

The 2020 initiative would have included online and retail sports betting, but California’s Native American tribes were not in favor of it. With the new 2022 initiative, one that the tribes do support, will only allow for retail sports betting on tribal grounds.

If the voters approve, the state will still need to pass the appropriate legislation. A new tribal gambling compact will have to be negotiated and approved by the state and the Department of the Interior.

Casino Participation

Opposition by the tribal casinos helped bring an end to getting sport betting on the November 2020 ballot, however, it was the efforts of a coalition of tribal casinos that succeeded in getting it on the 2022 November ballot.

Role Of The Lottery

California does have a state lottery, but there has been no indication that it will be involved in sports betting if the latest initiative passes.

Professional Sports Team Involvement

With more professional sports teams than any other state, Californians will undoubtedly have plenty to bet on if/when sports betting becomes legal. Should sports betting become legal in 2022, it is unlikely sports teams will be involved in the industry since betting will be restricted to tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks.


Licensing regulations will be something that legislators start to talk more about once the ballot initiative passes. So, for now, there is no telling what that will entail, but the initiative does call for a ten percent tax on sports betting revenue and a minimum age requirement of 21.

Expected Live Date

Since sports betting is nowhere close to being legal in the state, there is no expected launch date. Assuming the people approve in November 2022, the state will still have its work cut out for it. The appropriate legislation will still need to be passed, regulations constructed, and a new tribal gaming compact negotiated and approved by the legislature and the federal government (Department of the Interior).

Assuming the 2022 initiative passes, which isn’t guaranteed due to significant opposition from card rooms, retail betting will likely launch at some point in 2023.

Picture Credit: Google Creative Commons Licenses

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