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California Casino Guide

California, otherwise known as the Golden State, has over 60 casinos operated by multiple Indian Tribes. Since CA was founded back in the 1850s, gambling has been around.

Despite this, online casinos have still not been legalized in the state. Brick and mortar casinos built in the state are also considered to be illegal.

It's hard to say when and if online casino gambling will be accepted in CA. By examining the current laws and timeline of gambling in the state, we can estimate how soon it will be until the laws change.   

Online Casinos in California

Presently there are no legal online casinos in California. The focus has been on trying to get legislation passed for online poker, but so far that has failed.

California does have a state lottery, which can indicate an openness to other forms of betting.

California residents can play WSOP as soon as they cross the state line into Nevada, however.

But, you can still register with a legal online casino while you're in California, take advantage of the casino's bonus offers, and play whenever you're in states where it's legal. 

Land-Based Casinos in California

Today, there are 60+ land-based casinos (with more expected to open in the near future) operating within the Golden State. These land-based casinos, which are mostly owned and operated by different Indian Tribes, are legal. Why?

According to the state legislature, all of the Indian Tribes are considered to be independent, therefore operate under their own jurisdiction.

Any land-based casinos on tribal soil are considered to be an independent territory outside of the state's jurisdiction.

In the state of California, there are 63 land-based casinos that are operated by 61 different tribes. This gaming industry generates over $8 billion in revenues each year. Yet, brick and mortar casinos are still not legal in CA.   

Most southern California casinos are rather large and the majority of them have hotels. The Indian casinos in northern California tend to be a bit smaller and many are located in more remote locations. 

Types of Casinos in California

All of the casinos in California are affiliated with Indian Tribes. These Indian casinos in California are legally allowed to offer electronic gaming machines, blackjack, and other house-banked card games. The games of craps and roulette are not permitted.  

However, some California casinos do offer modified versions of craps and roulette that are played with cards rather than dice or roulette wheels.

All of the casinos in California offer slot machines. However, be aware that the Indian casinos in California aren’t required to release information on their slot machine percentage paybacks and the state of California does not require any minimum returns.

Unlike the casinos in California, in many U.S. states, the slot machine payback statistics for that particular state’s casinos are released as a matter of public record. Just click here to see a list of slot machine payback statistics for casinos in all U.S. states.

Most southern California casinos are rather large and the majority of them have hotels. The Indian casinos in northern California tend to be a bit smaller and many are located in more remote locations.

Card Room Casinos

Most California card rooms also offer some form of player-banked blackjack, but because they are prohibited by law from playing blackjack, the game is usually played to 22 rather than 21.

Additionally, players must pay a commission to the house on every hand they play. The amount will vary depending on the rules of the house but, generally, it’s about two to five percent of the total amount bet.

There are about 90 card rooms in California and you can see a listing of them here.  

Racetracks

Pari-mutual betting was legalized in California in 1933, with the first track operating that same year. It is the only form of sports betting allowed in the state and could be the gateway to legalizing sportsbooks altogether, as it's very popular. 

Pari-mutual wagering, breeding, racing, and tracks are all regulated by the California Horse Racing Board. 

If you want to find the best horse race track in Cali, keep an eye out for the following venues: 

  1. Santa Anita Park
  2. Los Alamitos Race Course
  3. Del Mar Racetrack 
  4. Golden Gate Fields 

List of Land-based Casinos In California

Find the following gambling hotspots in Southern California:  

Pechanga Resort Casino

  • 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592
  • 877-711-2946
  • 4500 slot machines, 20 restaurants, and bars, hotel with over 1000 rooms

Viejas Casino and Resort

  • 5000 Willows Rd, Alpine, CA 91901
  • 619-445-5400
  • 8 high limit tables, 1000 slot machines, 3 hotels, multi restaurants, and bars

Pala Casino Spa and Resort

  • 11154 Highway 76, Pala, CA 92059
  • 877-946-7252
  • 2200 slot machines, 87 table games, 12 restaurants and bars, 500 hotel rooms

 

Find the following gambling hotspots in Northern California

Thunder Valley Casino Resort

  • 1200 Athens Have, Lincoln, CA 95648
  • 916-408-7777
  • 2800 slot machines, 114 gaming tables, top-notch restaurants, 297 hotel rooms

Cache Creek Casino Resort

  • 14455 CA-16, Brooks, CA 95606
  • 530-796-3118
  • 2400 slot machines, 500 room hotel

Tachi Palace Casino Resort

  • 17225 Jersey Have, Lemoore, CA 93245
  • 559-924-7751
  • 2000 slot machines, 7 table poker rooms, 9 restaurants, 255 room hotel and spa

California Land-Based Casinos Map

You can easily see all casino locations by using our California casinos map. To zoom in, just click the + (plus) sign in the lower right corner of the map, or to zoom out, just click the – (minus) sign in the same area.

To move the map of casinos in California, click and hold down either of your mouse buttons. Then use the hand icon to drag the map in whichever direction you desire.

Each of the red icons on the map is a casino location. Just click on any red icon to see the name of the casino at that location. If you want more information on that casino, simply click again on the casino's name and it will direct you to another page with detailed information on that particular casino, including address, phone number, toll-free phone number, room rates, casino size, dining information, games offered, availability of discounts for seniors, any special features, and a direct link to that casino's website.

History of Gambling in California

Gambling in CA dates back to the 1800s. During the California Gold Rush of 1848-1855, the city of San Francisco earned the top spot and title for "The Gambling Capital of the USA," beating out New Orleans.

The timeline of the legislative history for the state of California: 

1933 - Horse race betting is legalized

1976 - Bingo games to be used solely to raise money for charity becomes legal

1984 - The California State Act is enacted (State Lotteries become legal)

1988 - Indian Gaming Regulatory Act enacted

1998 - The Gambling Control Act regulating card rooms is introduced 

2000 - An amendment to the constitution allowing Tribal casino-style (Class III) permitted on Indian Land

2007 - The Bureau of Gambling Control is created

California Gambling Laws and Regulatory Organizations

In CA, there are 4 main types of legalized gambling establishments:

  • Card Rooms
  • Native American Casinos
  • Lottery
  • Race Tracks

The minimum gambling age is not the same at all casinos in California; it's 21 at some venues and 18 at others. 

The governing bodies that regulate gambling in the state of California are:

California Horse Racing Board

The California Horse Racing Board was established in 1933. It is an independent agency. It is the governing body that regulates horse racing and pari-mutuel betting at all licensed California race tracks. It also safeguards the public from the fraudulent operation.

California Bureau of Gambling Control

The California Bureau of Gambling Control (CBGC) regulates all gambling activity in the state. The CBGC works with the California Gambling Control Commission to ensure all gambling operations comply with the rules put in place.

Gambling in California Today 

Presently there are no legal online casinos in California. The focus has been on trying to get legislation passed for online poker, but so far that has failed.

If the legislature for Bill SCA6 was passed, online and mobile sports betting within the state of California would have become legal. Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19, and conflict with the native tribes, Senator Bill Dodd decided to shelf this bill. It will be reintroduced for the 2022 ballot.

The bill would have earned the state an estimated $1.5 billion in total revenues, so many are questioning why it hasn't been passed yet. 

Play the Lottery

Lottery tickets are sold in more than 21,000 locations across the state of California. They are sold two types of ways: 

Tickets with numbers: Find out if you won the lottery by listening for the numbers on your ticket and hoping it's a match, either on the radio or television. 
Scratchers: Instant winnings at the time of purchase.

Fun Facts 

Did you know? 

In 2016, a couple from California won $528 million in what was considered at the time the largest win in US history! 

Did you know?

In 1870, Saratoga Springs became the nation's top destination for horse racing, gambling, and upscale hotels. Over time, the horse track was renovated and since 1970, residents can enjoy a yearly 28 day exclusive racing season.

Resources


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For more information on visiting casinos in California or general tourism information, contact the state’s department of tourism at (800) 862-2543 or www.visitcalifornia.com.


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