A guide to California’s online gambling laws, plus its history of legislation involving online poker, PokerStars, and the “bad actor” clause. We also cover California’s online poker and sports betting industries.

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California Online Gambling Laws

Video Poker

California Online Casino Laws

Absolutely. Many offshore gambling sites accept real money play from Californians. While these sites are offshore and not regulated by US agencies, they’re regulated and licensed by respected international gaming agencies.

We publicize fun, fair,  reputable, and safe online casinos that accept California residents. Our online casino reviews focus on games, software, banking methods, deposit bonuses, ongoing promotions, and VIP clubs you’ll find at the given site.


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CA Online Casino Laws

Regulated online casinos are unlikely in California anytime soon.

California has over 180 land-based gambling sites, including the massive tribal casinos which dot the landscape. Commercial poker clubs exist in Los Angeles, Fresno, and Sacramento. Some are famous, like the Bicycle Club and Commerce Club in LA. Most California gaming bills in the past 10 years have included online poker, but not online casinos. You’ll need to find offshore online casinos, so read unbiased casino reviews in order to find honest and trusted sites.

Californians can play most forms of gambling online, though all are unregulated. You can find online poker, sportsbooks, and bingo sites online that accept California.


CA Online Poker Laws

The 12-and-counting online poker bills that have failed over the years crash on the same rock: The Bad Actor Clause.

The majority of California’s tribal casino operators wanted PokerStars banned from California, claiming they acted as a “bad actor” during the years the UIGEA banned poker sites from accepting US players. The Morongo Band, the Bicycle Club, and the Commerce Club had deals in place with PokerStars for a California online poker room, so they supported the many online poker bills.

Roderick Wright, Lou Correa, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, and Mike Gatto each have sponsored multiple bills over the years. All have failed. Read our California Gambling Timeline above for the full story of these iPoker bills.

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California Sports Betting Laws

In 2019, CA Assemblyman Adam Gray and Sen. Bill Dodd co-sponsored a sports betting bill.

The previous year, the US Supreme Court struck down the PASPA federal law that had governed sports betting in the United States the previous 25 years. Many online poker players hoped the Dodd-Gray bill would have enough support that it would give momentum to the online poker bills that failed several times in the years prior. The sports betting bill failed, so sports betting and DFS remain in limbo for the time being.

Prior to Adam Gray’s foray into sports betting, the assemblyman sponsored 2015’s Internet Fantasy Sports Games Consumer Protection Act (AB 1437). The DFS bill received less attention than his 2019 sports betting bill.

Thus, online sports betting must wager at offshore bookmakers. Pick trustworthy online sportsbooks, because you play without consumer protections. The same goes for daily fantasy sports.

California Online Gambling History and Timeline

  • 2010 to 2020: 12 Failed Online Poker Bills in 11 Years

    PokerStars PKR Player Funds Reimbursed 1

    Online gambling isn’t regulated in California, but not for lack of trying. Six different lawmakers have sponsored 12 different online poker bills in the past 11 years.

    Currently, nothing prohibits California residents from gambling online for real money. California doesn’t fine, charge, or prosecute individuals for their online gaming habits.

  • February 2010: Roderick Wright Sponsors California Online Poker Bill

    Roderick Wright CA Online Poker

    California State Sen. Roderick Wright sponsored Senate Bill 1485, the first bill that would have legalized online poker in California. The US federal government banned online poker under the UIGEA from 2006 to 2011, so this bill went nowhere.

  • January 2012: Roderick Wright Sponsors Senate Bill 1463

    Online Poker California

    Roderick Wright sponsored his second online poker bill in three years. This was the closest California came to regulated iPoker, because the California Poker Association (COPA) — a broad alliance of Native American tribal gaming operators — supported the bill. SB 1463 still came up short by the end of 2012.

  • 2013: The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013

    Online Poker CA

    Sen. Wright next sponsored Senate Bill 51, also known as “Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013”. Wright introduced the bill at a time when Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey were passing similar online gambling bills. Support for SB 51 crumbled when the COPA alliance fractured over gambling enforcement.

  • February 2013: Lou Correa Introduces Online Poker Bill

    Lou Correa CA Online Poker

    With Roderick Wright facing an ethics scandal, California Sen. Lou Correa became the champion for the next online poker bill. Senate Bill 678 had the support of the Sam Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Tribe, but failed to gain traction when the Pechanga Tribe’s coalition opposed it.

  • February 2014: Reggie Jones-Sawyer Introduced California Online Poker Bill 2014

    Reggie Jones Sawyer California Online Poker

    In 2014, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer proposed Assembly Bill 2291, also known as The California Online Poker Bill 2014. AB 2291 also would have legalized online poker, but failed because the Morongo Tribe/San Manuel Band had an online poker deal with PokerStars.

  • February 2014: Lou Correa Introduces Senate Bill 1366

    Online Poker Player

    Around the same time, Sen. Lou Correa introduced a modified poker bill called Senate Bill 1366. Correa sought a compromise between the Pechanga and Morongo California casino factions, but neither side would talk compromise and the bill died.

  • December 2014: Mike Gatto Introduced Assembly Bill 9

    Mike Gatto CA Online Poker

    Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced an online poker bill. Though Gatto added special language that he hoped would solve the political rift over PokerStars, the bill failed to gain traction.

  • February 2015: Reggie Jones-Sawyer Sponsors Internet Poker Consumer Act of 2015

    CA Online Poker Bill

    Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer sponsors the Internet Poker Consumer Act of 2015, which also would have legalized and regulated online poker. Like all others, AB 167 failed to gain support.

  • February 2016: Reggie Jones-Sawyer Sponsors AB 2863

    Online Poker Bill 2016

    Taking a third shot at his own California online poker bill, Jones-Sawyer introduces Assembly Bill 2863. Despite tweaks to make the bill palatable to both sides, the tribal casino operators cannot agree on the plan.

  • February 2017: Jones-Sawyer Introduces the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2017

    Online Poker California - Bad Actor Clause

    Jones-Sawyer backs the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2017, which again sought to bridge the gap between the Morongo and Pechanga tribes. The bill failed, so Jones-Sawyer suggested a “cooling off period” in 2018 and 2019.

  • June 2019: Gray-Dodd Bill to Legalize California Sports Betting

    Adam Gray CA Online Poker

    California Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray co-sponsored ACA 16, which would have made sports betting legal in California. The bill included online poker, with proponents hoping the popularity of sports betting would lure both sides to compromise. Again, online poker failed to gain traction.

Resources for This Article

  1. LATimes.com: New Internet poker bill a poor bet, opponents say
  2. Scribd.com: CA Bill SB 1485
  3. CA.Gov: California
    Gambling Laws and Regulations – 2012 Edition
  4. CA.Gov: Card Rooms List
  5. TwoPlusTwo.com: Best LA poker room for safety and action?
  6. CommerceCasino.com: Tournaments at the Commerce Casino
  7. 500Nations.com: California Casinos
  8. Barona.com
  9. DailyBreeze.com: Law enforcement cracking down on Internet gambling operations in Southern California
  10. NBCLosAngeles.com: SoCal Arrests in “Violent” International Sports Gambling Ring