Best Real Money Online Casino California 🇺🇸

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Known as the Mecca for all those with a dream, The Golden State is the final destination of hordes of glory hounds looking for a shortcut to stardom, ambitious young actors, modern-day bohemians, professional casino high rollers, and small-time sports betting gamblers trying to get by. Regardless of the label that you are carrying, California will make room for you and help you find your very own place under its sun, giving you a taste of everything it has to offer: great opportunities and a wide range of California online casino and sports betting sites.

With a liberal attitude towards different forms of gambling, California has recently started paving the way for legalization of sports betting, looking to overturn the Federal Law that forbids this activity. In reality, the state government is only building the basis for pulling the online sports betting from the black markets into the light of day, where taxes can be applied; in the meantime, the games of chance & skills aficionados can make do with the Cardrooms, Parimutuel Horse Racing, Charitable Gaming, Indian Gaming and Lottery, the legal forms of gambling available within the state borders.

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Best Casinos California

According to the information from 2017, there are currently 62 land-based casinos in California, operated in conformance with the state’s legal requirements. This number excludes the Cardrooms (almost 90 of them), which, although referred to as “casinos”, lack one significant element that would classify them as such – Cardrooms do not have any slot machines.

The casinos in California are operated by federally recognized Native American tribes, in accordance with IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). Ranging from small venues with no more than a few slots to large casinos with hundreds of thousands of square meters and thousands of slot machines, they all contribute to adding billions in annual revenue which has a continual growth trend.

Considering the fact that some of tribe operated casinos, such as Pechanga Resort, have over 4,000 slot machines and almost 200,000 square feet of gaming space, this hardly comes as a surprise.

The second in line is Morongo Casino, with the tallest casino tower in the Inland Empire; Morongo occupies 44 acres of land and has more than 2,000 slot machines and table games. The numbers seem staggering – maybe even difficult to justify – but one would only have to look at the statistics to understand the investments made in the gambling industry. More than 80 million people made a visit to a casino in a single year and the numbers are bound to hit the roof once the remaining states resolve the legal status of sports betting, which California is on a brink of doing, as already mentioned above.

The location of the California brick and mortar casinos definitely helps with the numbers and the growing annual revenue; the venues have gradually spread throughout the entire state, after the California Proposition 1A in 2000, aka Gambling on Tribal Lands Amendment. There are of course certain restrictions which concern Craps and Roulette games (they do however exist, only not in their native forms – both Craps and Roulette are offered as card games), but other than that, the offer is quite substantial, making Californian casinos serious competitors to New Jersey and Nevada.

Best casinos in northern california

  • Cache Creek Casino Resort – Cache Creek Casino Resort won the Daily Republic’s 2016 Reader’s Choice award for Best Casino.
  • Thunder Valley Casino – Thunder Valley Casino Resort is located outside of Sacramento off Highway 65 in Lincoln.
  • Red Hawk Casino – Located 30 miles east of Sacramento on Highway 50. Red Hawk Casino offers 2,100 slot machines and 75 table games.

Best casinos in southern california

  • Barona Resort & Casino – Award-winning guest service and phenomenal hospitality. Barona offers over 2,400 slots and 120 table games.
  • Pechanga Resort & Casino – Pechanga Resort Casino is wholly owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
  • Harrah’s Resort Southern California – Come out and play at Harrah’s Southern California, the fun, friendly San Diego casino and AAA Four Diamond Award winning hotel.

Legal Aspects of Gambling in California

The official gambling regulatory body in California is CGCC, short for California Gambling Control Commission, whose goal is to monitor and foster fair competitive gambling thus eliminating every element of corruption and crime. This is precisely the reason why sports betting advocates will have to wait on this form of gambling to be recognized as legal and accepted under the governmental wings; legalizing it opens the possibility of sports commercialization, conflict of interests and rigged matches, etc. Still, the fact remains that millions of California residents already participate in some form of sports betting, which makes them extremely vulnerable and unprotected, calling the state to urgent action.

Once the sports betting becomes a part of CGCC legal jurisdiction, the interest of all the players, as well as the state, will be fully protected. In order words, the players will be able to count on having a legal shield between them and any known form of violation, whereas the state will increase their annual revenue with the taxes generated from sports betting.

Online casino gambling is technically allowed in California and the residents who access internet sites that provide these types of services will not be penalized. Apart from the age requirement, no other restrictions are applied. Finding an online casino that accepts US-based casino players is an entirely different matter altogether. Due to different legal regulations across USA territory and the fact that online gambling in the USA is actually a gray area with an undefined status. A large number of online casinos do not accept players from this location, regardless of the state. This does not mean that they are impossible to find, but the search will require a bit more time and not every casino you come across will welcome players from the United States.

What is clearly specified is the position that the law takes on California citizens setting up online casinos – the state strictly forbids it. This is one rule that’s not opened for interpretation and the government will not cut any slacks there. Two other forms of gambling banished from California are Roulette and Craps. Dice and Ball game variants will not be tolerated in the Golden State, which is why the casino proprietors had to find an alternative solution for their players who are the fans of these two games of chance. Both Roulette and Craps can, in fact, be found in Californian gambling parlous, but in the forms that do not make them illegal – the structure is changed with the introduction of playing cards.

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Available California Online Casino Games

The games are divided into three classes, each falling under a different set of state regulations. The Class I games are placed outside the state regulatory area since they include ceremonial games or certain social games with low-value prizes. As such, Class I games are regulated by the Tribal government.

Class II games fall under a more typical casino offer and, as such, require a state permit. Bingo, Lotto, Punch Boards, Pull Tabs, non-banked Card games are only some of the games placed under this category and the number of Class II variants that the tribal-operated casino can offer is unlimited. Unlike Class I games that are only regulated by the tribes, this category is handled by NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission) as well.

Drawing a clear line between Class II and Class III games is becoming increasingly difficult due to the rapid technological advancement in the industry. There is no doubt that the future will continue to blur the lines between the two groups, however, at the moment, Class III covers all commercial games that cannot be classified under the first two categories: Blackjack, Baccarat, Slots…

Other forms of betting in a California online casino include Horse Racing, California State Lottery, Parimutuel Wagering, and Charitable Gaming operated by non-profit organizations. The latter often comes in the form of Bingo, although raffles and poker nights can also be organized.

California Online Casino and Sports Betting FAQ

Which is the largest land-based casino in CA?

As mentioned above, Pechanga in San Diego is considered to be the largest venue in California, with no less than 188,000 square feet casino floor, more than 4,000 slots, 150+ Table games, and a modern Bingo area with 700 seats. San Manuel in Highland does not fall far behind (4,200 slot machines) while Morongo in Cabazon is placed inside a 27-story building, 101 m high, hosting over a hundred table games: Roulette, Blackjack, multiple poker tables, 2,000 slot machines…

Is online casino playing and betting legal in California?

It would be more accurate to say that it’s not illegal. Residents are not forbidden from taking part in California online casino and sports gambling (as long as the age requirement is met) but one will not be allowed to run an online gambling facility.

What are the legal repercussions of gambling online for California based players?

The penalties for any form of illegal gambling, as defined by the state law, include Misdemeanor Probation, a fine or county jail time.

What the future looks like for sports betting (online, land-based and sports) in California?

We would have to say – bright! With one state after the other passing the sports gambling legislation, it’s a matter of time when all land-based casinos will include sports betting platform, attracting a much higher number of players: those who are practicing sports betting under a radar and those who are interested in the commercial side of sports but choose to abide by law.

What is the legal age requirement for gambling in the state?

State Lottery and Horse Race bettors must be 18, while gambling in an Indian casino resort requires you to be over 18; in theory, the casinos accept all players who are 18, but in reality, some facilities raise the age bar and accept only players who are 21 or older. In case you are not certain of the age requirement of the casino you would like to visit, it would probably be best to simply make a phone inquiry and make sure to bring your ID with you.

Written by Shane Pickrell

Shane PickrellShane Pickrell is a seasoned expert in the world of online gambling, with a profound passion for enhancing the gaming experience through his deep knowledge of online live dealer games. With over a decade of involvement in the industry, Shane has established himself as a respected authority on the intricacies of live dealer gaming and its dynamic impact on the gambling landscape.

Shane’s journey into the realm of online gambling was paved with a solid educational foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from a prestigious university in the United States. His academic pursuits not only honed his analytical skills but also provided him with a well-rounded understanding of the business and technological aspects of the online gaming industry.