Legal Gambling

  1. Legal Gambling Age In California
  2. Legal Gambling States List
  3. Legal Gambling Age In Vegas

The State of Colorado dictates that anti-gambling laws be construed, 'Liberally,' and other than Social Gambling or Gambling authorized by the State, any other form of gambling (as a player) is a petty offense that could result in a fine. Gambling constitutes a Class 1 Petty Offense. The states also have differing legal gambling ages, with some states requiring the same minimum age for all types of gambling, while for others, it depends on the activity. For example, in New Jersey, an 18-year-old can buy a lottery ticket or bet on a horse race, but cannot enter a casino until age 21.


To see how far regulated gambling in the USA has come, we have made this timeline to show over 90 years worth of history. From the legalization in Nevada, up to the present day and a look at the states who are still to legalize gambling.

1931 – Introduction of legalized gambling in Nevada.

1949 – First government-sanctioned sportsbook opens in Las Vegas

1975 – First brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside a casino opens in Las Vegas, Nevada.

1961 – Wire Act passed to target racketeering. The act made it expressly illegal to use wire communication (phones, telegrams, and other means) to pass information that assisted in betting on sports.

1984 – Congress reduces tax on sportsbooks from 2% to 0.5%, making them even more economically viable.

1993 (January 1st) – Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) passed, expressly prohibiting states from either allowing or offering any sports betting services related to either professional or amateur sports. The entire state of Nevada is “grandfathered”, meaning Vegas sportsbooks are exempt of the legislation.

Supreme Court ruling on PASPA back in 1993

1996 – First online bet is placed at Austrian-based Intertops sportsbook.

2006 – Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed, criminalizing the act of accepting money from any person who was a part of an unlawful online gambling operation occurring on US soil. Online books are forced to go “offshore”.

2011 (April 15th) – Criminal case brought against three of the largest online poker companies operating, effectively wiping out the entire industry in the U.S.

2012 (January) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signs legislation allowing sports betting in the state, a move that would ultimately help lead to repeal of PASPA.

2013 – New Jersey online casinos and poker sites begin operating.


March 10th – West Virginia legalizes sports betting, making way for August 2018 launch.

Legal gambling states

West Virginia was one of the first states to legalize sports betting

May 14th – U.S. Supreme Court repeals federal law (PASPA) preventing individual states from regulating sports betting. The law had been passed on January 1st 1993.

June 5th – Legal sports betting begins in Delaware at the state’s three casinos. The Delaware Lottery is charged with regulation and oversight of the industry.

June 14th – First retail sportsbooks open in New Jersey.

August 1st – Legal sports betting begins in Mississippi albeit limited to water- and land-based casinos.

August 6th DraftKings Sportsbook app, created under a partnership with Kambi and casino license of Resorts, becomes first legal online option for New Jersey bettors. playMGM and SugarHouse Sportsbooks launch in the same month.

August 30th – soft launch of retail sports betting in West Virginia at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town, as a result of partnership with Penn Gaming National and DraftKings. Full launch two days later.

September – New Jersey online bettors get five further options: BetStars Sportsbook (later rebranded to FOX Bet Sept. 2019), FanDuel Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook.

September 13th – FanDuel opens retail sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier (a private club) in West Virginia.

October 16th – sports betting starts at the tribally-owned Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel, New Mexico.

November 17th – William Hill in partnership with Hollywood Casino launch Pennsylvania’s first retail sportsbook.

November 21st – William Hill launches third retail sportsbook in West Virginia in partnership with Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.

December 11th – PointsBet NJ Sportsbook soft launch (full launch Jan. 2019). The Australian company introduces a new way to bet – ‘PointsBetting’ – to a U.S. audience.

December 15th – SugarHouse Sportsbook and Rivers Sportsbook PA launch out of temporary locations in Pennsylvania.

December 28th – First sports betting app,, launches in West Virginia.

The site launched in West Virginia


March 7th – ceases operations due to legal dispute between owner Delaware North and supplier, Mionmi. Bettors in the Mountaineer State left without mobile options until Aug.26.

March 13th – FanDuel launch retail sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino.

May 3rd – Legal sports betting in Montana signed into law; launch pending regulations being finalized.

May 8th – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signs a sports betting bill into law, allowing statewide wagering.

May 28th – Mobile betting begins in Pennsylvania with launch of SugarHouse Sportsbook betting app.

May 13th – Sports betting legalized in Iowa.

June – Parx Sportsbook and BetRivers online/mobile sportsbooks launch in Pennsylvania.

June 28th – Illinois Gov. J.B. Prtitzker signs sports betting bill into law, but industry not expected to launch until 2020.

July 1st – Legal sports betting starts in Arkansas at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Mobile wagering not allowed in the state currently.

July 1st – Online sports wagering legalized in Tennessee. All betting must be done online or via a mobile device as no casinos in the state. Expected launch in second half of 2020.

July 12th – New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signs sports betting bill into law. Target launch date is July 1, 2020.

July 16th – Almost six years after first becoming legal, New York sports betting becomes reality at the Rivers Casino, Schenectady. Mobile/online betting currently off the table, but that could change in 2020.

July 22nd – FanDuel Sportsbook PA goes live in Keystone State.

July 26th – Sports betting is legalized in North Carolina but only at retail locations initially. Early 2020 launch anticipated.

August 15th – legal sports betting – both retail and mobile – starts in Iowa at eight of the state’s authorized casinos (18 of the 19 casinos given approval). Bettors have to first register in person and through to Jan. 1 2021.

August 26th – FanDuel Sportsbook mobile app goes live in West Virginia.

August 27th – legal sports betting hits the West Coast with launch of retail sportsbook at the tribally-owned Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City.

August 28th – DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app goes live in West Virginia.

September 1st – retail sports betting starts in Indiana, with ceremonial first bets placed at the Caesars Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville by Gov. Holcomb.

September 4th – Rhode Island launches mobile sports betting at one casino with legal minimum age set at 18. Bettors have to first create accounts in person.

September 12th – Fox Sports launch FOX-Bet-branded app in Pennsylvania, the first of its kind by a U.S. media company.

September 24th – Kindred Group, in partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono, launch Unibet-branded retail sportsbook.

European giants go live in New Jersey

October 3rd – Draftkings and BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive) launch mobile apps in Indiana.

October 3rd – Ted Leonsis, the owner of Capital One Arena, Washington D.C., signs deal with William Hill. Construction of sportsbook – the first inside a U. S. Sports venue – to begin after all required regulatory approvals.

Get A $500 Risk Free Bet

October 11th – The Meadows officially becomes the 10th Pennsylvania casino with a retail sportsbook, following a soft launch two days earlier.

October 16th – Oregon State Lottery launches Scoreboard app, becoming first lottery in the U.S. to offer online sports betting.

October 20th – after a rocky start, the Scoreboard app hits one million dollars in wagers and despite absence of any NCAA games. Bettors must visit the Chinook Winds Casino to place these in person.

October 22nd – FanDuel launch mobile betting product in Indiana through a partnership with Blue Chip Casino and Belterra Casino.

As of 2019, October 24th, there are 13 U.S. states with legal, regulated sports betting industries (either retail, mobile or both), as follows:

Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa, Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico*.

*not strictly legal but offered under existing tribal gaming compact.

Projected to legalize in 2020

11 states in total: Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia.

Projected to legalize in 2021

Seven states in total: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and Texas.

Legal sports betting nowhere in sight

14 states in total: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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California is the most populous state in America, with almost 40 million people living there.

California is sometimes portrayed as having a vacation lifestyle and being carefree. Because of this, it’s hard to believe that any casinos other than tribal ones are prohibited. They also have strict laws regarding race betting, slot machines and other forms of gambling.

One type of gambling that’s completely legal in California, though, is online gambling.

You can learn everything you need to know about California gambling sites on this page.

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Online Gambling and California Law

Is Online Gambling Legal in California?

Yes, online gambling is legal in California.

In fact, California laws don’t prohibit, regulate, or ban any type of online gambling. You can feel free to play on any online casino and enjoy your favorite casino or card games that you can’t find in the state.

The only law regarding online gambling in California is the age limit. You must be 21 years or older to legally gamble online.

Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in California?

No, but starting an online casino or gambling business in California is illegal – you can definitely get arrested for that.

You can also be arrested if you don’t pay taxes on revenue earned from any online gambling you do.

If you’re just a player and not an owner, and if you pay your taxes, you’re in the clear.

Also On This Page

More Gambling Laws in California
Gambling Venues in California
The History of Gaming Laws in California
The Furture of Gambling in California

More Gambling Laws in California

  • Casino Games (Legal)
  • Slot Machines (Illegal)
  • Sports Betting (Legal)
  • Racing Betting (Parimutuel Only)
  • Lottry (Legal)
  • Bingo (Legal With Restrictions)
  • Draw Poker (Legal With Restrictions)
  • Social Gambling (Illegal)

Section 19801 of The Gambling Control Act says:

“(a)State law prohibits commercially operated lotteries, banked or percentage games, and gambling machines, and strictly regulates parimutuel wagering on horse racing. To the extent that state law categorically prohibits certain forms of gambling and prohibits gambling devices, nothing herein shall be construed, in any manner, to reflect a legislative intent to relax those prohibitions.

(b)The State of California has permitted the operation of gambling establishments for more than 100 years. Gambling establishments were first regulated by the State of California pursuant to legislation which was enacted in 1984. Gambling establishments currently employ more than 20,000 people in the State of California, and contribute more than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in taxes and fees to California’s government. Gambling establishments are lawful enterprises in the State of California, and are entitled to full protection of the laws of this state.”

Casino games: Legal

California only allows tribal casinos. The tribal casinos usually offer poker, blackjack, bingo, keno, video poker and slot machines.

Card rooms are allowed in California. These are different from casinos because players bet against each other and not the house. These establishments make their money by charging players a fee to play. This often takes the form of a 5% contribution from each pot, which is called the rake.

Card rooms are state regulated, and offer games like poker and pai gow.

Here’s what the State of California Department of Justice says about card rooms:

“All controlled games (pai-gow, poker, etc.) and gaming activities (jackpots, bonuses, tournaments, etc.) must be approved by the Bureau and must comply with local gaming ordinances prior to their play at a licensed gambling establishment within California.”

Slot Machines: Illegal

Slot machines are illegal to own unless they’re antiques. Antique slot machines must be over 25 years old, and must not be used for real money gambling.

Here’s what section 330.7 of the California Law, Regulations, Resource Information says about antique slot machines:

“(a) It shall be a defense to any prosecution under this chapter relating to slot machines, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 330b, if the defendant shows that the slot machine is an antique slot machine and was not operated for gambling purposes while in the defendant’s possession. For the purposes of this section, the term “antique slot machine” means a slot machine that is over 25 years of age.”

Sports betting: Legal

Betting on sports in California is legal, but accepting bets on sports or bookmaking is illegal.

Here’s what section 337a of the Penal Code says about bookmaking:

“Except as provided in Section 336.9, every person who engages in one of the following offenses, shall be punished for a first offense by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year or in the state prison, or by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both imprisonment and fine:

(1)Pool selling or bookmaking, with or without writing, at any time or place.”

Legal gambling age in california

Online sports betting is legal in California. No legal sports book in the United States takes bets online because of the Federal Wire Act. But you can find plenty of online sports books who would be happy to take your action from California. We suggest several trustworthy offshore California gambling sites. You can play at any of them with confidence.

Racing betting: Parimutuel Only

What is parimutuel betting?

It’s when player’s bets are put together in a pool, the taxes and track fees are deducted and the pool is then divided among the winning players.

Here’s what section 19590 of the Business and Professions Code says about wagering on horse racing:

“The board shall adopt rules governing, permitting, and regulating parimutuel wagering on horse races under the system known as the parimutuel method of wagering. Parimutuel wagering shall be conducted only by a person or persons licensed under this chapter to conduct a horse racing meeting or authorized by the board to conduct advance deposit wagering.”

Dog racing is illegal in the state of California.

Lottery: Legal

California has a state regulated lottery that provides a variety of games. A few of these games include SuperLotto Plus and Mega Millions.

Here’s what section 8880.1 of the California Government Code says about the lottery:

“The People of the State of California declare that the purpose of this Act is support for preservation of the rights, liberties and welfare of the people by providing additional monies to benefit education without the imposition of additional or increased taxes. The People of the State of California further declare that it is their intent that the net revenues of the California State Lottery shall not be used as substitute funds but rather shall supplement the total amount of money allocated for public education in California.”

Bingo: Tribal Casinos and Charitable Games Only

You can find regular gambling bingo in approved tribal casinos. Mega7s.

You won’t find regular bingo halls in California–the only approved bingo is when played for charity. Charitable bingo games can only be held once per year, and no cash prizes can be given out.

Here’s what section 19985 of The Gambling Control Act says about nonprofit organization fundraisers:

“(a)Nonprofit organizations provide important and necessary services to the people of the State of California with respect to educational and social services and there is a need to provide methods of fundraising to nonprofit organizations so as to enable them to meet their stated purposes.

(b)The playing of controlled games for the purpose of raising funds by nonprofit organizations is in the public interest.

(c)Uniform regulation for the conduct of controlled games is in the best interests of nonprofit organizations and the people of this state.”

Social Gambling: Illegal

Illegal forms of gambling in California include:

  • Faro
  • Monte
  • Roulette
  • Lansquenet
  • Rouge et noire
  • Rondo
  • Tan
  • Fan-tan
  • Seven-and-a-half
  • Twenty-one
  • Hokey-pokey

If you’re caught betting in any of these games you can end up paying $1,000 in fines and spending six months in jail.

Here’s what section 330 of the California Gambling Law, Regulations, and Resource Information says about illegal forms of gambling and the punishment for it:

“Every person who deals, plays, or carries on, opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, any game of faro, monte, roulette, lansquenet, rouge et noire, rondo, tan, fan-tan, seven-and a-half, twenty-one, hokey-pokey, or any banking or percentage game played with cards, dice, or any device, for money, checks, credit, or other representative of value, and every person who plays or bets at or against any of those prohibited games, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punishable by a fine not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.”

Draw Poker: Legal With Restrictions

California counties that have more than 4 million residents prohibit draw poker.

Here’s what section 337 of the California Law, Regulations, and Resource Information says about it:

“(a) This section applies only in counties with a population exceeding 4,000,000. (b) Every person who deals, plays, or carries on, opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, any game of draw poker, including lowball poker, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(e) The Legislature finds that in counties with a large, concentrated population, problems incident to the playing of draw poker are, in part, qualitatively, as well as quantitatively, different from the problems in smaller counties. The Legislature finds that counties with a population exceeding 4,000,000 constitute a special problem, and it is reasonable classification to adopt prohibitory legislation applicable only to such counties.”

Gambling Venues in California

65 active tribal casinos and 94 gaming establishments or card rooms operate in California.

Here are some of the current tribal casinos in the state:

    1) Win-River Casino

    2100 Redding Rancheria Road

    Redding, California 96001-5530

    2) Winnedumah Winn’s Casino

    135 South Highway 395

    Independence, California 93526

    3) Table Mountain Casino

    8184 Table Mountain Road

    Friant, California 93626 800-541-3637

    4) Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino

    17225 Jersey Avenue

    Lemoore, California 93245-9760

    5) San Pablo Lytton Casino

    13255 San Pablo Ave

    San Pablo, CA 94806

    6) Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino

    25575 Highway 79 PO Box 600

    Santa Ysabel, California 92070

    7) Red Fox Casino & Bingo

    200 Cahto Drive

    Laytonville, California 95454

    8) Red Hawk Casino

    1 Red Hawk Boulevard

    Placerville, CA 95667

    9) Paiute Palace Casino

    2742 North Sierra Highway

    Bishop, California 93514

    10) Pala Casino Spa Resort

    11154 Highway 76

    Pala, California 92059

History of Gambling in California


Horse race betting becomes legal at six tracks and many offtrack betting establishments.


The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act helps bring casino gambling business to California by forming compacts with over 50 tribes. The tribes start their casinos with bingo-style games.


Casino gambling is fully legalized on tribal land. Individual compacts are formed with each tribe to agree on the type and number of games the casinos can run.


Horse race betting online is officially legalized for California residents.


Attempts to regulate online poker are put before the California Senate. They fail.


Another attempt to regulate online poker is put before the California Senate. They fail again.

Additional Resources

California’s Gambling Future

Brick and mortar establishments are pushing heavily for state regulated online gambling. Because of the large population, having state regulated gambling would allow huge online tournaments and promotions at California gambling sites.

One setback of the state regulated online gambling is the tribal casinos. The tribal casinos have run casino gambling in California for years, so they want to be responsible for online gambling too.

Aside from regulating online gambling, we don’t foresee much change in the California gambling law. You can find plenty of casinos and card rooms throughout the state. The state lottery and horse racing venues aren’t going anywhere soon, either.