California

california-locationCA is home to nearly 100 real money poker card rooms, 68 tribal casinos and a plethora of horseracing tracks and thanks to all those real cash gambling options, many people say California, and not Las Vegas, is the gambling capital of the United States. High stakes poker betting pros and rich businessmen alike flock to the state to play in some of the biggest real cash poker and casino games and tournaments in the world. Gigantic casinos like the Commerce attract millions of tourists to California each and every year, rivalling historic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame in popularity. Remember though, all these 2018 betting options are at land based casinos not poker websites or Internet casinos.

Due to its nearly 38 million residents, California is on the radar of just about every state that has already passed, or is in the process of passing, laws that legalize regulated Internet gambling and lawful real money Internet poker. Interstate compacts involving California would do wonders for the popularity of online poker websites in the United States.

However, although committees have been trying to hash out a plan that would bring legal Internet poker to California for some time, no new gambling legislation has actually been passed yet. But make no mistake; California is undoubtedly the state most likely to pass an iGaming bill in the very near future and open up casinos and poker websites to CA residents.

Avid poker players in The Golden State will have no trouble at all signing up for an account at any one of our real money US poker sites.

PokerStars Forges Historic Partnership With Morongo Tribe, California Cardrooms

In a joint press release submitted by the Rational Group, the Morongo Tribe of Mission Indians and three of California’s largest real cash poker cardrooms (the Commerce, the Bicycle and the Hawaii Gardens Casino), the group announced its plans to bring regulated online poker to the Golden State. PokerStars would not only serve as a sub-contractor for the conglomerate, but become their front facing brand and provide lawful Internet poker to betting fans in CA.

In a display of impeccable timing, the release was issued during a hearing held by the State Assembly’s Committee on Governmental Organization to discuss the fiscal and public policy implications of legalizing online real money poker in California.

Currently in 2018, the bills up for consideration by legislatures both call for a “bad actor” clause, which would effectively eliminate the world’s biggest Internet poker gambling provider, PokerStars from the equation.

The bad actor issue may inevitably delay the passage of a regulatory gaming act in California and cause serious delays on bringing legit poker gambling on the Internet to long suffering players in CA.

Latest California Poker News

California online poker bill Adam Gray AB 431 Adam Gray California Online Poker Bill Makeover Should Appeal to Legislators and TribesBy Daniel Ryder
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New Jersey online poker revenues New Jersey Online Poker Revenue Skid Could Give Other States PauseBy Jon Pineda
New Jersey online poker has been struggling to find its footing in the Garden State. This isn’t breaking news, of course: ever since the state produced impressive Internet…

Can Players from California Play Online Poker?

YesYes. Although online Internet poker will likely not be regulated by the state of California for another year, players are free to sign up with over a dozen real-money poker websites offering real money poker gambling to United States citizens, which is great news for poker gambling fans. Compare this to other states, like New York and Washington that make it difficult for players to start betting on Internet poker anywhere.

Is Online Poker Legal in California?

Maybe

legal-lawAlthough we are not an authority on the legality of Internet poker in California, we have researched this issue extensively. Listed below are several points of interest concerning 2018‘s current California real cash gambling laws:

  • Online poker is not regulated by the state of California.
  • Commercial casinos are authorized by the state of CA, however games where the outcome of each bet is determined by dice alone, such as craps, cannot be operated by card rooms that offer games like real money poker.
  • Tribal casinos are authorized by the state and can house non-card games like craps.
  • Sports betting is not authorized by the state of California.
  • Various forms of lotteries are authorized by the state
  • All forms of real money poker gambling are authorized by the state, except online Internet poker.
  • There is no California law directly prohibiting or criminalizing the act of placing a wager at a poker websites online.
  • Internet horseracing is authorized.

For a more comprehensive look at California gambling laws, interested parties are encouraged to read the latest edition of the Gambling Law, Regulations, and Resource Information – 2018 edition [1].

Poker players in California are advised to research the CA state laws before concluding as to whether online Internet poker is legal or not. Remember, there is a distinct difference between something being ‘prohibited’ and ‘non-regulated.’ Brian Mickers wrote a great article on the topic of lawful poker websites; one that provides in-depth insight into the issue of Internet poker [2].

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Recent Developments

californiaIn 2013, three separate pieces of real cash Internet poker legislation were introduced in California. They were:

  • SB 51 – Senator Roderick Wright’s “Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013”
  • SB 678 – Senator Lou Correa’s “Authorization and Regulation of Internet Poker and Consumer Protection Act of 2013”
  • The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013 – An online poker bill sponsored by eight California tribes.

The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015 was filed by Assemblyman Mark Gatto. The bill would legalize Internet poker but keep the ‘bad actor’ clause which bans poker operators who have violated the law before.

Besides Gatto’s 2015 Act, the he aforementioned lawful poker bills have all failed to generate much momentum in government, largely because of the influx of infighting among California State’s varied gambling interests at the time. Tribal casinos enjoy several tax advantages in the real money betting world, and may not be willing to give up a piece of revenue generated through real cash poker website profits. They’re also adamantly against interstate compacts and racetrack participation. Others feel that online Internet poker companies should only be allowed to operate through card rooms based in CA and bring betting fans a slice of the Internet Texas Hold’em action.

That, and there was little evidence from other states besides California as to the viability of a lawful Internet poker market.

Joe Correa made SB 678 severable. This means that if any portion of the gambling websites bill is deemed unacceptable it can be made invalid immediately. By taking this urgent measure, Correa hoped to get SB 678 enacted into law before the September 6, 2013 deadline. It didn’t work, and the issue of legit real money Internet poker was put off until 2014 [3].

Then, at the February 2014 legislative deadline, two new poker gambling website bills were introduced:

  • SB 1366: Effectively a rehash of SB 678; backed by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
  • AB 2291: Introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, AB 2291 is essentially the assembly version of SB 1366.

Unfortunately, all parties could not reach an agreement about the terms of the new regulations before the end of the 2014 session, meaning the bills were dumped.

In December 2014, Assemblyman Mike Gatto took over the online poker cause and filed a new bill, AB9. Its full title is the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015 and it aims to bring regulated legal online poker to CA.

Notable aspects of the bills include:

  • The real cash poker Internet bill would require provisions that would ensure the safety of player funds.
  • The minimum age to play online Internet poker in the state of California would be 21.
  • Players must be located within the State of California in order to start gambling on real money poker websites.
  • Betting companies that violate federal law would not be permitted to set up poker gambling and casino operations.
  • All online poker website software would have to include self-exclusion features such as loss limits and time-outs for real cash poker players to implement themselves.
  • Licenses for real money Internet poker would be valid for 10 years, non-transferable and cost $5 million.
  • Regulations would go into effect within 270 days of passage.

The Facts

The History of Gambling in California

1850

1850

Even before California became a state, card rooms have been up and running since 1850. These were also known as “California Casinos” or “Card Clubs”.

1933

1933

California’s gambling industry grew in 1933, with the introduction of horse race wagering. The California Constitution was amended for this to take place and 6 major horse racetracks were introduced to the state. In addition, over 30 off-track betting locations were spread throughout the state.

1984

1984

Due to Proposition 37, State lottery was introduced to California, which has been incredibly successful to this day.

1988

1988

The ‘Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’ was the main reason why gambling became even more popular throughout the State in the late 90’s. As a result of this, negotiations began with tribes (more than 50) and Bingo type games were the premise of these negotiations.

2000

2000

A law was passed in this year which fully legalised casino gambling on tribal lands. This gave the tribes an opportunity to negotiate their compacts and come to an agreement of what machines and table games they can offer in their casinos.

2010

2010

With the rise of internet gambling , California joined the craze and introduced horse racing betting over the internet. Which ultimately led to other forms of internet gambling being introduced in the near future.

2012

2012

The Californian Senate had a busy year with various bills to legalize and regulate online poker being put forward. It wasn’t clear whether the tribes would be a part of regulating and licensing online poker operators, but the idea was definitely being pushed forward.

2014

2014

Due to other states in the country legalising online poker, California was beginning to look like the next one on the list as two more bills were introduced to the Senate. Online poker is still up in the air in this state, but it is showing signs of potential for the near future.

historyCalifornia’s gambling roots can be traced all the way back to the gold rush and the ever popular Texas Hold’em poker game. As early as 1850, the predominately male population of prospectors and miners in CA demanded a masculine form of entertainment. Within mere months, licensed and unsolicited card rooms offering real cash poker games began popping up everywhere. Throughout the next several decades gambling’s popularity died down in California, not re-emerging until the early 1930’s.

In 1907, the Santa Anita Park – one of the most prestigious horseracing tracks in the entire world – opened its doors. However, it wouldn’t be until 1933 that real money gambling on horseracing was legalized in CA. Its legalization caused the relatively dormant poker betting and casino gambling industry to thrive. With the passing of a proposition in 1984 that legalized a statewide lottery, gambling became somewhat of a leisurely, everyday activity for real cash poker fans in CA and for other betting fans.

Around this time countless casinos were constructed; many of them home to poker rooms featuring upwards of 100 to 200 tables and offering classic Texas Hold’em real money poker games and many other popular poker variants. At 240 tables strong, the Los Angeles Commerce Casino [4] houses one of the largest poker gambling rooms not only in California but in the entire world.

Native American owned casinos became popular in the early 2000s. Tribal casinos enjoy several distinct advantages over traditional real cash legit poker card rooms including tax regulation, governing lease arrangements and the ability to offer legal gambling games besides real money poker, such as craps and roulette.

Poker players in California have a good chance of eventually being able to play poker online at legal US poker rooms.

Regulated Gambling Options In California

California is home to more gambling facilities than every state in the US outside of Nevada. It features over 100 legal poker card rooms, 68 tribal casinos, six racetracks and over 21,000 retail outlets licensed to sell lottery tickets. All told, citizens of the Golden State can rarely walk a block without running into some sort of lawful gambling outlet.

The Future Of Regulated Online Gambling In California

Right now, residents of California are permitted to engage in Internet betting on horseracing. All other forms of gambling, including online Internet poker for real cash, are not regulated by the state in 2018. However, it does appear that most of the CA State’s gambling powers are finally on board with online Internet poker-only website legislation. Expect them to come to terms shortly.


The Bottom Line

fun factsGiven its massive population, if California passes legislation legalizing online poker in The Golden State the Federal Government would be forced to notice – especially if it decides to hold firm on its stance regarding interstate compacts. In fact, some say that California could easily dominate the real money Internet poker website market.

California will undoubtedly enter the Internet poker and gambling arena at some point. The real question is when the legal poker and casino betting websites will start to hit the web. Before PokerStars re-entered the picture, it appeared as though CA State was on target for a mid-2015 launch of legit Internet poker. Now, whether legal online poker comes to California depends on how quickly rival factions can come to terms regarding the inclusion or exclusion of a bad actor clause.


References

[1] California – Gambling Law, Regulations, and Resource Information

[2] California Online Poker Bill Filed Away Until Next Year

[3] The Commerce Casino and Hotel

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