Sports Betting: California Guide

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As of this writing, sports betting in California is stuck in a gray zone of sorts and there are no signs that this will change anytime soon. Despite all of the efforts that have been into making state-sanctioned sports betting a reality, there has been little to no progress. However, this does not imply that sportsbook services are completely non-existent in America’s largest state. In fact, it boasts of one of the most vibrant sports betting markets in the country.

California Sports Teams

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One of the reasons why the push for state-regulated sports betting is such a big deal in California is because of the bustling sports fandom in the state. It is easily one of the states where you will find the largest number of sports teams each with multitudes of dedicated fans.

California Professional Sports Teams

As of the time this guide was written, California had a whopping 18 professional sports teams participating in different pro sports leagues in the United States.

Some of these amazing pro sports teams include:

Aside from the professional sports teams, the state also happens to have many amazing California high school sports teams. There are also a notable number of collegiate sports teams in the state and each of these also has a massive following from California’s residents.

How many professional sports teams are in California?

California has 18 professional sports franchises with six major league teams in three cities – San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.

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Even though California is arguably the state with the biggest potential when it comes to sports betting, it is yet to legalize sports betting within its borders. While things may change in the future, the only way that residents can enjoy some sports betting action is through offshore sports betting sites. These sites do not fall under the jurisdiction of the state and are thus safe and legal to use.

Online Sports Betting California

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Similar to the case of sports betting in the Golden State, state-sanctioned online sportsbooks are simply non-existent here. Still, players from the state can enjoy placing wagers on their favorite sports and teams thanks to the existence of offshore sportsbooks most of which have been offering their services to Californians for quite some time.

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In the pursuit of legalized sports betting, California has been under quite a lot of pressure to do so while being driven by the economic prospects of such a move. Some proponents of the idea of legal sports betting in the state have estimated that the sector could generate nearly $300 million in just the first six months of its launch. The amount could grow to as much as $2.5 billion annually after a few years as the sector continues to mature. That is certainly worth paying at least some attention to.

The Actual California Sports Betting Bill

The push for legal sports betting began way back in 2018 which was the same year when the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. A couple of bills have been discussed previously but none of them has yet to bear any fruit, at least just not yet.

As it stands, there is a bill that is currently being evaluated by government officials. As of the time of this writing, the bill is still in its petition phase where signatures are being gathered. Enough of those will be required if the process of implementing some legal changes should be implemented.

California Sports Betting Law

Sports betting is generally not legal in California and this holds for all sporting activities save for wagering on horse races at designated tracks. The state has a pretty strong horse racing culture and betting on the sport is one of the forms of gambling that have stayed in the stayed for nearly a century. For other forms of sports betting you will need to look elsewhere, at least for now.

California Online Betting Laws

Just like it is the case with sports betting, California online sports betting as a state-sanctioned operation is non-existent. Since there are no state-run online gambling platforms for its residents to use, they have had to turn to offshore online betting (California) platforms which are not monitored or regulated by local California authorities – there is a bit of a grey area here but you won’t need to worry about getting into any trouble for using them. Some may have to set up accounts with offshore sites using VPNs which is acceptable on many sites.

Can You Bet on Sports in California?

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Yes, betting on sports while in California is possible. If you like to bet on horse races, the state allows this and you can catch some of that action at several venues. When it comes to other forms of sports betting, however, players tend to use the option of creating accounts with offshore sportsbooks. As mentioned earlier, these sites do not fall within the jurisdiction of the local authorities in California and players are therefore not explicitly breaking federal or state laws by using them. Just make sure that you choose a reputable gambling site as safety of sites are independent of their legal status.

How to Bet on Sports in California

Knowing how to sports bet in California is a fairly simple and straightforward process that just about anyone can follow. All you need to do is:

  • Find a suitable sportsbook – one that is reputable and is regulated.
  • Create an account with the site by providing all the necessary sign-up info.
  • Add funds to your online sports betting account using any available payment option.
  • Claim any available bonuses.
  • Find the sports markets that you would like to bet on.
  • Review the odds and place your bets based on this.

Sports Betting Sites California Residents Can Use

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Sports bettors in California have many great options when it comes to the sports betting sites they can use. Some of the best sports betting sites California players can experience are actually offshore, these include:

Top Sports Betting App California Players Can Download

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If you prefer to bet on your mobile phone, the state’s residents also have a solid number of apps available to them. Thankfully, these apps or mobile-optimized online gambling sites are also from reputable sports betting brands which means that the experience is just as good if not better depending on how you prefer to enjoy wagering on your favorite sports and teams.

When it comes to mobile sports betting, California offers some excellent choices including:

Off Track Betting (California)

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As we mentioned earlier, California has a rich history when it comes to horse racing and, by extension, horse race betting. The state boasts of a solid selection of race tracks and off-track betting venues. Off-track betting officially became legal way back in the late 80s and since then the activity has blossomed as horse racing continued to flourish.

Here is a list of some of California’s off-track betting locations:

  • Del Mar Off Track Betting Bureau
  • Santa Barbara Off Track Betting

  • The Derby Club at Ventura
  • Striders San Diego
  • Fresno off Track Betting Bureau

  • Original Roadhouse Grill
  • Sacramento Off Track Betting Bureau

Where to Bet on Kentucky Derby in California

Placing bets on the Kentucky Derby is possible at both the off-track betting venues in California as well as online on gambling sites such as BetOnline and TVG.


When will sports betting be legal in California?

There is currently no specific timeline as to when state-sanctioned sports betting will finally arrive in California. However, some developments have shown a lot of promise in 2021 and some experts speculate that the activity could finally become a reality in the state by 2023 if not sooner.

Is online sports betting legal in California?

No, online sports betting like land-based sports betting is not legal nor regulated inside California. Players looking to partake in such activities will need to do so on platforms that operate or process their payments outside of California.