Is Online Sports Betting Legal in California

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

California does not license online sportsbooks, however, a number of offshore gambling sites are accessible from the state.  The question of legality will receive a different answer depending on who you ask.

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The Offshore Books

Offshore betting companies the likes of Bookmaker have been around since 1986.  These companies over the years have assembled powerful legal teams that work with local governments to ensure what they are doing is legal.

A number of jurisdictions - Antigua, Costa Rica, Malta, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar - have become synonymous with online gambling, having set up successful hubs for the activity. 

Companies that operate from these Internet gambling hubs argue that, unless a state explicitly passes a law stating that online gambling is illegal, they have every right to access that market.  A World Trade Organization ruling supports this notion.

Some states disagree.

In May 2018 the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing sports betting nationwide.  Each state has the option of amending their own laws to allow for gambling expansion through sports betting.

California Licensing of Sportsbooks

California is unlikely to license sports betting businesses any time soon due to the complicated relationship between the state and its tribal nations.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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