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US Gambling Sites / California Online Casinos: Legal Sweepstakes Casinos in California

California Online Casinos: Legal Sweepstakes Casinos in California

Our ultimate Social Casino List for California

Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Last Updated on 04/01/2023
Fact checked by: Drew the DFS Guy

Online gambling currently isn't regulated within the state of California, but there are sections of the state where you can gamble legally in person.

Alongside retail casinos, California-based casino enthusiasts can look to load up top gaming titles at a credible social or sweepstakes casino. As they fall under different laws to real money online gambling, they are completely legal across the state. Let's take a look at what they offer.

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History of gambling in California - The story so far

Poker inside legal casinos, including card rooms, are not illegal throughout the state and they have been a favorite place for many visitors since 1850, back when California first became a state. The lottery has been around since the 1980s, and with 21,000 different retailers and 10 different lottery options, there are plenty of options to choose from.

The horse racetracks were introduced in 1933. Six major racetracks are offered throughout the state that you can bet on and watch the races inside the casinos. Native American land-based casinos were legalized and allowed in 2000, which took some time to pass. After the regulation of the taxes and other specifics of the casinos were negotiated, they were able to run and provide gambling inside their casinos as long as they were constructed on their land.

According to the compacts and negotiations, many of the casinos are able to provide both Class 1 and Class 2 gaming experiences which include both slot machines and table games to use. Craps and roulette are illegal to play throughout these casinos, so they are usually not offered. Card versions of these games, as well as video slot machines, can also be found, as these are allowed.

The revenue that currently comes from the legal gambling options throughout the state generates more than any other state in the country, making it an ideal place to find yourself playing. Those casinos offered through Native Americans may vary from one another because each agreement between new casinos was negotiated separately.

If we look beyond the setting of brick-and-mortar casinos and take ourselves online, the story is slightly different. Real money online casinos are still strictly prohibited across the state; however, social and sweepstakes casinos are great alternatives that can be enjoyed by all California residents. As these types of casinos fall under different laws, they are deemed completely legal and do not require a purchase to play. In the guide below, you'll be able to see a full breakdown of the types of gambling provided to those residing or visiting California.

Gambling Guide

Permitted / Offered? Notes & Restrictions
Land-Based Casinos Yes
Online Gambling Yes Certain restrictions apply to the types of gambling allowed. Parimutuel horse betting is allowed, alongside social and sweepstakes casinos.
Sports Betting No Horse betting and DFS are two sports betting options that are legal, all other sports betting is currently not regulated in the state.
Lottery Yes Both state-wide lottery options and multi-state options are available and legal to play.
Daily Fantasy Sports Yes
House Gambling No The only time that house gambling is allowed is if it is for a charitable event where money is being raised.
Minimum Gambling Age 18 or 21 18 for all gambling options besides some land-based casinos that offer alcohol within their establishments, where it is 21 years of age.

The land-based casinos throughout California are legal to spend money and have a good time in, but these casinos have to fall under specific categories in order to be deemed as legal. California casinos have to be listed as one of the following in order to be considered legal forms of gambling:

  • Indian Casinos
  • Card Clubs
  • Pari-Mutuel Horse Betting
  • Charitable Gaming Events
  • State Lottery

Those that set up California casino games to raise money or awareness are allowed, but only for the event. Anything outside of the event is not considered legal. This is true for other establishments that have not set up the legality of the casino. California casinos have to file the necessary paperwork in order to have the approval to operate within the state.

Illegal forms of gambling in California include playing craps with dice, meaning that the traditional game cannot be played. Other forms of the game may be offered inside legal casino options.

There are currently no laws making online casino gambling in California legal, though lawmakers have tried to push legislation through several times now. That means that local players can't legally participate in online gambling just yet. While that's upsetting for many, it's not the end by any means. California looks likely to pass an online gambling bill in the coming years and players are likely to enjoy legal online wagering soon enough. It's very much a similar situation in some other states. For example, finding the best online casino New Hampshire means going offshore. However, until such time as real money online casinos are legalized, gamblers in both states can enjoy social casinos and play at sweepstakes casinos without an issue.

Why can you legally play at California social and sweepstake casinos?

You’ll already know that you can’t legally play with real money at online casinos from California. While this might be underwhelming, it doesn’t mean that you can’t play online slots and table games from the Golden State.

This is because it’s perfectly fine for anyone from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego or anywhere else in the state to play at California social casinos and sweepstake casinos. Sure, you can’t wager real money at these sites, but social and sweepstake casinos still make up a decent proportion of the sites on a list of the best online casinos.

After all, these sites let you play online casino games with real money and you can sometimes win real prizes for taking part. Because California sweepstake casinos and social casinos don’t really have anything that can be considered gambling, they are exempt from the gambling laws that govern real money casino sites.

The only thing to consider is the fact that you’ll have to be at least 18 years old to play at California social casinos and sweepstakes casinos. All of this means that you’ll get a great way to play from anywhere in the Golden State.

Social casinos in California - If you want to play online casinos, but not for real money

Those who want to spend time with other people or just have a little fun playing California casino games can find that social casinos hit the spot. California social casinos are a great way of legally gambling in the state and still having a good time playing. There are plenty of online casinos in California that offer this type of fun by using virtual currency in place of real money for gambling.

Many casinos in California are starting to recognize the benefits that come with social casinos. The regulated Native -American-run casinos are offering both online and onsite social casino gatherings, games, plus many other events for players throughout the state. We at CaptainGambling have also created specific reviews on the very best social casinos that are available in California, offering you a complete insider look at the very best places to play online.

The rise of California social casinos

There are now lots of great social casino sites that you can play from California. This means that you can simply fire up your computer and look forward to playing online slots and table games for free. Plus, we’ve even seen a growing number of social casino apps that give you a seriously easy way to play from your smartphone or tablet.

Social casinos simply let you take on friends and family when playing online slots and table games. You’ll be able to play for free and the focus is strictly on having fun.

  • Play slots and table games for fun
  • Cannot be classed as gambling
  • Available everywhere in California

Our favorite social casinos for California residents

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Why California social casinos are all about those promos

Go to pretty much any one of our shortlist of social casinos and you’ll find lots of special offers waiting for you. Each of these deals will give you simple ways to get lots of credit to play with. Here are just some of the bonuses and promos to look out for:

Sign-up offers

This is where you will get a big batch of free credit just for signing up to the social casino for the first time.

Daily login bonus

We’ve found lots of social casinos that will simply give you more free credit just for logging into your account each day.

Tournaments

Many social casinos have tournaments that might be called things like races or battles. They usually just require you to wager or win more than other gamers, and if you do, you’ll get a handsome dose of free credit to play with.

Social media promos

Lots of social casinos will regularly take to social media channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where they'll put on contests that give away free credit. Don’t worry, as you can often win just by doing something as simple as sharing a post!

How California sweepstake casinos work

We’ve found that there are plenty of new sweeps casinos out there and these all give you a great way to play from California. It doesn’t matter whether you’re based in Oakland, Sacramento or Fresno, as everyone will love what they find at these online gaming sites.

You’ll find the same range of online slots and table games, but the only difference is the fact that you’ll play with two kinds of virtual credit.

One of these may be called something like ‘gold coins’. These will usually only let you play in a standard play mode where you play for free and cannot win any prizes. The second type of virtual credit might be called something like ‘sweepstakes coins’ and these let you play in a promotional mode where you might win prizes for taking part.

Here are the basic reasons why you should play at sweepstakes casinos from California:

  • Play with virtual credit rather than real money
  • Can be used from California
  • Win prizes for taking part

Win awesome prizes at California sweepstake casinos 

We think that it’s well worth keeping an eye on the many different kinds of sweepstakes casino bonus codes that are out there. This is because these deals will work simply to give you extra credit you can use, some of it for promotional play games where you have a chance of winning some cool prizes.

These prizes will be awarded as a result of you taking part in the sweepstakes, which means that it’s just the taking part that counts, not the results of your actual gameplay. Still, with prizes usually including things like merchandise, gift cards and even cash, we think that it’s well worth taking part!

Best social casino and sweepstakes casino bonuses in California

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Our favorite real money online casino alternative: Stake.us

Stake.us is a top online sweepstakes casino that allows you to pick whether you play for fun or cash prizes. You can play both online or through your mobile browser and register within a matter of minutes. To sign up, you'll need to enter a few basic personal details or link your social media account. It is at this point that you can take advantage of our exclusive promotional code and redeem 5% Rakeback on all future casino losses.

Once you've verified your account, you'll also be presented with the chance to unlock the daily login bonus. As the name suggests, you'll be able to redeem this bonus daily and unlock a varied value of Gold Coins and Stake Cash, based on the previous day's activity. Gold Coins can be used to play on over 300 casino titles and any winnings are strictly for entertainment purposes only. Stake Cash can be used on promotional titles and entered into competitions before being converted to vouchers, digital cash, or merchandise.

Hacksaw Gaming and Pragmatic Play are the main software providers at Stake.us; however, you'll also find a great range of Stake Originals. These games offer an interesting take on casino classics and include Scarab Spin, Keno, Dice, and Plinko.

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Conclusion

Clearly, California is not the epicenter of gambling in the United States. Until sports betting and online gambling are fully legalized and regulated, the state will be lagging behind some of the more gambling-friendly areas of the country. That being said, there is still plenty to entertain players in the Golden State.

Social and sweepstakes casinos provide players with ways to try their hand at playing casino titles without ever having to deposit any money. We recommend checking out the great offering from Stake.us; however, we've also created dedicated reviews that detail the top alternatives available across the state today.

California online casinos 2023 FAQs - All you need to know

💻 Can I gamble online in California?

No, those seeking the best online casino California can offer will, unfortunately, have to wait until regulation is passed that legalizes the practice in the Golden State.

🥇 What is the best online casino site in California?

There aren't currently any legal online gambling sites in California. That means players will have to play at local casinos instead or wait until online wagering is legal.

❓When did legal online casinos in California open?

Legal online casinos aren't available in the state just yet, but they're expected to become legal in the near future.

📱Can I bet on sports using my mobile device?

Mobile devices can't be used for sports betting in California just yet, but other states throughout the country support mobile wagering. Please read our reviews for the latest situation regarding state gambling laws.

🤷 Who is responsible for regulating California online gambling?

Two different offices are open and responsible for regulating California’s online gambling: the Gambling Control Act and Gaming Registration Act.

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