You may be aware that California is one of the most important and most-regulated states in terms of gambling. According to the law in California, you must be of legal age (i.e., 21 years of age or older) to gamble. In most cases, this means you must be at least 18 years old.
Further, you may be aware that the government in California actively polices and regulates online gambling. Specifically, the California Gambling Control Commission (CAC) closely monitors and enforces compliance with the law. Many operators in California—both in-state and out-of-state—are licensed and regulated by the CAC. This means they must ensure they comply with the rules and regulations established by the CAC.
If you are considering visiting or conducting business in California, it’s important to know the legal situation regarding online gambling. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of legal betting sites in California, how to identify a reputable site, and the pros and cons of betting online versus in person.
Types Of Legal Betting Sites In California
The California Gambling Control Commission (CAC) currently lists four categories of legal betting sites in California:
Category 1: Sports Betting
This is the simplest and most basic kind of legal betting site in California, and it operates much like a traditional bookmaker. If you’ve ever placed a sports bet, you’ve likely used a site like this one to make the wager. The category 1 sports betting sites in California will accept your bet, take your money, and give you the result of the game. In some cases, category 1 sports betting sites in California may even give you odds to win the game. The biggest difference is the laws in California concerning who can become a licensed bookie and, therefore, who can operate legally in this space.
Category 2: Casino Betting
If you’ve ever been to a real casino, you’ll know that there are numerous different types of games and activities available. When you make a bet at a casino, you’re not actually betting on a game or event, but rather you’re playing with probability and trying to beat the house.
While this is an interesting and exciting concept, it’s not one that can be replicated online. Because there’s no casino to be found anywhere in the state of California, category 2 casino betting sites in California operate completely and solely online. This makes it extremely convenient for potential customers who live in the state.
Category 3: Poker
Online poker is another popular option for gamblers in California. This is a form of gambling that doesn’t require any kind of middleman (i.e., a bookie). Instead, players are connected to sites that host multiplayer games. Typically, these sites are regulated by the same bodies that govern the lottery and the betting sites discussed below. Because there are no physical locations for these sites to operate from, they must adhere to very specific laws and regulations regarding games, marketing, and customer protection.
Category 4: Lottery
The last type of legal betting site in California is the lottery. Here, players buy lottery tickets and try to guess the numbers or combinations that will be drawn. If you’ve ever played the lottery, you’ve probably used a website like this one to purchase your tickets. The advantage of using a website for the lottery is that they often offer bonuses and promotions to encourage participation. Players have the option of being informed of winning numbers via text message or email.
Based on the category you choose, the type of games offered, and the location of the site, you’ll need to determine what licensing and regulation apply. All four of the sites discussed below are categorized as “betting sites,” which means they must adhere to the laws and regulations established by the California Gambling Control Commission (CAC) and its members. (You may also be aware that some states—such as New York—have additional licensing and regulation for online gambling.)
How To Identify A Legitimate And Regulated Online Gambling Site In California
There are many pitfalls and scams when it comes to online gambling, and we want to ensure you know how to spot a reputable and regulated site. Here are some of the best tips from experts on spotting a scam when playing at a casino or betting site:
Look For Other States’ Regulators’ Inspections
One of the best things you can do to ensure you’re betting at a safe and reputable site is to check out other states’ regulators’ inspections. If you enter a specific state like California and click on the “See Details” button, you’ll be presented with a list of all jurisdictions, including other states and countries, that have inspected the site. (For more information on how to do this, see our article on finding a safe and reputable casino.)
This is a good tip because it allows you to see exactly how other regulators around the country view the site in question. Most states’ regulators inspect casinos and betting sites on an annual basis. Checking for reviews and inspecting the site’s social media accounts for evidence of wrongdoing is another great way to ensure you’re playing at a legitimate and regulated site.
Look For Third-Party Reviews
Another great way to identify a trustworthy and regulated gambling site is to look for reviews. These reviews should be from reputable and independent sources, such as business directories, and they should be free of any kind of bias or favoritism. (For example, looking for an SEO review that’s been written by an employee of the company in question is a red flag because it creates a conflict of interest.)
By searching for relevant reviews for the gambling site in question, you’ll have access to a wealth of information. You can learn a lot from reading these reviews, including which sites are considered the best in the industry, as well as which booksies (i.e., the odds of winning) and which types of games they offer.
Look For User Feedback
One of the most important things you can do to identify a trustworthy and regulated online gambling site is to read and reply to user feedback. This way, you’ll have some idea of what other people think about the site and whether or not it passes the Beater test (more on this below).
You may wonder: How do I reply to user feedback if I don’t even know who the user is? The answer is you don’t need to know who the user is to reply to their feedback. All you need to do is enter a short comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the end of the form. (Make sure you do this even if you know the user’s identity, however, so that you can’t be accused of tampering with the data.)
This is a great way to ensure you’re getting objective and unbiased information that will help you make the right decision. If you find that a certain site is consistently getting negative feedback, it may be a good idea to stay away from it.
Check The Site’s Software And Security
From a gaming standpoint, the main thing you need to look out for is whether or not the site uses Secure Socket Layers (SSL) encryption. (SSL offers a secure and encrypted connection between a server and a client—in this case, you and the website you’re visiting. When using HTTPS, all of the information sent from your browser to the website you’re visiting is protected from thieves and hackers. This means all of your personal information, whether name, address, or credit card information, is safe and secure.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions before you make any kind of transaction. These T&Cs will govern your legal rights and responsibilities as a user of the site. Make sure you’re familiar with and agree to these terms and conditions before you make a purchase or place a bet.
The Pros And Cons Of Online Gambling
Now that you know how to identify a reputable and regulated online gambling site in California, you may wonder: Is it worth visiting or doing business with these sites? Here are the pros and cons:
- Pro: Convenience
- Pro: Objectivity Of Information
- Pro: No Physical Location Needed
- Con: Theft And Fraud