What’s Legal and Illegal in California for Online Gambling?

Many people have heard of the many perks of living in California, but did you know that the Golden State has some truly unique laws relating to online poker and casino games? In fact, California is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to online gambling. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding online poker and casino gaming if you want to make the most of living in California. Here’s a brief guide to what’s legal and illegal in California when it comes to playing online poker and casino games.

Online Poker

The legal status of online poker in California is actually a bit complicated because there are currently legal challenges to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which was passed in 2006. The UIGEA made it a federal crime to knowingly participate in an “unlawful internet poker game.” However, in a case known as U.S. v. Mollard, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the constitutionality of the UIGEA, but also ruled that the government must create a pathway to allow professional poker players to enter the online poker scene legally. In other words, the federal government must regulate online poker in California (in a good way!). The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Until then, the federal government has imposed a total ban on states instituting their own internet gambling laws, making California one of the few states where poker is entirely illegal. Fortunately, as of today (20 April 2020), the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the case, and a decision is expected by the end of June.

Casino Games

As for casino games, California is actually one of the most open states when it comes to online gambling. It doesn’t just apply to poker, either. In fact, the only type of game that is entirely illegal in California are slot machines. The reason behind this is that in 1961, the state passed a law preventing casinos from charging excessive fees to players. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to play high-quality casino games online, you’ll need to find a legal way to do so. Some good options are Bovada, betOnline, CGaming, and MyBookie.

Deposit Bonus

If you’re visiting this article, chances are you’re already aware that taking a promotional or deposit bonus is usually a good way to make a larger deposit while playing. Well, you’ll have to be careful what kind of bonus you choose because there are certain restrictions on the types of games you can play with a deposit bonus in California. For example, many casinos will only allow you to play certain games with your bonus, and some casinos (especially offshore ones) don’t allow you to withdraw winnings generated from games involving skill. Additionally, all casinos in California are required to operate under a government-licensed gaming license, which makes it illegal for them to engage in “prohibited activities.” These include, but are not limited to, allowing players to use bank cards to purchase chips, allowing players to use technical aids such as bots, and offering bonus rounds or free spins that are “dependent on chance.”

If you’re looking for an online casino that accepts players from California and offers an awesome no-deposit bonus, check out the Golden Nugget!

Withdrawing Games

Games played for money are a little different when it comes to online poker and casino games. In some cases, you’ll be able to withdraw your winnings after winning a certain amount of money. In other cases, you’ll have to remain in the game, or continue playing until you lose or reach a certain threshold. The rules vary by casino and game, so be sure to check their terms and conditions before playing.

State Taxes

The taxes associated with gambling are also unique to California. The state collects a 16% tax on all gambling activities, which applies to both land-based casinos and online casinos alike. Additionally, the state funds the general fund, unemployment insurance fund, and school construction and improvement. If you’re a California resident and want to learn more, visit the State Income Tax website. Or, if you’re looking for a new place to call home, consider moving to California!

In summary, California is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to online gambling. Nevertheless, it’s also one of the most beneficial. The only types of games that are completely banned in the state are those involving luck, such as slots. Still, if you want to play high-quality casino games online, you’ll need to find a way to do so legally. Fortunately, the situation is not as bleak as it seems because there are a few options available to players in California. For example, Bovada, betOnline, and CGaming all operate within U.S. jurisdiction and are legal for play in California.

If you’re looking to play online poker in California, you’ll have to do so through an offshore site because the state doesn’t allow its residents to play on a land-based site. This is due to the law that prevents its residents from gambling. However, there are ways around this law, and many people have found success using resources like VPNs to remain anonymous and play as much as they want.