California Gambling Laws & Online Poker in California

California still doesn’t have any online poker legislation in place.  However, changes have been discussed and there has been progress lately that could make it legal within the next couple of years.

Type/Code Summary
State Code Section(s) PEN.1.9.10330-337; BPC.4-5
Definition of Gambling Gambling: To deal, operate, carry on, conduct, maintain, or expose for play any controlled game.
Definition of Banking Game or Banked Game Banking game or banked game: Does not include a controlled game if the published rules of the game feature a player-dealer position and provide that this position must be continuously and systematically rotated amongst each of the participants during the play of the game, ensure that the player-dealer is able to win or lose only a fixed and limited wager during the play of the game, and preclude the house, another entity, a player, or an observer from maintaining or operating as a bank during the course of the game.
Online Poker/Gambling For 10 years (2006-2016), lawmakers considered variations of online poker legislation but failed to pass one through both houses. Some special interests were placated through the years, but the tribes and card rooms could not find agreement on “bad actor” language. Lawmakers finally gave up after finding no compromises in 2016 and have yet to revisit the issue.
Live Poker Live cash games and tournaments are permitted in more than 100 licensed card rooms throughout the state and casinos on Indian reservations. There are special rules pertaining to draw poker, which must be approved by voters in counties with large populations.
Casinos In addition to card rooms that offer non-house-banked games like poker and California blackjack, casinos are located throughout the state on various Indian reservations. Most of those casinos are complete with table games, slot machines, and other games like keno and bingo.
Sports Betting A bill introduced in 2017 to legalize sports betting was still in action in 2018 but had yet to pass as of the summer session.
DFS California considered daily fantasy sports in 2016, but no bill passed, and there have been no proposals since.
Other Forms of Gambling Lottery, pari-mutuel horse wagering, charitable gambling.