California Online Casinos
The California gambling industry is large and well-regulated, so it should come as no surprise that many i-gaming experts expect it to become one of the next states to legalize local casino and poker sites. For now, the state gives you access to numerous land-based casino resorts and dedicated poker rooms, as well as horse racing, bingo, and a state-run lottery. Most of the California-based gambling establishments are owned by Native American tribes, but the state also licenses private gambling businesses, which are allowed to offer slots, video poker machines ,and traditional table games.
California Gambling Laws
California is very strict when it comes to dealing with unlicensed gambling operators. The California Penal Code makes it illegal to play any games of chance or percentage, unless the games are regulated by the state:
“Every person who deals, plays, or carries on, opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, any game of faro, monte, roulette, lansquenet, rouge et noire, rondo, tan, fan-tan, seven-and-a-half, twenty-one, hokey-pokey, or any banking or percentage game played with cards, dice, or any device, for money, checks, credit, or other representative of value, and every person who plays or bets at or against any of those prohibited games, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punishable by a fine not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.”
However, you should keep in mind that California does not have any regulations that prohibit playing at offshore online casino sites. Consequently, the legal status of customers of such sites isn’t very clear. While the state officials could argue that playing for real money over the internet is a misdemeanor, there’s simply no denying the fact that the California doesn’t really focus on penalizing individual players and that no online casino customers have been prosecuted so far.
While the battle to bring intrastate i-gaming to California rages on, residents of the Golden State who’d like to experience the thrill of playing at an online casino site are pretty much forced to stick with the offshore casinos that have been around for over a decade now. The traffic on those sites is significantly higher than in the case of casinos that operate on fenced intrastate markets, which means that they’re able to offer bigger bonuses and jackpots than their local counterparts.
Offshore Casino Sites That Accept California Players
Most of the US-friendly offshore casinos accept California-based players. Consequently, all California residents are able to access the latest slots and table games from leading software providers like Real Time Gaming or Betsoft. While all of the sites listed here are 100% safe to play on, you should keep in mind that some of the less popular California-facing casinos you’ll find online might turn out to be nothing more than blatant scam attempts due to the fact that it might be hard for California residents to take legal action against unregulated sites.
Please note that depositing to offshore casinos isn’t as convenient as in the case of local sites that operate on intrastate markets. Most players prefer to fund their account using a Visa/Amex/MasterCard credit card, but if you decide to use this method you should keep in mind that the transaction might be refused. In such a case, it is generally better to deposit via Western Union or MoneyGram, as those services are 100% reliable for US-based customers. All of the aforementioned sites will allow you to withdraw via a wire transfer, but in some cases you might be able to cash out via a check by courier or Western Union/MoneyGram money order.
Developing Legal Scenarios
Despite the failure to pass the i-gaming bill SB1463 due to the conflicting interests among the Native American tribal casino owners and local gambling operators, it seems that California is going to launch its own intrastate online casino market by 2015. The recently proposed Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2014 is expected to pass despite the resistance of some of the local lobbying groups, which would allow the existing real money gaming centers to launch their own online gambling sites upon obtaining a 10-year long intrastate gaming license.