Could California Make a Fortune with Online Gambling?

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Introduction

Did you know that the first slot machine was invented in California? Did you also know that California happen to be the birthplace of Tribal Casinos? We have such an interesting history when it comes to gambling, some might even label us as pioneers. 

However, while some forms of gambling in California are legal (charitable, tribal, lottery), online gambling still remains a fuzzy area. A fuzzy area that could leave us losing out on billions.

US states that have opened the doors to iGaming are already bringing in large sums. New Jersey legalized online gambling within its borders in 2013 and is now set to bring in a revenue of $1 billion this year. As you can see here, the list of New Jersey online casinos is growing, as is the revenue they bring in.

Could it be time for the Golden State to take the leap and legalize online gambling altogether? 

State of Online Gambling in California

Online gambling in California has not yet been legalized and operators are prohibited from opening up online gaming sites within the state. This means online poker, online casinos, and online sportsbooks are illegal, leaving fewer online gaming options for players like daily fantasy sports and horse race betting. 

The law, however, does not prohibit Californian players from betting on regulated online gaming sites. So you’re free to play on online gambling sites that are licensed and located outside of California and US jurisdiction as these sites are in fact legal. Although this is great for players, the only downside is that if you come across an online gambling site that becomes defective, you won’t be protected under California law. 

Considering Californians aren’t criminalized for using regulated online gaming sites, it could be time to take action and legalize it within the state. The gambling industry is quite valuable for California, with Tribal Casinos bringing in $19.96 billion in 2020. With the addition of online gambling, there’s no denying that this could be an extra boost to the economy. 

Previous attempts to legalize online poker fell through and there has been some news regarding online sportsbooks, but this entirely depends on a bill that could be put to vote in late 2022. Little has been mentioned about legalizing online casinos. 

Online Gambling Trends

California has the potential to become a major hub for online gaming if it follows the lead of its counterparts. States like Nevada and New Jersey have already seized the opportunity to legalize online casinos and poker rooms, and it’s safe to say those states are seeing incredible returns. As mentioned previously, New Jersey is well on its way to making $1 billion from online gambling alone. With major brands like bet365 and 888casino flocking to establish themselves in these states, this provides a better and perhaps safer alternative to offshore gambling sites. 

But why the need to push online gambling in California in the first place? Well, firstly, we are increasingly doing everything online! From grocery shopping to opening bank accounts, we don’t have to leave our homes. This applies to gambling too and even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Offline gambling suffered whereby online gambling actually increased. Because of technology, gambling online isn’t just restricted to your computer, but you’re also able to play on your mobile or even a dedicated app. Not to mention, the thousands of games available at your fingertips! So, as well as convenience, Californian players would get a larger selection of games. 

Other features like personalized bonuses and free gameplay are a huge plus. Other online gambling trends we may see in the near future are virtual reality slots, smartwatch casinos, and the increase in cryptocurrency payment systems. If California was to legalize online gambling completely, the state could jump on these trends and benefit immensely. 

Will California Join the Online Gambling Race?

It’s clear that California isn’t completely averse to online gambling as players can still use offshore sites legally. The current issue that remains behind legalizing online gambling is the resistance from local Native American tribes who have previously contested against online wagering. 

Apart from the sportsbook initiative ballot which will be reviewed in November 2022, there is no other news to speculate from. Some are still hopeful that California will be part of the next wave of states to legalize online gambling but the future is unclear.   

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