The best online casinos in California 2022
We’ve compiled a list of the best California casinos for game variety, welcome bonuses, and fairness. We only recommend gambling sites that are safe and trustworthy, so read on to discover the best betting sites California can offer.
Our top recommended California online casinos
California casinos to avoid
The best online casinos in California
The online sports betting landscape may be changing soon, but there’s still a way to go with online casino gambling. Although online real money gambling in California isn’t legal, there are plenty of social and sweepstake casinos you can play at for free. Designed to replicate the online casino experience, these free-to-play sites offer hundreds of world-class slots. Find our top picks below:
Pulsz offers over 300 Vegas-style games completely free to CA bettors, including slots and jackpots from industry-leading providers. As well as boasting a generous 5,000 free coins welcome bonus, this social casino is one of the few places you can enjoy poker and roulette in the Golden State.
Gambino Slots is one of the best slot casinos in California, offering an awesome registration bonus of 100,000 free coins and 200 free spins. You can wager your virtual currency on various exciting slots and claim a daily spin on the Bonus Wheel. The casino even offers an exclusive VIP program for its top wagerers and compatible iOS and Android apps for gambling on the go.
Progressive jackpots are enormous in the US, as you play with the knowledge that any spin could trigger a huge jackpot. Fortune Coins does one better and applies a six- or seven-figure virtual jackpot to every one of its online slots! Register a new account and use your 140,000 Gold Coins welcome bonus to set the reels spinning on a variety of slots, keno, and table games. If this massive bonus doesn’t satisfy your appetite, you can buy more Gold Coins using a range of secure deposit options.
California residents interested in cryptocurrency can purchase coins on the Stake sweepstake casino using their preferred crypto platform. Since 2017, Stake has been providing its crypto-exclusive social casino to customers in the US. You can also play a collection of casino-style games only available on this social casino. Winning slots and other games allow you to collect Stake Cash prizes.
Stake Casino Bonus: New customers in California receive 10,000 Gold Coins and 1 Stake Cash sweeps coin when registering.
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games has a one-of-a-kind model where players donate to their favorite charities to claim free game coins. No other social casino has this feature, allowing you to make a difference as you play casino games. While the list of slots is small, every game is exclusive and comes with a prize pot of $2,500. What Golden Hearts is really about is its selection of online bingo games, with around 4-5 games every hour.
Golden Hearts Games Bonus: Sign up to claim a 100% purchase match when you make your first charitable donation.
What game do you want to play most?
What the best California casinos offer you
Deciding on which casinos to recommend to you is a rigorous process. We see how a range of casinos perform against our criteria for things like bonus amounts, security and fairness, and depositing options. Here’s a breakdown of how the overall ratings are calculated:
Online gambling in California
While online gambling is currently not legal in California there is tons of momentum building in the Golden State. With two motions to legalize sports betting on California’s November 2022 ballot, CA bettors may be able to wager on sports much sooner than they think.
Proposition 26, backed by local tribal casinos, would only allow retail sports betting to launch. However, Proposition 27 would legalize online sports betting in California. With legal and regulated sports wagering on the cards for Golden State bettors, there is hope that online casinos may also launch in California. Until then, you can enjoy immersive land-based casino gambling in one of the state’s 65 tribal casinos.
Online gambling’s legal status in California.
Gambling online for real money is not yet legal in California, including online casinos, online poker, and online sportsbooks. There is hope that sports betting may be legalized when Proposition 26 and 27 are put before state voters. However, these propositions do not include online casino gambling, so Golden State bettors will need to wait a little longer before they can stake real money on casino games. Luckily, you can still play legally at social and sweepstakes online casinos.
The gambling age in California.
The official California gambling age is 18 for pari-mutuel horse wagering, the state lottery, and bingo games. However, while you can legally wager at a casino from 18 onwards, many casinos ban anyone under 21 from entering the premises. All legal casino wagering in the state takes place in tribal casinos on Indian reservations, and each casino is regulated by the tribe. As such, each tribe has the authority to raise the minimum age limit of its casino(s).
Are there taxes on gambling winnings?
Excluding the California Lottery, all gambling winnings are taxable in the Golden State. All earnings under $5,000 are subject to a flat 24% tax. You’ll need to report anything above this threshold or any winnings over 300x your original bet on a W4 tax withholding form. You’ll need to register your winnings on an IRS Form 1040 and any itemized losses.
How are online casinos regulated?
Online gambling is not yet legal in California. The only place you can legally wager real money on casino games is at land-based tribal venues, where gaming is regulated by the tribe itself. The only online gambling sites available to Californian bettors are free social and sweepstakes casinos. Unlike real online casinos, free sites don’t require a state-approved license to operate in the US. To guarantee safety, these casinos are regulated by customer protection groups and external testing agencies like eCOGRA.
Sports betting and online casinos in the US
Find the latest online gambling legislation updates for your state below.
Which online casino games are available in California?
Whether you prefer spinning the reels or bluffing your hand, you can find a great variety of free casino games at social casinos in California.
Immersive graphics and innovative features make online slot machines one of the most entertaining casino games around. Game developers are constantly releasing new slots in a variety of themes, so there are thousands to choose from. You can select your game based on its variance and RTP (Return to Player) percentage, making them one of the most versatile games for players of all budgets.
Blackjack has the highest RTP percentage of any casino game (aside from craps), which makes it hugely popular among US bettors. The premise is simple: beat the dealer to 21 without going bust. Its simple rules, high RTP, and wide betting limits make it a staple of California casinos.
The ultimate game of chance, roulette is available at almost every online casino in the US. Many tribal casinos offer ‘California Roulette’ as a legal option, which uses a deck of cards instead of a ball and wheel. If you’d rather play the classic game, you can do so at social casino sites, as they are not regulated by the California Gambling Control Commission.
Being the birthplace of the casino classic Texas Hold’em, it’s hardly surprising that online poker has quickly grown into one of the most popular casino games in the US. However, playing online poker in California is not yet legal. Until it is, you can practice your poker face at free-to-play California online poker sites like the WSOP social poker casino.
What happens when you combine the decision-making skill of online poker with the fast-paced randomness of slot machines? You get video poker. Plenty of social casinos offer video poker games, which are a great beginner-friendly alternative to online poker.
Live dealer games
While not as common as free-to-play slots, some social casino sites offer free live casino games. These games are streamed live in HD from studios worldwide and help recreate the atmosphere of a brick-and-mortar casino from the comfort of your own home.
All eyes are on California as two sports betting bills make their way to the ballot. If either one succeeds, Golden State bettors will be able to wager on the Lakers, the Dodgers, the Giants, and the 49ers by as early as 2023. Whether it’s retail or mobile betting that passes the vote, bettors will be able to wager on a wide variety of markets and bet types.
Daily Fantasy Sports
While the Californian government doesn’t regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites, they aren’t explicitly banned or illegal. Bettors in the state can therefore access all of the top DFS sites available online, including FanDuel and DraftKings.
State lotteries & bingo
The state lottery is one of the few legal betting options in California. Available to anyone over the age of 18, you can only buy lottery tickets in person at official lottery retailers. While the Golden State is known for having some of the highest tax rates in the US, any winnings generated from the state lottery are tax-free.
Getting the best online casino bonuses
Bonuses are a fantastic way to boost your gameplay. While some land-based casinos offer small promotions and token bonuses, online casinos - including social sites - offer massive welcome packages to attract new players. California casinos typically offer a range of bonuses for new and existing players, and we’ve detailed the most popular variations below.
As the name suggests, this type of bonus rewards new players for creating an account. Since online gambling is an oversaturated market, you’ll find a sign-up bonus at almost any online casino. These bonuses typically come as deposit bonuses or, less commonly, as no deposit bonuses.
The most common form of sign-up bonus, deposit bonuses are rewards you receive when making a deposit to the site. Many online casinos offer deposit match bonuses, where the casino will match a certain percentage of your deposit in bonus cash. Alternatively, other sites provide ‘reload’ bonuses, where returning players can earn free spins and other prizes for funding their existing accounts.
No deposit bonus
In direct opposition to the above, no deposit bonuses don’t require a deposit. Instead, the casino will give you a reward just for registering a new account. They are typically much lower in value than deposit bonuses and could have stricter wagering conditions. However, they’re definitely worth claiming when you find them.
Local casinos in California
Despite its lack of online gambling options, California has plenty of land-based options. We’ve selected our top picks from the 70 brick-and-mortar Indian casinos for you below:
Yaamava Resort & Casino
This luxury resort is the largest in California, boasting more than 7,000 slots and 150+ table games. The 290,000-square-foot location also houses a live music venue, multiple bars and restaurants, and a luxury 17-floor hotel. Set against the backdrop of the San Bernardino Mountains, Yaamava boasts a panoramic views alongside an elite gambling experience.
- Address: 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland, CA 92346
- Contact: 1-800-359-2464
Pechanga Resort Casino
Coming in at a close second for the largest casino on the West Coast, Pechanga Resort Casino is a 200,000-square-foot site with a lot to offer. Open 24/7, the casino has over 4,500 slots, a 700-seat bingo hall, multiple private gaming rooms, and an Off-Track Betting parlor. When you’re finished gaming, you can unwind at the spa, get a round of golf in, or fall into bed at the luxury hotel.
- Address: 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592
- Contact: 1-888-PECHANGA
Morongo Casino Resort
Enjoy daily promotions, high-limit gaming, and almost 4,000 slots at this SoCal gem. Alongside its 195-square-foot gaming space, Morongo Casino Resort offers a dedicated Football HQ where you can “play games while you watch games” all season long. With multiple dining and entertainment options to boot, Morongo is open round the clock for casino and sports bettors alike.
- Address: 49500 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, California 92230
- Contact: 1-800-252-4499 or 951-849-3080
Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Though the smallest of our selection, Thunder Valley Casino Resort is undoubtedly able to hold its own. Each of its 3,000+ slot machines are wired into the Thunder Strike Jackpot, where a single spin can trigger a generous payout of up to $150,000. Additionally, the casino boasts a world-class live music venue, a state-of-the-art spa, and a rewards program that gives you 5% back on everything you spend.
- Address: 1200 Athens Avenue, Lincoln, CA 95648
- Contact: 877-468-8777
Deposits and withdrawals for online gambling
You’ll be able to find most popular US deposit options when you gamble at an online casino in California. Since you can’t win real money at a social casino, there won’t be any withdrawal methods to choose from. However, when California online casino real money gambling becomes legal, you’ll be able to use a range of swift and secure payment methods to withdraw your winnings. Below is a list of the top payment options:
- Credit/debit cards
- Prepaid cards
- Bank wires
Gambling Responsibly in California
It’s essential to maintain healthy online gambling habits. If you or anyone you know is suffering from gambling addiction, you can contact the following resources for help. You can also check out our dedicated Responsible Gambling information page.
Problem Gambling Helpline - 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537)
Office of Problem Gambling - provides valuable treatment and prevention programs in California
California Health and Human Services Agency - responsible for health and addiction services in the state
National Council on Problem Gambling California - offers additional resources and statistics relevant to California residents
Can I play at online casinos in California?
Yes, you can play at social and sweepstakes casinos in California. Real money sites are not yet legal, but you can play a range of casino games at any of the social sites highlighted on this page. As long as you are over the age of 18, you can play online slots and table games free of charge.
What types of legal gambling are available in California?
At the time of writing, the only forms of gambling available in California are land-based tribal casinos, pari-mutuel horse race wagering, the state lottery, Indian bingo halls, and charitable gaming (such as raffles). It is anticipated that sports betting will soon be available in the state, though whether this will involve either retail or mobile betting is yet to be decided.
Who regulates online gambling and casinos in California?
Land-based casino gambling is regulated by the individual tribe that operates the casino, but the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) ensures each tribe complies with the tribe-state compact. Meanwhile, the California Horse Racing Board regulates all pari-mutuel wagering, and the California Lottery Commission regulates the state lottery.
Can I legally play online poker within California?
Unfortunately, California online poker is not legal yet. However, many states are beginning to legalize online poker, so it’s possible to expect it to launch in California at some point. That being said, you can play free poker at social sites like the WSOP.
What’s the legal gambling age in California?
The legal gambling age in California is 18. While this does include land-based casinos, each tribe is at liberty to raise the minimum gambling age to whatever they see fit. The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, for example, raised the minimum age from 18 to 21 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Palm Springs to match the legal drinking age.