Unlike many other states, California takes a more nuanced approach toward gambling. The state government has not outright declared gambling illegal or illegal. However, it has declared certain types of gambling illegal. The state government regulates legal gambling. More broadly, California permits poker, race tracking betting, casinos (on American Indian lands), and the state-run lottery. Individuals can gamble at the age of 18 in the state, but many casinos increasingly mandate a minimum participation age of 21 years due to the fact that there is alcohol on the premises.
Arguably, the most regulated of legal gambling in the state is casino-based gambling. American Indian owned and operated casinos essentially enter into unique relationships with the state, promising to pay taxes, operate under certain regulations, etc. Not all states have this close type of public-private relationship, but having it bodes well both for states residents and the owner-operators of the casinos.
California takes in billions dollars in tax revenue each year as a result of gambling, including money gained from the state-run lottery. The state is a big draw for residents in neighboring states because unlike those other states, it offers casinos with tables for games such as poker and black jack.
Recent Updates to California Gambling Laws
In terms of recent developments, California is poised to pass legislation that would allow online gambling via tribal casinos. Although this would surely improve business for the relevant tribes, bring in revenue for the state, and please gambling residents and visitors, there is also legislation aimed at curbing the expansion of tribal casinos both on land and in virtual reality due to fears of creating a culture of gambling. Residents in the Bay Area are increasingly becoming concerned about what having these new casinos means for more mundane issues such as traffic. While traffic may be mundane, it has long been a central gripe about California living, especially in Southern California. Consequently, the association between traffic near newly built casinos is fodder for detractors to advocate less gambling.
American Indian owned and operated casinos, also known as tribal casinos, is the principal style of casino and gambling in the state. The state is home to over forty of these casinos. Additionally, California has historically been a popular state for gamblers to play in large card rooms. An example of this type of gambling facility is the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens. Slot machines, which are near universally popular gambling devices are only legal when in tribal casinos. Horse race betting is another hugely popular form of gambling in the Golden State, and its popularity and revenue-producing activity rivals that of New York, although New York typically makes slightly more. There are currently sixteen horse racing facilities in California. Generally speaking, all gamblers must be older than 21 years old to enter a casino, let alone to gamble. The state lottery, which is a monopoly since the government is the only entity that can run one, sells stakes for five games, in addition to scratch ticket games. The state has numerous casinos that one can visit.