Thousands of sports bettors in California have been anxiously awaiting the legalization of sports betting in the golden state. But instead of having legal and regulated California sportsbooks to place their wagers at, California residents have been forced to either resort to illegal offshore betting sites or local bookies to place sports bets within state lines. Many Californians make the drive or flight to Las Vegas during big sporting events like March Madness and the Super Bowl just to have the opportunity to place legal sports wagers.
With no sports gambling bills up for vote in 2020, the earliest that California online sportsbooks could be legalized would be 2022. And even if California does get its act together and legalize sports betting in some fashion, it is too early to tell whether CA sportsbooks would be at retail locations only or if the state would also legalize mobile gaming.
The state would earn the most revenue and draw in the most customers if it legalizes CA online sportsbooks as many sports bettors today prefer the convenience of placing bets on their personal computers, tablets, and phones. Here’s a look at some of the major players in the sports betting industry that would be among the best sportsbooks in CA of the state decides to offer licenses to sports betting operators for online gaming.
Best online sportsbooks for California
In this section we take a look at some of the top sportsbooks in California, that might offer their services in the future.
BetMGM Sportsbook California
Las Vegas, Nevada is just a four to six hour drive away from most parts of California, and a flight from most major airports in California to Las Vegas takes less than an hour. The city is a popular vacation destination for many California residents and is an especially popular destination for sports bettors who can get away for a weekend and enjoy the convenience of placing legal sports bets at the resort and casino they are visiting.
For this reason, the BetMGM Sportsbook would be a perfect fit in California. The MGM brand is extremely well known in Las Vegas as the company owns some of the most popular resort casinos on the Las Vegas Strip including the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, New York-New York, and the Luxor. Many California residents from Las Vegas regulars to casual visitors already have M Life Rewards cards.
So far, BetMGM Sportsbook has entered into four markets since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. Those markets are New Jersey, Indiana, West Virginia, and Colorado. If California allows sportsbooks from outside of the state to offer sports betting options to California residents, it is a safe bet to assume that BetMGM would quickly leverage its brand recognition into a spot at the CA sportsbooks table.
DraftKings Sportsbook California
DraftKings was in perfect position to take advantage of the repeal of PASPA in 2018. Founded in 2012, DraftKings took very little time in dominating the market as the country’s number one daily fantasy sports provider. For many sports bettors around the country who didn’t have access to legal sports betting, daily fantasy sports for real cash prizes was the next best thing. It didn’t take long before DraftKings partnered up with Major League Baseball and ESPN en route to becoming a household name.
DraftKings got its start in Boston, Massachusetts. Its strong presence on the East Coast made the transition from offering daily fantasy sports into offering legalized sports betting in New Jersey an easy one. DraftKings Sportsbook launched in New Jersey in August of 2018 to become the states first legal operator. Its mobile sportsbook has since started operating in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, and New Hampshire as well.
The company also has retail betting locations in Iowa, Mississippi, and New York. After having spent years optimizing the user experience on the daily fantasy sports side, DraftKings had no trouble creating a beautiful website and app for its online sportsbook experience. Any list of potential California online sportsbooks has to include DraftKings as it is one of the clear industry leaders in the United States.
FanDuel Sportsbook California
When it comes to popularity on the daily fantasy sports front, FanDuel doesn’t fall too far behind DraftKings. FanDuel was founded in 2009 and is the nation’s second largest DFS company behind only DraftKings in terms of entry fees and user base.
In November of 2016, the two titans of the daily fantasy sports industry announced their intention to merge and combine their massive userbases. The Federal Trade Commission declined this merger in July of 2017 as it felt that the two companies combining to own over 90% of the market share in daily fantasy sports would constitute a monopoly, which is illegal in the United States. The merger was terminated following this decision.
Things worked out well for FanDuel however as the company’s controlling stake was purchased by Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair. Paddy Power Betfair (now known as Flutter) bring over 30 years of experience in the sports betting industry to the table as Paddy Power was founded in 1988 and Betfair was founded in 2000. These companies merged in 2016 and felt that FanDuel’s brand recognition in the United States made the DFS site a perfect candidate for sports betting expansion into the US market.
The Flutter owned FanDuel has enjoyed great success in the sports betting industry since 2018, operating in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Colorado. Like DraftKings, FanDuel also has a physical presence in New York and Iowa. You can see the influence of a sports betting industry leader like Flutter at work in the attractive and easy to use interface of the sportsbook on both computers and mobile devices. This is another virtual lock to be at the front of the line for a CA online sportsbook license when they become available.
Fox Bet Sportsbook California
The Stars Group is best known for its dominance in the online poker industry. Formerly known as the Amaya Gaming Group, the Stars Group owns and operates PokerStars, which is the biggest online poker site in the world. PokerStars has put itself in good position to enter the United States market should poker ever become legalized around the country as it does operate where it is legal to do so in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In the meantime, the Stars Group has also branched into sports betting through a partnership with Fox Sports. The Fox Corporation and the Stars Group joined forces in May of 2019 to offer free-to-play sports betting options in states where sports betting isn’t currently legal and real-money sports betting options in states where it is legal under the name “Fox Bet”.
Fox Bet is in a unique position to have success as the first major United State sports broadcaster to be a part of a co-branded sports betting platform. The Fox Sports brand is well known and broadcasts thousands of games nationwide on local channels across the country. As sports betting continues to be legalized in different states, Fox Bet will be in position to leverage its coverage of teams into promotion for their online sportsbooks.
The company currently operates real-money online sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. Fox Sports West currently has live coverage of Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks games. Fox Bet would love to enter the California sportsbooks market and use this major market to help grow its platform.
PointsBet Sportsbook California
Another sportsbook looking to grow its platform in the United States is the PointsBet Sportsbook. Unlike the other players on this list, PointsBet is a relatively new company as it was just founded in 2017 in Australia. In order to make a splash in a sports betting scene already dominated by so many other sportsbooks, PointsBet has developed an innovation for how sports bettors bet on sports through a system called PointsBetting.
PointsBetting is a brand new type of sports bet in which the margin of victory or defeat comes into play down to the point. For example, say that you want to bet on the Los Angeles Lakers as 6-point favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers. You choose the Lakers and pick a PointsBetting size of $10 per point.
If the Lakers win by 10 points, they cover the spread by four points (10 – 6 = 4), so you win $40 (4 points x $10 = $40). If they blow Portland out with a final score of 118-88, your 30 point win covers the spread by 24 points to earn you $240. But on the other hand, if Portland wins outright 100-96, your bet lost by 10 points and you lose $100 on your PointsBetting wager.
This innovative new way to bet on sports keeps the game exciting from start to finish. While some sports bets come down to the wire and leave you rooting on your team on the spread or moneyline, others are decided long before the game actually goes final. With PointsBetting, you will be hooked to the screen for the entire game as even after the winner has been decided the margin of victory will still be in question.
PointsBet already operates in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa (physical location) and is coming soon to Colorado, Illionis, and Michigan. California would be the crown jewel of the sports betting industry in the United States should it ever legalize CA online sportbooks, so it stands to reason that PointsBet would try to continue its growth by working its way into the golden state.
Tribal Casino Online Sportsbooks
All of the sportsbooks listed above are proven commodities in the sports betting world. They are all reputable companies operating in multiple states. They have invested millions of dollars into their web and mobile interfaces and this attention to detail shows in the finished products. Many states that are legalizing sports betting are doing so with some kind of licensing system in place, offering sports betting operators like DraftKings and BetMGM the chance to apply for a license within the state for a one-time application fee.
Sports bettors in California are hoping that a similar system is eventually legalized here. Competition is great for sports bettors as it leads to better promotions, bonuses, and innovations as various CA online sportsbooks try to win your business. But while an open market system would be great for the sports betting industry in California, it may not be what ends up being passed into law, especially if the state’s Tribal Casinos have anything to say about it.
The Native American casinos are a powerhouse in the gaming industry in California. While California is also home to other forms of legal gambling including card rooms and horse racing tracks, Tribal casinos dominate the market in both Southern California and Northern Califorina, offering Las Vegas style resorts with slot machines and table games to their patrons.
These tribes want California to follow in the footsteps of other states that only offer sports betting at retail locations instead of online. This way, they hope to force sports bettors to actually enter their tribal casinos to place bets on sports, which would be great for business as it would bring in new customers that would potentially play other games or spend money on food or commodities during their stay.
As an alternative to this, it is also possible that California Native American casinos might decide to own and operate their own online sportsbooks. This way, they could keep all of the profits made from mobile and computer gaming across the state instead of competing in an open market with out-of-state operators. This could also lead to out-of-state operators making side deals with different tribes to operate an online sportbook on their behalf.
Unfortunately, the California online sportsbook scene is all just speculation for now. But as soon as the state legalizes sports betting and makes it available to the residents of California, we will keep you in the loop on the best sportsbooks in CA.