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California Wagering and Gambling Laws

California Wagering and Gambling Laws

Have you ever heard of card rooms; state-run lotteries? Have you ever wondered whether horse race wagering is considered to be legal in California? This article will provide an overview of existing gambling regulations.

What is Gambling Under California Law?

Though there is no certain definition for gambling under California State Law, the practice shows that the following elements shall be present to qualify the actions as gambling:

  • Being awarded through an event of chance;
  • In exchange for a certain consideration;
  • With a particular prize

Is Gambling Illegal in California?

Under the California State Constitution, gambling is considered to be illegal in California. However, there are types of gambling that are considered to be an exception to the general rule. Particularly, California law permits:

  • tribal casino;
  • card rooms;
  • a state-run lottery;
  • bingo; and/or
  • horse race wagering

What Are the Main Legislative Acts in California Regulating Gambling

The main legislative act regulating gambling in California is called Gambling Control Act. This act sets out the relevant licensing terms for the entities, which are involved in the gambling market. California Gambling Control Commission issues particular regulations for gaming licenses. Besides, it also issues licenses to owners, supervisors, players, and employees of gambling institutions.

It is considered that licenses shall be renewed bi-annually and they may not be assigned or transferred in whole or in part under California Business and Profession Code.

This means that a separate application for receiving a license must be submitted for there to be a change in corporate control of the licensed entity.

As the state of California allows tribal casinos, their particular regulations shall be negotiated between the state and the particular tribe running the casino. The relations that shall be regulated concern namely revenue details sharing, licensing terms, and other relations.

Horse Wagering and Lotteries in California

Horse wagering, as well as including pari-mutuel wagering, which, under the California Business and Profession Code is defined as “a contribution to the pari-mutuel pool operated by the licensee association with the obligation to pay a ticket holder a portion of the distributable pool”, is governed and regulated by California Horse Racing Law.

The Californian Lottery runs the only authorized lottery in the state of California.

What is Penal Code Section 330 PC?

Under Penal Code 330 PC it is a misdemeanor offense to:

  • facilitating;
  • sponsoring;
  • running;
  • otherwise operating an illegal gambling operation

What is the Minimum Age to Gamble in California?

The minimum age to gamble in California is 18 years, though some casinos have a minimum age of entry which is 21 years.

Is Online Gambling Allowed in California?

Online gambling is not separately regulated in California. Thus, there is no special licensing regime for online gambling.

What is the Tax Regime for Gambling?

  1. Under the regulations, the person winning is subject to the federal income tax regime. No special tax of California State shall be imposed on personal winning.
  2. California tax rate on pari-mutuel wagering is currently 20.84% of the total amount wagered.
  3. Tribal casinos are not subject to state taxation. The tribes make payments to the state under their agreements.

Is Advertising of Gambling Permitted in California?

There are no separate acts issued by the California Gambling Control Commission or Horse Racing Board or the Lottery Commission concerning the advertisement of gambling. Thus, the gambling advertisement is regulated by the California Business and Professions Code general regime of advertisement.

If you or a loved one would like more information on California wagering and gambling laws we invite you to contact our office at (310) 943-1171 today.

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