Best California Online Casinos

Lance Patton
Written by:
Lance Patton
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Updated:
March 20, 2024
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California, often at the forefront of many trends and innovations, surprisingly lags behind in legalizing real-money online casino gaming and sports betting.

While the state isn’t rushing to legalize online casinos, there is a glimmer of hope for online sports betting enthusiasts, with prospects of legalization possibly by the end of 2024.

However, Californians aren’t entirely out of options for online gaming. Sweepstakes casinos in California provide an alternative, offering a range of casino games in a unique format.

Can I Gamble Online In California?

In California, the options for online gambling are currently limited to sweepstakes casinos. Real-money online gambling sites are not available. At these sweepstakes casinos, Californians can indulge in a variety of casino games including slots, table games, video poker, bingo, and even live dealer games, using a unique system of Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins.

Play at Sweepstakes Casinos in California

Sweepstakes casinos mimic the game offerings of traditional real-money casinos. You’ll find popular titles like Big Bass Bonanza, Madame Destiny MegaWays, and DaVinci Diamonds.

Instead of wagering real money, players use Gold Coins for fun play or free Sweeps Coins, which can potentially be redeemed for cash prizes.

The conversion usually stands at 1 SC to $1. These casinos also feature unique versions of these virtual currencies, like Fortune Coins Casino, which uses its branded “Fortune Coins.”

Can I Win Real Money at California Sweepstakes Casinos?

While direct betting with real money isn’t a feature in California sweepstakes casinos, the unique aspect of these platforms is the ability to redeem Sweeps Coins, accumulated through gameplay, for real cash prizes.

It’s important to note that only Sweeps Coins that are won through gameplay are redeemable, and casinos often set minimum redemption amounts.

Are California Sweepstakes Online Casinos Legit?

Despite not being regulated by California state authorities, online sweepstakes casinos fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Many of these sites have been operational for years, some even owned by publicly traded companies, and they often collaborate with renowned game developers who also supply real-money casinos.

My California Online Casino Experience

As a player in California, my experience with sweepstakes casinos has been comparable to what real-money online casinos offer.

Game developers like Pragmatic Play and NetEnt, who are major players in the real-money casino space, also design games for sweepstakes casinos. This results in a gaming experience with high-quality graphics, sound, and innovative features.

The difference in gameplay between sweepstakes casinos and real money operators is hardly noticeable most of the time, outside of the capabilities to play for fun using Gold Coins at sweepstakes casinos.

California Sweepstakes Casino List

Here’s a comprehensive list of sweepstakes casinos in California, including their no-purchase and first-purchase bonuses:

Best California Sweepstakes Casinos

Despite the absence of real-money gambling legalization, Californians can still enjoy playing at various U.S. sweepstakes casinos. Notable ones include Zula Casino, High 5 Casino, and Stake.us.

Zula Casino

Zula Casino, a similar site to Fortune Coins and the upcoming Sportzino social sportsbook, is a standout sweepstakes casino. Offering games by Pragmatic Play, it allows gameplay with both Gold Coins and free Sweeps Coins.

Zula starts new players on the right foot with the Zula Casino no-deposit bonus, where new players get 8 FREE Sweeps Coins on sign-up.

High 5 Casino

Distinguished by offering live dealer games and having a dedicated mobile app, High 5 Casino has been a well-established platform since its 2012 launch. Players can enjoy games with Gold Coins or free sweep coins, with the added feature of Diamonds for game boosts.

Pulsz Bingo

Unique for its focus on bingo games, Pulsz Bingo, along with its sister site Pulsz Casino, offers an extensive range of over 400 slot games. The site also features a dedicated Android app.

Stake.us

Stake.us takes the social aspect of gaming seriously, encouraging player interactions in chat rooms. It offers live dealer games in partnership with Beter Live and a robust VIP program with various reward tiers.

Stake.us’s no-deposit bonus also grants you a free stake coin every day just for logging in — which means you can really rack up the free rewards on the platform.

WOW Vegas

Specializing in slot machines, WOW Vegas boasts a vast collection of games from developers like Pragmatic Play and Betsoft. It constantly updates its library with both new and popular titles.

The site also offers the WOW Vegas promo code, which grants users 5 FREE SC on sign-up and a first-purchase bonus of 35 FREE Sweeps Coins.

How to Choose the Best California Sweepstakes Casinos

When selecting a sweepstakes casino in California, consider factors like welcome bonuses, player experience, game selection, redemption requirements, and special features.

Signup Bonuses

Signup bonuses and, specifically, sweepstakes no-deposit bonuses are vital to consider.

All of the sweepstakes casino operators will offer at least free Gold Coins, and many will also offer a number of free sweeps coins when you sign up.

These no-deposit bonuses in California provide a risk-free way to test the platform and its games.

Playing Experience

The overall playing experience, including site usability and customer support, is crucial. A seamless and enjoyable gaming experience enhances the value of playing at a sweepstakes casino.

Games

The variety and quality of games available are significant.

Look for a range of options, a large number and multiple different types of sweepstakes casino slots is a plus.

A sweepstakes casino offering table games is a bit rarer, but it is still a common offering. Naturally, you also want to find a site that meets your eye and is easy to navigate across games and game types.

Gameplay Modes

Sweepstakes casinos typically offer two modes: Gold Coins Mode for fun and Sweeps Coin Mode for winning redeemable coins.

Some casinos might have unique branding for these modes, like Fortune Coins Casino where the redeemable currency is known as Fortune Coins.

Unique Features

Special features like jackpots, progressive jackpots, bonus rounds, and MegaWays can enhance the gaming experience, providing more excitement and potentially larger wins.

Redemption Process

Understanding the redemption process, including minimum redemption amounts and eligibility criteria, is important before engaging in gameplay.

California Casino Apps vs Desktop

The choice between playing on sweepstakes casino apps versus desktop depends on personal preferences, with each having its own set of pros and cons.

Desktop Pros & Cons

Desktop gaming offers immersive gameplay and stunning graphics but lacks the convenience of on-the-go play.

App Pros & Cons

Mobile apps provide the flexibility of playing anywhere but may have limitations like smaller graphics and limited availability across platforms.

How To Download a California Casino App for iPhone and Android

Downloading casino apps for both iPhone and Android is straightforward.

For iPhone, use the Apple Store, and for Android, use the Google Play Store or the casino’s website for direct downloads. Always allow automatic updates for a smooth gaming experience.

How Signup Offers Work at California Online Casinos

Signing up for sweepstakes casinos in California is simple and often rewarded with welcome bonuses, including no-deposit sweepstakes bonuses and first-purchase promos. Follow the site’s signup process, usually involving basic personal information and verification steps.

Banking Options

Common banking options at sweepstakes casinos include major credit cards, e-wallets, online banking, and gift cards. Transactions are usually immediate for purchases, while redemptions can take a few business days.

Can You Earn VIP Rewards From a California Online Casino?

Yes, many sweepstakes casinos offer VIP rewards programs, similar to land-based casinos, with points earned for gameplay, redeemable for various prizes.

Casino Games

Sweepstakes casinos in California offer a range of games including slots, table games, video poker, and live dealer games. The experience is akin to real-money casinos, though played with Gold Coins or free Sweeps Coins.

Slots

Slots are a staple at online casinos, with features like jackpots and bonus rounds making them highly engaging. Popular titles include Divine Fortune, Gonzo’s Quest, and Wheel of Fortune.

Tables Games

Table games at sweepstakes casinos offer an immersive experience with games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.

Video Poker

Video poker provides a fast-paced gaming experience, with popular variations including Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.

Bingo

Bingo, available at select sweepstakes casinos, offers a social gaming experience with various themed rooms and automatic card daubing.

Keno

Keno at sweepstakes casinos mirrors the lottery-style gameplay, with players picking numbers and winning based on matches.

Live Dealer

Live dealer games offer an immersive experience with real-time gameplay and traditional rules. Popular live dealer games include Texas Hold’em and Blackjack.

What Are the Stakes at Sweepstakes Casinos in California?

Stakes vary and are dependent on the chosen game and casino. Each casino has its own minimum and maximum stake limits, often indicated in Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins.

California Gambling Sites vs. Land-Based Casinos

The comparison between online sweepstakes casinos and land-based casinos in California highlights the accessibility and variety of online platforms, as well as the convenience of banking and player rewards.

Game Selection

Online casinos offer an expansive selection of games easily accessible from the homepage, often with filtering options for convenience.

Player Experience

Online gaming provides a seamless experience, reliant on internet or cell service, with the convenience of playing anywhere within legal boundaries.

Mobile Gameplay

Mobile gameplay allows for gaming on the go, as long as the player is within California or other non-restricted states.

Do I Have To Live in California to Gamble Online?

No, residing in California isn’t a prerequisite to engaging in online sweepstakes casinos. These platforms commonly welcome participants from all over the United States, with the notable exceptions of Washington State and Quebec. However, player acceptance may vary by site, with some excluding residents from Idaho or Nevada.

While traveling in a state where real-money online gambling is lawful, you’re eligible to play regardless of your state of residence.

How Do CA Gambling Sites Acquire My Location?

To pinpoint your exact location while gaming, California’s sweepstakes casinos primarily utilize your computer’s IP address, along with location services on iPhones or Android devices.

Account verification is mandatory before redeeming Sweeps Coins. This process typically involves submitting photos of your government-issued ID’s front and back, and sometimes a selfie. Redemption of Sweeps Coins is not possible if your ID reflects an address in a restricted state.

Do You Always Need to Download GeoComply Software?

In the realm of California’s sweepstakes casinos, the need for GeoComply software is non-existent. However, for real-money online casinos in states where online gambling is sanctioned, downloading this software might be a requirement.

How Old Do I Need to Be to Gamble in CA?

The minimum age for participating in sweepstakes casino activities varies by site. While the majority stipulate a minimum age of 18, certain sites raise this requirement to 21.

Responsible Gaming in California

Online casinos in California proactively offer various safety measures for players, such as self-exclusion and setting limits on purchases. Most sweepstakes casinos provide fundamental information on player safety and tools like purchase limits, account closure, and self-exclusion.

Options like the “break-in-play” feature, available in casinos such as Stake.us, allow players to request temporary breaks from gaming, ranging from 24 hours to one week or even a month. Account closure requests are also facilitated.

Key California Online Casino Laws and Tax Information

Players bear the responsibility of paying taxes on any winnings from sweepstakes casinos in California. Depending on the winning amount, the casino might withhold taxes, or players may need to declare these winnings in their tax returns.

Such winnings are subject to both state and federal taxes, with sweepstakes winnings exceeding $5,000 taxed at 24%. However, this tax rate excludes bingo, slots, or keno winnings. Regardless, reporting these winnings to the IRS remains a necessity.

Lance Patton
Topic Expert
Lance Patton

Lance Patton, a graduate of the University of Iowa, is an experienced iGaming writer. He started his career as a freelance sports writer for number of websites before focusing in on sportsbook and casino promotions. When Lance isn't working, he keeps busy with his hobbies, usually either playing golf, cards, or video games. And is an avid sports fan, especially in regard to his hometown Hawkeyes.