Is Bovada Legal in California 2023?
Updated: November 27, 2023
Bovada is one of the most popular offshore online sportsbooks and casinos in the United States.
It has been for quite a while.
- This Costa Rica-based company has gamblers from all over the world.
- But is Bovada legal?
- More specifically, is Bovada legal in California?
This is a more challenging question to answer than you may think.
The residents of California have repeatedly shot down any attempts for online gambling to be available in California.
However, Bovada still operates there.
How is this possible? Well, we will try and explain it in the simplest terms possible (it is a bit of a legal minefield).
Is Bovada Legal in California?
Technically, no. But only technically.
California prohibits online gambling. There have been attempts to introduce laws that regulate it, most notably in November 2022, but the residents of California are still not fans.
Some Californians hope that online gambling will be legalized in California at some point.
It would pull in extra tax revenue. The only thing currently allowed in California is social gambling (for fun, not for money), online horse race betting, and fantasy-style sports.
That being said, Bovada is not located in California.
It is located in Costa Rica. It is fully licensed in Costa Rica.
Because it is located outside the United States, it is known as an ‘offshore casino.' This is where we have a bit of a grey area.
The laws in California prohibit sportsbooks and casinos from operating within California. California cannot regulate what other people do, though.
No law prohibits the residents of California from playing at an online casino or sportsbook. Only a couple of states ban this (more on that in a short while).
It would have been almost impossible in the past due to strict federal gambling regulations that controlled who could handle money for gambling transactions.
However, now those laws have been ditched, the residents of various states can gamble online without issues.
It is a bit of a grey area because, technically, it is twisting the law a little bit. However, residents do not get punished for gambling.
The only people that get punished are those that operate the gambling companies. California has no jurisdiction over a company based in another country, as much as they would probably love to.
Is Sports Betting Legal In California?
Again, technically no. Since November 2022, the residents of California have made it clear that they do not currently want online sports betting in their state, and it is unknown when sportsbooks will appear in the state, if ever.
The only things currently allowed in California are:
- Fantasy sports
- Social betting (for fun, not for money)
- Limited betting on horse racing.
Once again, these rules apply to companies that want to operate within California.
Neither Californian nor federal law bar gambling at offshore casinos. It is a loophole, although we doubt it will ever be closed.
What Are The Online Gambling California Laws in 2023?
We have told you the laws in quite a bit of depth so far, so we won't tread the same ground.
You know that online gambling (and physical gambling) is almost 100% illegal in California unless you are gambling at one of the offshore sites. Even that is a very grey area that is unlikely ever to be blocked.
Illegal gambling in California carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in prison, although punters are unlikely to get convicted. This is where the offshore casino comes into play anyway.
You can gamble at offshore casinos legally. They are legal casino operations, just not in California. As the law currently stands, you couldn't be arrested for gambling there. Of course, laws can be subject to change, but we doubt that they will be here.
It would be best to remember that online gambling isn't illegal in California to punish the residents; it is to help protect them from scammers and allow shady gambling enterprises to thrive (gambling has never been the cleanest industry in the world, after all).
This is why residents do not need to worry about being punished.
It is unlikely that they would be punished anyway. The prosecutor has to prove a lot about gambling, including profit margins for the casino or online sportsbook.
Getting this information from an offshore company is challenging, so that they won't bother.
California is trying to push through propositions 26 and 27, with the latter concerning online gambling.
If Proposition 27 or some variation of it passes, gambling at an online sportsbook in California will be legal.
The proposition (the recently rejected one) didn't cover online casinos, but proposition 26 did.
Unfortunately, as we said, Californians universally rejected these laws on election day.
A whopping 70% of people voted against them, which means there would need to be a serious change in thinking in California before something new comes into play.
Although, the Californian team's recent success in various sports is helping to change people's minds.
What Are The US States Bovada is Legal In?
Bovada is legal in 45 states.
It is not operated in just 5 of them:
- New Jersey
- New York
Sometimes, it is because the state has explicitly banned gambling at online sportsbooks and casinos.
Although, banning residents from gambling at online casinos probably wouldn't hold up in court. The Supreme Court has already said that states do not have the power to do this.
If Bovada is not available in a particular state, it is unlikely to be due to the legality of operating the online casino and sportsbook there. It is more because the states have incredibly tough gambling legislation, which, while it is legal, makes it difficult for Bovada to operate.
For example, if Bovada decided to cooperate with the laws, it would make them illegal in other states.
If you try to visit the Bovada website from any of these states, then you will be given a message telling you that you have been banned.
If you have gambled at these sites before and you find yourself suddenly blocked, then you can reach out to Bovada, and they can either fix the problem or help process any withdrawals of cash you have on the site.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Bovada will ever be legal in those five states. There isn't much call for it there, and those fans of online gambling have found a variety of loopholes that help to get around the problem.
Although, those loopholes probably are illegal, e.g., lying about your address.
What Other Offshore Sportsbooks Are Legal to Bet in California?
Dozens and dozens of online sportsbooks are legal to bet on in California.
If they are based outside the US, and a gambling authority outside the US has licensed them, gambling is likely legal to gamble there.
As you know, no rules govern what California residents can do with one of these sites.
We recommend that you research and ensure that you only gamble at reputable sites outside the US, though.
Since offshore sites don't fall under US jurisdiction, you are more likely to be scammed.
This is why you need to stick to reputable sites like Bovada and others that have been around for a while, including the ones below.
BetOnline is based in Panama, and it is accessible from within California.
MyBookie is also based in Panama and meets all of the legal restrictions in the country.
It is fully licensed, so playing at MyBookie from within California is legal and safe to gamble there.
XBet is owned by the same company that owns MyBookie. The sites are very similar in how they work, and they both carry the same license in Panama that allows them to operate.
So, once again, you should be safe gambling here and not have to worry about Californian laws.
BetUS is also located in Costa Rica. It has the same parent company as Bovada. So, this business has been around for a while and has repeatedly proven that it is a safe place to gamble.
Sites like Bovada are legal in California. This is because while gambling is illegal in California, including online gambling, it does not regulate offshore casinos.
This means that you can gamble at sites 100% legally. You can even take advantage of many of the bonuses that Bovada offers.
Remember, if you will gamble at any site other than Bovada, do your research.
This way, you know you are gambling at a reputable online casino or sportsbook.
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