If you’ve just recently become a legal adult, you might wonder where you can go to gamble as an 18-year-old in California. With some exceptions, many legal casinos or card rooms in California will let you enter as soon as you turn 18. The same goes for any online gambling apps, although these are very limited because of California’s strict gambling legislation.
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Here we will break down where you can enjoy 18+ gambling in the Golden State.
California Indian Casinos: Gambling Options For 18+
The legal gambling age is 18-years-old on all land under California jurisdiction. Because Indian casinos technically operate on reservation land, they aren’t beholden to California legislation. They can set their own legal gambling age to some extent (with some government oversight). Because of this, some Indian casinos allow anyone 18-years-old or older to enter, while others have a higher minimum of 21-years-old.
The reason for this is that some Indian casinos serve alcohol on open gambling floors or otherwise make it very easy for anyone to obtain alcohol, even while following licensing verification practices. They set their legal entrance ages to 21-years-old to prevent any instances of underage drinking on their premises.
This means it’s important to always double-check whether a tribal casino has a legal age of 18-years-old or 21-years-old before making the trip. Most tribal casinos follow the 21-year-old rule. However, there are more than 20 (out of 63) that currently allow 18-year-olds to enter.
Northern California 18+ Casinos
Northern California casinos are usually based around Sacramento or San Francisco: the two largest metropolitan areas in the top half of the state. These resorts run from large to very small, featuring diverse themes and lots of different gambling activities that range from slot machines to lottery games to blackjack and other electronic games. Most tribal casinos are located in the southern half of the state, but there are still plenty of worthwhile ones to check out north of Fresno.
Here are some of the best Northern California 18+ casinos:
Table Mountain Casino
Just 20 miles north of Fresno, this casino is due for a big renovation over the next few years. For now, it includes several thousand gaming machines and over 40 table games. It also offers 10 poker tables for reserved or spur-of-the-moment Sit’N’Go games. The casino is currently looking into creating an adjacent hotel, but there are plenty of other accommodations nearby as well. Dining and live entertainment activities round out its offerings.
Lucky Bear Casino
A smaller tribal casino totaling 5000 ft.², Lucky Bear is one of the most northern tribal casinos in California. It’s nestled in the beautiful mountains and features dozens of slot machines and other games. It’s an ideal place to gamble and relax while touring the Northern California wilderness or road tripping up the coast.
Elk Valley Casino
This Northern California casino is open 24 hours daily. It features 23,000 ft.² of gaming space, 11 table and poker games, and over 300 distinct gaming machines. These are available alongside a single restaurant for convenient dining access.
Southern California 18+ Casinos
Southern California casinos outnumber their Northern California counterparts by a fair margin, and they’re mostly concentrated around Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Diego. They also include plenty of spas to take advantage of the typically relaxing, sunny Southern California ambiance. Additionally, many of the casinos feature entertainment venues reflecting a focus on the show business industry. These venues often utilize iconography or themes that draw from Hollywood or other iconic neighborhoods.
Here are some of the best Southern California 18+ casinos:
Morongo Casino Resort Spa
This casino is a perfect choice if you want to mix some spa time with your gambling activities. It’s very close to Palm Springs and has over 150,000 ft.² in total with nearly 3,000 slot machines. It also includes a poker room and 13 reserve poker tables for private games, plus a variety of spa and resort amenities like massages services, and pool access.
Tachi Palace Casino Resort
This famous casino is located in Lemoore just south of Central California. It’s one of the best casinos in the region, with over 2,000 slot machines, a seven-table poker room, and a 255-room hotel and spa. Several restaurants and other dining venues nearby make it a great place for general relaxation and vacationing.
Full List of 18+ California Casinos
|Barona Valley Ranch Casino||Lakeside, CA|
|Black Bart Casino||Willits, CA|
|Casino Pauma||Pauma Valley, CA|
|Cher-Ae-Heights Casino||Trindad, CA|
|Chicken Ranch Bingo & Casino||Jamestown, CA|
|Coyote Valley Shodaki Casino||Redwood Valley, CA|
|Eagle Mountain Casino||Porterville, CA|
|Elk Valley Casino||Crescent City, CA|
|Gold Country Casino||Oroville, CA|
|Golden Acorn Casino||Camp, CA|
|Jackson Rancheria Casino||Jackson, CA|
|Lucky Bear Casino||Hoopa, CA|
|Mono Wind Casino||Auberry, CA|
|Morongo Casino Resort||Cabazon, CA|
|Pit River Casino||Burney, CA|
|Red Fox Casino||Laytonville, CA|
|Sycuan Resort & Casino||El Cajon, CA|
|Table Mountain Casino||Fraint, CA|
|The Palace||Leemore, CA|
Sweepstakes Online Casinos In California 18+
There are a few ways you can enjoy 18+ online gambling in California even though the activity is broadly illegal. One way is by using sweepstakes sites. Sweepstakes sites technically don’t have you gamble with real money. Instead, you play with digital Sweeps Coins or other types of fake currency.
Because you aren’t gambling with real money, California’s anti-gambling legislation does not ban the activity. Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots are great examples of online sweepstakes casinos.
LuckyLand Slots offers hundreds of digital slot games if those are your favorite. Chumba Casino, on the other hand, offers a broader online casino experience and provides several options for digital table games. Of course, you have to be 18-years-old or older to sign up for either website.
Sweepstakes Online Poker In California 18+
Sweepstakes poker, which also follows the sweepstakes gaming model, is another option that circumvents anti-gambling legislation in California. Global Poker is really the only option you should consider, as it’s a well-regulated and well-designed website that allows you to find poker games against human opponents any time, all over the world. It’s also legal in most US states.
Global Poker offers two classic poker games: Texas or Omaha Hold’Em. You can purchase digital currency or get free bonus Sweeps Coins just by playing regular poker games. These coins can be redeemed for cash prizes, which adds a little bit of excitement to every game.
Traffic is fairly consistent, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get a game even if you want to play during the middle of the week when most people (in your location) are at work. There are some daily and weekly tournaments offered as well, although the Sit’N’Go format of poker is by far the most common type.
Be aware that poker tables can vary dramatically. Skill level matches are hit or miss, so you might sit down with one game and dominate the competition, only to find yourself drastically outmatched during the next.
See our full Review of Global Poker in California.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) In California 18+
Daily fantasy sports in California is still a gray legal area. In short, daily fantasy sports is neither legal nor illegal because there isn’t any California legislation outright stating either position. Big daily fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel have so far managed to continue providing DFS without challenge.
Currently, anti-gambling legislation in California only bans players from wagering real money on games of chance. However, DFS operators claim that fantasy sports is a skill-based wagering activity.
Until California legislation rules one way or the other, both DraftKings and FanDuel are excellent online DFS apps that anyone 18-years-old or older can enjoy.
Signing up for either app is pretty easy, and both providers offer intuitive user interfaces that look remarkably alike when you see them side by side. Both also provide opening bonuses, although DraftKings’ is much better, with a $500 deposit match guarantee and some free site credit.
You’ll also be able to enjoy tons of sports lineups and activities, ranging from major leagues like the NFL or NBA to women’s leagues or international soccer. The apps even have some options for eSports.
California 18+ Gambling FAQ
What do you need to get into a gambling establishment in CA?
If you’ve recently turned 18-years-old, be sure to have an up-to-date version of your driver’s license or government-issued ID.
Can you access online betting apps when you’re 18?
Yes. However, in California, the only online gambling apps that are legal are for daily fantasy sports and horse racing. These apps will ask for your date of birth and your Social Security number to verify your information before allowing you to make an account.
Can you enjoy sports betting when you’re 18 in CA?
No. Sports betting currently isn’t legal anywhere in the state. However, tribal organizations may bring this to their brick-and-mortar casinos in the near future.
If you are 18-years-old, can you still enter 21+ Indian casinos?
Not likely. The law is there to prevent underage drinkers from gaining access alcohol, not necessarily to stop them from gambling.
Does Northern or Southern California have more 18+ gambling establishments?
There are slightly more in Southern California. In general, you’ll find more casinos or card rooms around big cities anywhere in the state.
Update: Read the document sealing the casino's fate. See end.
As of the first of the month, the electronic slot machines have ceased rolling at City Business Center on the 4800 block of Mission Street.
The last of a phalanx of internet casinos that recently graced this stretch of the Mission, City Business Center was the lone holdout following a January settlement that took down neighboring gambling center Net Stop. That much-maligned internet casino has since been replaced by a dollar store, and its neighboring casinos withered following the City Attorney's suit and settlement with the gambling house's owners, the landlords of its building, and the maker of the internet technology enabling the gaming within.
A sign at the cashout desk informed weekend patrons that, come Sept. 1, City Business Center would no longer serve as a virtually all-hours gambling parlor. A stock photo of a large house surrounded by a stately fence and resembling very few residences in San Francisco noted that all gambling would henceforth have to be undertaken “from home.” City Business Center will still keep its doors open for gamblers walking in to put money on their accounts and claiming their winnings.
But the several dozen computers on Sunday utilized by mid-day gamblers will, by order of the city, be put to new use. The counterman at City Business Center said he's unsure just what the store will do; despite the establishment's innocuous name, it no longer even offers the pretense of faxing or printing up customers' documents.
The combination of long hours, gambling, and unwanted ancillary activity led to hundreds of complaints being showered upon Net Stop and its fellow casinos and, per city officials, a spike in area crime.
SF Weekly is told that this is, to the city's knowledge, the last overt internet casino in San Francisco. While the city's January settlement targeted the software City Business Center uses, the business held out this long claiming a technicality.
City Business Center's closure was greeted happily by area residents. They immediately pointed to nearby shuttered storefronts, however, and noted that these locations host after-hours gambling dens of the non-internet variety.
These are not affected by this settlement.
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SF Weekly is awaiting the documents underlying this action from the City Attorney's office.
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Update, 1:35 p.m.: The order curtailing City Business Center's run as a casino is short and sweet. Two pages. You can read it here, or below: