California Daily Fantasy Sports: Ultimate Guide 2023

The evolution of fantasy sports has transformed the way fans interact with their favorite games and players. This has particularly been the case in the Golden State, with California daily fantasy sports (DFS) experiencing a surge in popularity in recent years. With its legalization in 2016, DFS has emerged as a dynamic and robust industry in California, featuring various games that cater to sports fans of every stripe. The ensuing years have witnessed a steady increase in DFS participants, making it a cornerstone of the state’s digital sports industry. California’s impressive diversity of sports teams across all major leagues contributes to the widespread engagement and fervor that surrounds DFS. 

California Daily Fantasy Sports

California Daily Fantasy Sports

  • 🏈 Popular Sports in CA: California is home to numerous franchises across the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. Additionally, the state also hosts motorsport events and has several NCAA Division I colleges, offering numerous opportunities for sports betting, should it be legalized.
  • 📊 Market Statistics: California has a large market for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), with Californians making up roughly 10% of total entries in US-based DFS contests. The state’s large population base and interest in sports contribute to its significant DFS market share.
  • ⚖️ Legal Status: While sports betting is illegal in California, the state does not have laws that specifically prohibit DFS. As a result, DFS sites operate in a legal “gray area” and can accept players from the state.
  • 💰 Potential for Tax Revenue: There are ongoing efforts to possibly legalize sports betting in California, with the potential inclusion of DFS. If DFS were regulated, it could generate significant tax revenue for the state.

Daily Fantasy Sports Options in California

A rich array of sports constitutes the California daily fantasy sports market. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • NFL (National Football League)
  • NBA (National Basketball Association)
  • MLB (Major League Baseball)
  • NHL (National Hockey League)
Daily Fantasy NFL

Daily Fantasy NFL

The National Football League (NFL) is immensely popular in California, and it comes as no surprise that it holds a prominent position in the DFS landscape. With its fast-paced action and passionate fan base, the NFL attracts a significant number of participants in California’s DFS scene. The rules of play in DFS involve selecting a roster of players within a specified salary cap and earning points based on their performance in real games.

Daily Fantasy NBA

Daily Fantasy NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) also enjoys a substantial following in California. With its high-scoring games and superstar players, the NBA provides an exciting platform for DFS enthusiasts. Participants construct their fantasy teams by selecting players from different NBA teams, and the performance of those players translates into points for the DFS competition.

Daily Fantasy MLB

Daily Fantasy MLB

Major League Baseball (MLB) has a rich history and a dedicated fan base in California. DFS enthusiasts in the state embrace the opportunity to engage with the sport on a daily basis. In DFS MLB, participants select a roster of players from various teams and earn points based on their batting, pitching, and fielding performances in real games.


Daily Fantasy NHL

Although ice hockey might not be as prominent in California as other sports, the National Hockey League (NHL) still garners a passionate following. DFS enthusiasts who appreciate the speed, skill, and physicality of the game can participate in daily fantasy NHL contests. Similar to other DFS options, participants select a lineup of players and accumulate points based on their performance during real NHL games.

DFS’s legal status in California has had an intriguing journey. After a period of intense debate, it was declared legal in 2016. This section will delve deeper into the historical and current legal facets of DFS in the state.

Timeline of DFS Legislation in California

The timeline below presents key events in the progression of daily fantasy sports legislation in California, giving a snapshot of the changes that have shaped the DFS landscape in the state.

2015. DFS legality comes under scrutiny

In response to the growing popularity of DFS, questions arose regarding its legality under California law.

Early 2016. Legislative debates begin

California lawmakers commence discussions on the possibility of legalizing DFS in the state. The focus is on whether DFS is a game of skill or chance, which has implications under gambling law.

Mid 2016. DFS becomes legal in California

The California legislature passes a bill officially legalizing and regulating DFS. The legislation characterizes DFS as games of skill, differentiating them from gambling.

Late 2016. Initial regulatory framework established

California law establishes an initial framework for DFS operations, requiring operators to be licensed and adhere to consumer protections.

2018. Enhancement of player protection measures

California strengthens DFS player protections with new measures. This includes requirements for clearer disclosures of terms and conditions, as well as enhanced safeguards to ensure fair play.

2020. Examination of additional tax revenue options

California lawmakers consider proposals for additional taxation of DFS revenues to fund state services and initiatives.

2021. Further legal refinements

Further refinements are made to the legislation to streamline licensing procedures and improve operational efficiency for DFS operators.

This table reflects the thoughtful evolution of California’s DFS regulations, ensuring that both the industry’s growth and player protections are adequately addressed. It underlines California’s position as a pioneer in the DFS landscape, and its commitment to fostering a fair and transparent DFS environment.

The minimum legal age for participating in DFS in California is 21 years. Strict penalties are in place for any violations, with fines and possible account suspension for players found to be underage.

Role of California Gambling Control Commission


The California Gambling Control Commission plays a significant role in the state’s DFS landscape. Established to regulate and license gaming establishments, cardrooms, and Indian casinos in California, the Commission ensures that all gambling activities adhere to the state’s laws and regulations.

Following the legalization of DFS in California, the Commission has expanded its oversight to include DFS platforms. It enforces strict regulations, ensuring these platforms operate transparently and ethically. This oversight helps to maintain a safe and fair environment for all DFS participants in the state.

Impact of the Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act

The passing of the Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act marked a crucial turning point for DFS in California. The Act clarified the status of DFS as a game of skill, effectively differentiating it from games of chance that fall under gambling regulations. This legislation opened the door for DraftKings, FanDuel, and other DFS platforms to operate legally in the state.

Importantly, the Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act introduced a framework for the regulation and oversight of DFS platforms. This framework mandated consumer protections, ensuring that DFS platforms operated transparently and that players were treated fairly.


The future of DFS in California appears promising. With its large population, passionate sports culture, and legal framework in place, the state is likely to continue witnessing growth in the DFS scene. As technology advances and platforms become more user-friendly, DFS participation is expected to increase, attracting more sports fans to this engaging form of competition.

In conclusion, California offers a vibrant and diverse daily fantasy sports scene. With options ranging from NFL and NBA to MLB and NHL, sports enthusiasts in the state have ample opportunities to indulge in their favorite pastimes. As the legal landscape evolves and the popularity of DFS grows, California’s DFS community can look forward to an exciting future filled with thrilling competitions and the chance to win enticing prizes. So, why not join the DFS movement and experience the thrill of assembling your dream team? Engage in the California DFS scene and take your sports fandom to new heights!



Yes, both DraftKings and FanDuel operate legally in California. The legalization of DFS in the state in 2016 allowed these platforms to offer their services to Californians.

The California Gambling Control Commission oversees the operation of DFS platforms in the state. The Commission ensures that these platforms comply with all state laws and regulations, providing a safe and fair environment for DFS participants.

The Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act is a piece of legislation passed in California that clarified the status of DFS as a game of skill. This Act provided a legal framework for DFS to operate within the state, ensuring fair and transparent practices.

California's professional sports teams contribute to DFS by providing a rich backdrop of players and matches for fantasy sports games. These teams help drive engagement with DFS as fans have the opportunity to include their favorite local players in their fantasy teams.

The minimum legal age for participating in DFS in California is 21 years.

California's DFS market is quite significant, making up approximately 10% of total entries in US-based DFS contests. This is due to the state's large population base and high interest in sports.

Yes, if DFS were regulated and subject to taxation in California, it could generate significant tax revenue for the state.

DFS is considered a game of skill, where participants construct their fantasy teams and earn points based on the performance of the players. Traditional sports betting, on the other hand, often involves wagering on the outcome of a game.