Why is Roulette Illegal in California?

Why is Roulette Illegal in California

1 minute

Last Updated: February 8, 2024

Roulette is illegal in California because the law forbids games of chance where dice or balls, or any other objects decide the outcome of games. Under this law, house-banked games are also prohibited. Originally, gambling was banned in California until the signing of gaming compacts between the Indian tribes and the government. 

This gambling compact allowed for gambling on Tribal land but regulated the kinds of games that are available to players. With these restrictions in place, casinos in California have gotten clever by introducing altered versions of the games that do not break the law. 

In the case of Roulette, casinos have introduced a card-based variant where players select cards to determine the number chosen. In another variant, a spinning card wheel is used, and players are to randomly select one of the cards to determine the number. Some variations keep the ball on the roulette wheel, and the number it lands on is used to determine what card a player should open to reveal the winning number. These alterations place a different dynamic on the game, as players now have to learn new strategies to beat the odds and win. 

It is important to note that these alterations remain as similar as possible to the original games. The roulette rules, odds, and house edge remain largely the same, but the major decision mechanisms have been changed to accommodate the peculiarities of the law in California. Therefore, the original version of roulette might be illegal, but you can find other variations to enjoy. 

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