The state of gaming in California in 2023

The California gaming industry generates $51.8 billion annually, employing over 218,000 people, far surpassing Washington's second-largest market.

California boasts one of the biggest gambling and video gaming markets in the United States. In fact, no state can compare to California regarding the impact that gaming has on its economic growth. And although the state is somewhat lacking in online gambling options compared to other states, the industry is far from small. 

The state of video gaming in California

The retail segment of the video gaming industry includes games made for personal computers, gaming consoles, and games designed for them. Additionally, the production of consoles, games, and accessories contributes substantially to the market. Also, the ever-growing revenue from online subscriptions is another big industry contributor.

A study from the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) showed that the California video gaming industry creates $51.8 billion in yearly economic output, with the sector employing more than 218,00 people. This puts California massively ahead of the second-biggest video gaming market, Washington, with $11.6 billion generated and almost 49,000 jobs created.

Interior view of a state-of-the-art video gaming floor, filled with diverse gaming consoles and machines without any text or logos. The setting reflects a high-energy atmosphere found in modern California casinos, with dynamic lighting and futuristic designs.

California is America’s epicenter of technological innovation and creativity in the gaming industry. Big name gaming companies are at home here. You’ve got top dogs like Activision Blizzard in Santa Monica, for one. They’ve been in the game for years, creating big hits like “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft.” The significance of these games extends beyond entertainment; they’ve become cultural phenomena, influencing everything from internet memes to blockbuster movies.

Head north to the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’ll find Electronic Arts (EA) in Redwood City. They’re another heavy hitter in the gaming scene in our state. EA is famous the world over for its EA Sports games. They make “FIFA” and “Madden NFL.” These games are played and loved around the globe. For instance, FIFA 23’s sales topped 10 million copies globally!

It’s not just global names thriving here. Smaller, independent studios based in CA have made a big splash in the industry, such as Thatgamecompany, known for its critically acclaimed titles like “Journey” and “Flower.” These games, though smaller in scale, have been compared to interactive art and are loved by thousands of players worldwide.

The gaming industry in California can also thrive thanks to the range of services available in the state to help its growth and attract talent from all over the world. This includes game development schools and cutting-edge tech companies, at which a diverse talent pool drawn from all over the world learn their craft.

The casino gaming landscape in California

The setting reflects a high-energy atmosphere found in modern California casinos, with dynamic lighting and futuristic designs. In the scene, there should be a variety of people, each of a different descent, actively engaged in playing the video games.

While California’s casino industry is not as developed as its video gaming industry, there are a few options available to residents. It’s thought that over 80% of adults in the state have gambled at some point in their lives, and they can take advantage of the following options: 

  • Offshore casinos – The only California casinos you can find online are those based offshore, as locally-licenced online casinos are not yet legal. Thankfully, lots of leading online offshore casinos are open to California gamblers. These sites boast a wide range of available games, tempting bonuses, exceptional customer service, and secure payment options. 
  • Social gaming – California residents can enjoy social gambling provided that no profits are made.
  • Poker rooms – Like casinos, online poker in California may be stuck in a legal gray area, but many offshore online poker rooms offer their services to California residents. Omaha, Texas Hold’em, and 7-card stud are just a few of the games available in out-of-state online poker rooms.
  • Charity gaming – Not-for-profit organizations based in California can hold raffle, bingo, and poker events as long as the proceeds are given to charity.
  • Tribal casinos – There are more than 60 tribal casinos across California and they can only be run by Native American tribes. These in-person casinos are available to local residents and visitors, and offer a range of slots and table games. Even after paying out winnings, these casinos generated more than $8 billion in revenue in 2019.


California’s gaming scene, both video games and casino games, is thriving in 2023, and it’s only set to get even bigger. Some of the world’s top video game developers have their roots in CA, developers that are household names with titles played by millions every month.

Currently, although it’s not straightforward to gamble in California, offshore gaming offers many options for residents, as do the state’s land-based tribal casinos. Locally-licenced online sports betting may be brought to the state next year, and many residents will be hoping that online casinos will follow suit.