When you think of gambling in California, Las Vegas-style reservation casinos are probably the first things to come to mind. So you might be surprised to learn that the history of gambling in the state goes far back—all the way to the beginning!
What does Poker have to do with it?
When California became a state in 1850, poker was already a staple of Gold Rush saloons. But across the country, states were starting to crack down on gambling, so legislators decided to pre-empt prohibition by writing into the brand-new state constitution that poker was a game of skill, not chance—an important distinction that still affects gambling laws today. Card clubs and poker rooms continued to flourish, and there are around 90 currently in operation in the state with annual revenues topping $1 billion annually.