A web of governmental crackdowns, speakeasy whispers, and gold rush riches binds San Francisco’s gambling relationship together.

Expansion of the Gold Rush

As a hub for those seeking fortune in the 1849 Gold Rush, San Francisco thrived. Along with banks, saloons sprung up, providing gamblers with games like faro, roulette, and poker as they rummaged through their pockets for gold.

A Time of Grace

The upper class of San Francisco might be found in the plush gaming halls of the early 20th century. “The Tait-Russ House” and “The Shanghai Club” were names that conjured images of opulence, yet they were only in power for a brief period.

Earthquakes Below Ground

The state of California made gambling illegal in 1910. The posh clubs of San Francisco lost way to a maze of underground card games and speakeasies, frequently overseen by criminal organizations.

How a Contemporary City Stands

Even though San Francisco is known for its exciting nightlife, there are no casinos in the city proper. Visit the nearby city of Colma or one of the several Bay Area casinos if you’re in the mood to try your luck.


The multi-hued history of gambling in San Francisco is a reflection of the dynamic personality of the city. The city’s rich past enchants those who seek it out in secret corners and historical markers, even though casinos do not grace its distinctive skyline.