Getting to Know Georgia and Its Gambling History
Is any type of online gambling legal in Georgia?
- Online poker: It’s complicated.
- Online casino games: It’s complicated.
- Online sports betting: It’s complicated.
There is no mention in Georgia’s statutes about the status of online gambling or betting in any form being legal or illegal.
Georgia is a part of the southeastern United States and has a small coastline on the eastern side that touches the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Florida to the south, Alabama to the west, and Tennessee and North Carolina to the north, and a lot of South Carolina to the east.
- Abbreviation: GA
- State Motto: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation
- Capital City: Atlanta
- Population Estimate: 10.3 million (8th)
- Website: https://www.georgia.gov/
As a part of the old south, there are quite a few conservative views ruling Georgia. Those antiquated views about gambling being sinful is one of the primary reasons that there is so little legalized gambling in Georgia. While lawmakers don’t like to acknowledge that prohibition does not generally work, they must realize that much gambling happens in secret and via offshore websites.
The main form of gambling allowed in Georgia is the lottery, which was legalized in the 1990s. Some bingo is permitted under strict circumstances, as are raffles for charity.
As for forms of gambling that are specifically banned by Georgia law, those include dog race or horse race betting, dogfighting or betting on it, casinos, any type of commercial gambling, pyramid clubs, and even chain letters.
There are no compacts between Georgia and the numerous tribal nations in the state because of the law banning casinos, which was enacted before the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988.
The laws of Georgia are rather strict with regard to gambling, though internet games and sports betting are not mentioned by name. However, all commercial gambling is outlawed, as is any type of gambling advertising and even the possession of an antique slot machine. One section does say that permitting playing any game for money or “betting or wagering of money or other thing of value” is prohibited.
As if the definitions and prohibitions were not enough, the definition of a bet in the state’s statute kills most chances of arguing for the skill component in games like poker:
“An agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value.”
Most Recent Developments
Georgia lawmakers may not be too keen on updating the state’s gambling laws or giving voters the option to choose for themselves, but that may be changing.
During the time that the US government was cracking down on internet poker operators using the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Georgia took the opportunity to raid gambling facilities with internet cafes as the most specific target. The governor gave law enforcement the authority to raid and close those facilities.
Since then, however, the tide is turning by popular demand.
In 2017, a member of the State Senate made a notable attempt to legalize a horse racing track, pari-mutuel betting, and several land-based casinos. However, the bill never made it out of committee to reach the floor for a vote due to a lack of broad support. Later that year, the Georgia Republicans even passed a resolution to block any type of casino bill.
Groups are forming to lobby the legislature, though. From city council members to people in the business community, there is a movement to push for casino gambling, and polls suggest that most voters would approve. In addition, select tribal leaders are also beginning to push for the right to build a casino. While it may not happen in 2018, the momentum is growing.
The legislature is considering a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS), but the bill failed to pass in 2017 and has been carried over to the 2018 legislative session. It is unclear if there is enough support to pass.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: Numerous sites fill the void for Georgian poker players, sports bettors, and gamblers, as they offer online services for players throughout the state of Georgia.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: While Georgia lawmakers are opposed to gambling, the notion of spending money to pursue sites that are based and licensed outside of the US is probably not of much importance.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: As it is unlikely that Georgia law enforcement will want to or be able to pursue legal action against online gambling operators, it is nearly impossible to go after players themselves, as there are thousands of then across the state.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: If any sites decide to withdraw from the Georgia market, there will be a period during which players from Georgia will be able to retrieve their funds through a transfer to another site or a full withdrawal.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: The new fad in online gambling and betting transactions is cryptocurrency, and most sites that we recommend do accept bitcoin deposits and offer bitcoin withdrawals. For those interested in more traditional methods, those range from bank wires to debit and credit cards, to check withdrawals. Each site is different and should be consulted for their specific offerings. The customer service department can also help sort through the possibilities best suited for you.