The Journey to Make Online Sports Betting Legal in Georgia
Many types of sports betting are currently banned in this state, however gambling in Georgia might be changing soon. Atlanta is home to several powerful US teams including the Braves of the MLB, the Falcons of the NFL, the Hawks of the NBA, and Atlanta United FC of the MLS. The state has also hosted several championships including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and the annual PGA Masters. On top of this, there are many college sports events and heated collegiate rivalries competing across Georgia. Sports betting through illegal means is thought to be worth about $1.5 billion currently; revenue that could benefit the state if regulations were introduced.
State Senator Burt Jones recently filed Bill 403 which is currently headed to a Senate committee for review. While many people thought that sports betting would require a constitutional amendment through a voter ballot, SB 403 avoids this by giving control of Georgia’s sports betting to the state lottery. It would also offer just eight licenses to sports betting companies but will allow sports betting through mobile devices or apps. To be able to take part in sports betting, residents will need to be 21+ and located within state borders.
Atlanta’s four major sports teams back this legislation, but it is unclear how it will do as it heads to government. Many in power have unfavorable stances toward the legalization of gambling in the state, but pressure from sports teams might prove to be key in swaying opinions. You will be able to follow the full progress of SB 403 on this page.
Are Online Casinos Available to Play at in Georgia?
Just as with sports betting in the Peach State, legislators have restricted online gambling at casinos. While there are no explicit laws forbidding play at online destinations, state law firmly bans bets placed on any game played with dice, cards, or balls. On the other hand, you can play coin machines at many convenience stores throughout Georgia. Though they are like slots, they do not pay out real money, only credit for the store. There are also no tribal casinos in this state.
If you want to play casino games, you either need to jump on the Emerald Princess Casino Cruise out of Brunswick or cross the Peach State’s border to a neighboring one that offers play at casinos. Some offshore sites try to claim that players from Georgia can join their sites. However, only ones that the state government regulates can ever truly be considered safe. These ones overseas are not, so players in GA should not sign up to them. There is always a chance that these sites might sell your data or withhold your winnings. Not having any state regulations means you might not have a governing body to turn to if you need to contest something.
Legislators did attempt to introduce a bill that would allow two “destination resorts” in Georgia. This bill, proposed by Senator Brandon Beach and Representative Ron Stephens, died off early on its journey.
With the legalization of sports betting on the way, the conversation about casino gambling in Georgia might strike up again. If lawmakers introduce any new bills to change legislation, you will be able to follow them here.
Online Poker in Georgia
Despite several big players in poker circles emerging from the Peach State, restrictions surrounding poker in Georgia are as strict as ever. Since the law prohibits wagers on card games, online gambling sites that offer poker are not valid places to play.
Some online sites claim to give American players the chance to play online poker. Residents should not take up these offers as the state does not regulate these sites. There is always a chance that players could end up on the wrong side of the law or they could even lose money through the site’s practices.
For now, those wishing to play online poker should wait until the law changes. The conversation is moving towards a more positive stance on gambling in Georgia. If legislators do introduce an online casino bill, it will likely cover online poker in some capacity. You will be able to follow the progress of any such bill introduced on this page.
Does Georgia Allow Daily Fantasy Sports Sites?
Like in many other states, daily fantasy sports in Georgia exist in a legal gray area. There are no laws explicitly banning operators, but there are also no laws making this type of gaming fully legal and regulated. With a negative stance taken by Georgia’s Attorney General’s office, it might be a while before we see some sort of true fantasy sports legalization take root in the Peach State.
Despite this stance, several operators do offer fantasy sports. Residents in GA can currently take part in games from DraftKings and FanDuel. Legalbetting’s stance is that these games are not strictly legal. It would be better to wait for changes to the law so players can fully enjoy regulated games. Lawmakers introduced previous bills to try to legalize daily fantasy sports such as HB 118 in 2018. Though these have failed, there is a chance that the legalization of sports betting could reopen the conversation about daily fantasy sports.
If legislators draft a new bill to regulate daily fantasy sports in Georgia, you will be able to follow its progress here on this page.
Does Georgia Have an Online Lottery?
Lawmakers introduced the Georgia Lottery after a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 1992. Players can enjoy several daily draw games in addition to keno. The Georgia Five jackpot draws twice daily and has a top jackpot of $10,000. Players can also enjoy the multijurisdictional games Cash4Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
You must be 18+ and located within state borders to be able to purchase lottery tickets. You can buy these tickets from official retailers all over the state. You can also purchase online lotto tickets through the official lottery website or the app if you are a member of the free Georgia Lottery Players Club. Joining the club also gives you access to exclusive events, coupons for games, and second-chance drawings.
Other Important Facts About Gambling in Georgia
Unlike other states that have allowed pari-mutuel betting on horses and dogs, Georgia has always heavily regulated gambling. The only form of “gambling” that has been legal in GA for a long time has been charitable bingo games. State regulations only allow a maximum of $1500 per session or $3000 a week in prizes. There are bingo halls all over the state that run games every day.
In 2019, the Lottery gave 26.6% of its revenue to the Lottery for Education Account. This equaled approximately $1.2 billion. This money is then given to pre-K programs throughout the state and the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) scholarship. Since the lottery started giving money to the HOPE scholarship, it has shared $10.8 billion amongst more than 1.9 million recipients.
If Jones’s sports betting bill becomes law, the Georgia Lottery will be the governing body in charge of regulating sports betting throughout the state. Sports betting companies will pay a 20% tax on their income. From this revenue, 95% will go to the state’s HOPE scholarship and the remaining 5% will go to funds for addiction treatment.
The failed daily fantasy sports bill HB 118 would have taxed fantasy sports operators at 6%. The revenue generated here would have gone back into state education programs just like SB 403 proposes. Should the state introduce a new fantasy sports bill, the regulations will likely take a similar structure.
The Future of Online Gambling in Georgia
Though the situation might seem bleak in Georgia, online gambling might be closer than we think. SB 403 could introduce legal sports betting to the Peach State and open the doors for other types of betting too. The Peach State might make some serious changes to its stance on online gambling soon.