Georgia Real Money Online Gambling Guide

Georgia is not one of the states that has taken to legal gambling very much, where up until recently, the only gambling that went on in the state was of the illegal variety. Attempts to prevent people from gambling by simply making it illegal turns out to be of limited use though, a reality that Georgia is starting to get a better grasp on.

Georgia at least has the lottery now, their first foray into gambling, even though they got into this game very late compared to other states. They even have 3 licensed real money poker rooms now, but nothing else has made it off the drawing board yet.

Georgians in the know aren’t waiting for their state government to change their tune and start tapping into the big Georgia gambling market that already exists, as gambling all you want in Georgia does not come down to what the state wants to do, it is instead about being in the know about what you can do now, which we will share with you.

History of Gambling in Georgia

Georgia Online Casinos and SlotsGeorgia is one of the country’s more conservative states when it comes to their view of gambling. The fact that their criminal statutes group gambling in the section of crimes against public morals is a big giveaway, as the consensus among Georgians over its history is that gambling is an act so immoral that its commission needs to be opposed by law enforcement and punished criminally.

This view may be a historically popular one in certain cultures but this view has become very outdated in American culture overall, where people have managed to open up their minds enough to view this as a mere disagreement over entertainment preferences or disagreements about how other people who are not party to transactions believe others should spend their money.

The very idea of prohibiting activities is based upon the prevention of harm to others, but this harm needs to be objective and not just be based upon personal disagreement over personal matters. The attitude in much of the country has changed when it comes to gambling at least, although not everywhere, and not in Georgia, whose laws for the most part continue to oppose the practice.

With only a couple of exceptions, this view has bent to some degree, and Georgia’s has bent enough over the years to start dipping their toe in the water where gambling is concerned. 1976 saw the permitting of charitable bingo games, which was a start at least, although they waited until 1992 to finally allow for the creation of the Georgia State Lottery, which was an instant success.

The state of Georgia now makes a billion dollars a year from this lottery, and in contrast to allowing for people to play bingo, this time the state is not only involved but is running the show themselves. Somehow, they have been able to rationalize the fact that gambling can be immoral and illegal but the state may distance themselves from this without needing to worry about acting in a contradictory way.

Georgia has seen fit to also allow two casino cruise ships to dock at ports in their state provided that the gambling occurs at least 3 miles offshore. This actually shows an increased tolerance to it, as they could ban these casino ships from ever docking if they wished, or set more stringent rules that would be enough to drive the operators away due to the difficulties in complying with the rules, as Texas did at one time.

Georgia also has 3 land-based poker rooms which are allowed to operate, although this is the extent of the appetite that the state has for land-based real money gambling. Georgia lags significantly in terms of the attitude that its people have toward gambling in general, and it may be some time before this state becomes sufficiently enlightened and progressive enough to get them in a position where they can narrow the gap between themselves and many of their neighbors.

Georgia Gambling Laws

There are three sections to Georgia’s criminal statutes that apply to gambling. The first addresses sports betting, the second specifically mentions betting on political contests, even though the first section prohibiting betting on contests could easily be understood as including these particular contests, with the third addressing betting on certain types of games:

a) A person commits the offense of gambling when he:
(1) Makes a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game or contest;
(2) Makes a bet upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
(3) Plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.

Section (1) clearly prohibits any betting on sports or contests, and section (2) specifically bans betting on the outcome of any election. Section (3) is the interesting one though, where you aren’t allowed to bet on any game played with cards, dice, or balls.

This would clearly include betting on casino games such as blackjack, craps, baccarat, any form of poker, or anything else using cards, dice, or balls. Roulette is played with a wheel but there is a ball involved so that would be out as well. Pai gow tiles, on the other hand, involves using ancient Chinese tiles, so this game could be played legally in Georgia.

There’s probably not many Georgians who are big fans of this game, which is offered at several American casinos but is not really all that popular. Another form of gambling called slots is pretty popular though, and this got left out completely from the law as it does not involve using any of the prohibited apparatus.

We also lack a working definition of cards, dice, and balls, where the actual physical objects would obviously fall within it but whether electronic representations of these items would qualify is far less clear. Whether a video poker terminal would involve betting on the outcome of cards is a better question than it may appear, especially since the result of the game is not determined by cards at all but by way of something else entirely different, a random number generator.

We also run into the same problem if section (3) is to be understood as prohibiting online gambling, where it could be claimed that the intention of the law was to prevent people from gambling with the actual physical items in question. At the time the law was written, prior to the coming of online gambling, the authors did not even contemplate such a thing, and the onus is on the law to demonstrate that its intention was to include alleged forms, and just referring to this as gambling with cards, dice, and balls obviously meant the actual objects at the time of writing.

Just when you might be thinking that you could open up a casino full of slot machines in Georgia and not be charged, Georgia treats the offering of gambling differently, where it is a crime to earn money from the gambling of others. It might be legal to play slots in Georgia, but it is not legal to offer it to others and make money from the deal. This effectively seals things off pretty well as far as land-based gambling goes, and Georgia regularly busts land-based gambling operations.

Land Based Gambling in Georgia

If we exclude the casino sailings, there isn’t much that goes on in Georgia on land that is legal, although there is plenty of illegal gambling that goes on. Georgia does have 3 poker rooms though that do allow players to play poker for real money, but there isn’t much else you can gamble on here. The state lottery is obviously one of them, as is charitable bingo, and Georgia also has authorized video lottery terminals to be offered as long as the prizes do not involve cash payouts. There are plenty of these terminals around that do pay out in cash, which keep law enforcement officials plenty busy.

In addition to these illegal slot machines, betting on animal fighting is also pretty popular in this state, which also garners the attention of the police. Law enforcement officials are pretty serious about opposing illegal gambling operations, and those charged often get hit with additional offenses such as money laundering and tax evasion.

The two casino sailings from Savannah and Brunswick remain popular, especially considering that it is often more convenient for people to gamble offshore like this than travel to a casino in another state. These ships at least do offer players the full casino experience in addition to the appeal of taking a trip on a ship, which many enjoy as an end in itself, and this at the very least does serve to enhance the gambling experience.

The Emerald Princess sails out of Brunswick and features 225 slot machines and 27 casino table games including poker, and a restaurant. The cruise itself only costs $10 and they have a Friday night special where you can sail for only $5. The Diamond Casino sails out of Savannah and offers guests access to 220 slot machines, 20 real money casino table games, and a 5 table poker room.

Home poker games are at least permitted, in spite of it being a gambling game played with cards, provided that no one rakes the game or otherwise profits in any way. Together with Georgia’s willingness to tolerate these 3 poker rooms, poker does get special treatment in this state, and the prospects of expansion of Georgia’s land-based gambling market may start with allowing more real money poker establishments.

This is obviously not a state that is well served at all as far as land-based real money gambling goes, and there also isn’t much of an interest to do much more in the coming years. Attitudes will have to change significantly, where the people of Georgia need to gain a better grasp of the issues involved in seeking to prohibit gambling, moving from the overly paternalistic and overbearing view that many states have moved beyond but is being clung to in states like Georgia.

Georgia Online Casinos & Slots Gambling

Like many states, the state of Georgia does not offer any online gambling options, and the world of full-fledged online gambling in Georgia may be pretty far off. As a rule, states start with allowing substantial state sanctioned land-based gambling and get comfortable enough with that first before they start allowing much in the way of sanctioned online real money gambling.

Just like with their increased tolerance for poker, at least some in the state legislature are warming up to the idea of online sports betting, as the wave of online sports betting has swept much of the country in recent years. States that have been four-square against online gambling over the years are now seeing their minds at least open to the idea of doing this with betting on sports, and sports betting is very popular around the country, including in Georgia.

State Senator Burt Jones filed a bill in February 2020 that would seek to use the Georgia Lottery to expand into the online realm and offer sports betting alongside its lottery tickets. Jones cites the $1.5 billion Georgia sports betting market and feels that since all of this is going on anyway, with no real way to stop it, it might be preferable for the state to take a more pragmatic view of this and look to collect tax revenue from this betting for the benefit of the state’s scholarship program.

The bill even has the support of Georgia’s four major professional sports teams, and sports teams have always opposed sports betting on principle and are now coming to see that regulated sports betting has no material effect on their enterprises versus just having people place these bets with sites regulated in other countries.

The state is struggling to make ends meet and this may be an opportune time to entertain this idea. There is plenty of opposition from religious groups but what is notable about this bill is that it is being supported by Republicans who generally take a dimmer view of gambling than Democrats.

Times are changing though, although even if online sports betting becomes a reality soon, Georgia is still a long way away from ever permitting real money online casino gambling or even online poker. The wave of popularity of online sports betting that is making the rounds can only help loosen attitudes and may get Georgia at least a little closer to finally opening up more to gambling in general.

Meanwhile, those who wish to gamble online, like those who wager this $1.5 billion in sports bets each year, plus all those who love to bet on other things, can find a good number of reputable and well regulated sites outside the country, where everyone in the U.S. is forced to turn if their state does not offer online gambling and they still wish to play.

Future of Gambling in Georgia

The biggest obstacle to the expansion of real money gambling in Georgia is the lack of a practical enough view toward it, where the state needs to better realize that people are gambling anyway, whether or not they choose to regulated and tax it.

It is important to both realize that this applies to both land-based gambling, where people will drive to another state to gamble at a real money casino there, or gamble within the state illegally, and especially look at all the money that Georgians spend at online casinos that are not regulated by the state either.

This starts by looking to quantify the loss, as Sen. Jones has in his push for his bill. While the state may not be able to capture all of the money that Georgians spend on sports betting in a year for instance, as people may still choose to bet online elsewhere due to things like better odds for instance, but this at least serves to clarify what is being missed here instead of trying to pretend that these things don’t exist.

They also need to do feasibility studies on what financial opportunities adding land-based casinos would have, where continuing to resist this comes with a certain price tag in lost revenue, as well as enforcement costs that would be saved. Georgia also does not want to just stop at looking at what is lost in the sports betting market, they also need to look at what Georgians are spending on other forms of online gambling like casino games and poker.

Even if Georgians have personal beliefs about gambling being wrong or distasteful or sinful or however they wish to describe it, they need to come to realize that even if they wish to enforce their personal preferences upon others by way of the force of law, this strategy has been of limited effectiveness in enforcing land-based gambling restrictions and is of no effect at all when trying to oppose online gambling, where whatever law you may have against it simply is not enforceable.

Changing attitudes toward sports betting around the country is serving as an entry point for many states who have already implementing it or are seriously considering it, taking states from being far away from regulated online gambling to being thrust in the middle of it.

When we see this happening with a state as conservative as Georgia, where they can’t even stand casino gambling in their territory and require people to do it in international waters for them to get comfortable enough, this really shows how much this sports betting craze is affecting things.

Whatever the future may hold for Georgia gambling, and it appears that things will open up at some point, this consideration of online sports betting that is going on in the state Senate is a good sign and a big step in the right direction in a state that needs to be thinking about the practical side of this issue a whole lot more.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on, especially with the online scene. One of the benefits of Georgia sharing their numbers with online sports betting is that it serves to illuminate the fact that Georgians indeed can place these wagers now and do not have to wait until the state of Georgia makes up its mind as far as whether they want in on this action or not.

This also extends to online casino and online poker as well, where plenty of players in Georgia enjoy gambling on these other games as well as we speak. With the right guidance on where to play, which we provide to you, the future is now.

Georgia Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
  • How progressive is Georgia when it comes to gambling?

    It was quite common for states to have a real reluctance towards gambling for much of their history. Where states have differed so much is how they have responded to the new wave of open mindedness that has swept across the American landscape in recent years. Georgia is one of the states that has yet to adapt to this new climate very much, and remain for the most part stuck in the distant past, for now anyway.

  • Why do states like Georgia object to their people gambling?

    Many people throughout history have held the idea that a practice that is held to be objectionable by the majority should be treated as a criminal act. We normally use criminal law to punish those who intentionally harm others in some way to a degree worthy of punishment, and we’ve come to realize overall that things like gambling which increase rather than decrease happiness should not be prohibited. Georgia has yet to properly make this distinction yet and still believe that differences in entertainment preferences should be treated like a crime.

  • What does Georgia law have to say about land-based gambling?

    Georgia makes it a crime to place wagers on any game involving the use of cards, dice, or balls, in addition to making betting on contests such as sporting events and the outcome of elections against the law. This makes most land-based gambling in the state illegal, but leaves out playing slots. The unauthorized offering of commercial gambling is in itself a crime though, which is why the state goes after these operators.

  • Does Georgia law address online gambling?

    Georgia is one of those states that uses laws written prior to the existence of online gambling and therefore runs into problems with trying to apply it to situations that it did not contemplate. In Georgia’s case, the issue is with whether or not the gambling with cards, dice, and balls that the law speaks of requires the outcome of the games to be decided by these devices and not by a computer. Playing online slots involves using none of these though, graphical representations or otherwise.

  • What land-based gambling options does Georgia offer?

    Georgia offers the opportunity to play the state lottery as well as participate in charitable bingo games. The state has yet to open up its minds toward allowing casino gambling in Georgia territory, but they do tolerate 2 cruise ships that load and unload in their ports and confine the gambling to 3 miles offshore. Georgia does allow for 3 small poker rooms to operate on land, and appears more open to poker than casino games, as is the case in some other states.

  • Does Georgia have regulated online gambling?

    Georgia has not been one of the states that have been considering regulating online gambling in any form, at least until recently with their now at least thinking about joining the states that now have online sports betting. While that may end up happening at some point, there isn’t any reason to believe that Georgia would allow real money online casino gambling without changing their attitude toward casino gambling in general, which is a ways off yet.

  • How likely is it for Georgia to expand gambling in the state anytime soon?

    While up until very recently, Georgia was not a state anyone was looking at as far as expecting any change in their gambling landscape, which never really got unstuck from the mud. However, recent developments have hinted at the possibility of Georgia allowing for online sports betting, which may also lead to the eventual creation of land-based sports betting to go along with the online betting. Any change in the way Georgia views casino gambling is further on the horizon with the state having no current plans to do so.

  • Why may it not matter if Georgia ever gets online gambling?

    Instead of waiting for the state to start regulating the particular form of online gambling that players prefer, many Georgians are choosing to play at real money online gambling sites that are regulated elsewhere. There are also many who wish to gamble online but may be unaware that there are already several great options if you know where to find them, where we will show you some great places that are available for you right now.

  • Does it really matter whether Georgia law permits online gambling or not?

    Georgia law isn’t clear as far as whether gambling online at games involving cards, dice, or balls is legal or not, but it’s really a moot point as laws like this really aren’t enforceable in the real world. Sports betting is specifically prohibited under Georgia law but the Georgia sports betting market still managed to become worth $1.5 billion. Laws don’t stop people from doing what they please online because there’s no way to police this.

  • How can Georgian online gamblers know that they are playing at good sites?

    It may seem easy to just start browsing real money online gambling sites, and it’s definitely pretty easy to find some sites to try out. However, there are a lot of choices out there and some considerably better than others, as well as some you definitely should be avoiding. By taking advantage of our free advice on the best sites out there for those who do not have state regulated gambling like Georgia, you can put yourself in a great position to experience some of the best gambling the internet has to offer.

Chief Editor: Mike leverages his true passion for online gambling to create a uniquely informative site that takes players well beyond the standard fare in the industry.

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