Online Gambling Georgia: Legal Casinos in GA

Georgia lawmakers have long opposed online gambling expansion. While Georgia online gambling laws remain behind the curve compared to other US states, Georgia residents are free to play at offshore online casinos.

Let’s look at the various gambling laws in Georgia, including the history of online gambling and what gambling options exist for residents of the state.

Are Offshore Casinos Trustworthy?

When people hear the term offshore casinos, they immediately think of black market casinos or casinos from the early days of online gambling. In reality, many offshore online casinos operate legitimately. However, one must do their research before playing at these casinos. Here are some of the factors we look at when determining the trustworthiness of offshore online casinos.

Age - New casinos are constantly popping up around the world. We tend to stay away from new casinos until they have had time to build a reputation and prove they operate above board.

Gaming Quality - When evaluating an online casino, we look at both the quantity and the quality of online casino games offered by the site. We generally avoid casinos that offer substandard gaming options, or only offer games from lower-tier gaming providers.

Casinos that partner with top-tier gaming companies like Microgaming, Real Time Gaming, and BetSoft are putting in both the time and money necessary to create a quality casino. Generally, the better the gaming, the better the casino.

Deposit Options - A potential red flag for casinos are those that have limited options for deposits. If deposits are restricted to cryptos or third-party wallets, we avoid them. The best online casinos offer various deposit options, including credit cards, e-wallets, prepaid vouchers, bank transfers, and cryptocurrency transfers.

Licensing - Just as live casinos are licensed and regulated, there are online casino licensing bodies. One of the first things we look for when evaluating an online casino is whether it is licensed. Even if a casino is licensed, that doesn't mean it is trustworthy. Some licensing bodies have lower standards than others.

Some of the top licensing agencies for online casinos include the U.K. Gambling Commission, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, the Malta Gaming Authority, and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. Online regulators hold casinos to strict regulation just as national regulators hold brick-and-mortar casinos.

Accreditation - In conjunction with licensing, the top online casinos hold accreditations and certifications from third parties. These organizations provide testing and oversight to various aspects of online gambling to ensure that websites operate legitimately and all gaming is fair and honest.

Common certifications we look for include those from Verisign, Responsible Gambling, Ask Gamblers, GamCare, and more. The more certifications, the better.

Reputation - We scour the internet researching the general reputation of online casinos. Our research includes customer feedback, online casino reviews, BBB reports, awards given to websites, and any other forms of news we can find about a casino.

We understand that not all feedback will be positive. As such, we look at the broader picture to determine whether a casino has a generally positive or negative reputation.

Georgia Online Gambling Laws

Georgia is one of the most restrictive states regarding online gambling. The state explicitly prohibits most forms of online gambling. Two sections of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) address gambling.

The first is O.C.G.A. 16-12-20, which defines a bet as "an agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value." This argument covers all forms of gambling bets, including those on perceived games of skill, such as online poker.

The next code is 16-12-21, which states a gambling crime is being committed when someone: "makes a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game and contest."

This section of the law would effectively outlaw online slots and sports betting. 

Code 16-12-20 also states that gambling is committed when someone “plays and bets for money or other things of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.”

This eliminates most other forms of online gambling, such as blackjack, roulette, craps, and other online casino games.

Throughout its history, Georgia has actively sought to block gambling activities. In the late 1800s, the state would ban lotteries. In the early 2000s, the state banned video poker and other forms of video gaming terminals. This ban is also crucial for online gambling in Georgia efforts, as most online slots and casino games are considered forms of video gaming.

Sports betting is not allowed in any form in the state. The general criminal code makes sports betting illegal. Multiple attempts to legalize sports betting have been made in the past. However, none have moved to a vote in the legislature.

The only form of online gambling Georgia allows is online lottery. Georgia is one of many states that allows a state lottery, and players can make bets on the lottery online. You must be 18 to play the lottery in Georgia.

Riverboat Gambling

As mentioned before, casino gambling is illegal in Georgia. The only way citizens can gamble legally is to play in riverboat casinos. Riverboat casinos are exactly as they sound - it is a casino that is on a boat. In some states, including Iowa and Mississippi, the only way to legally gamble is on a ship. Some states require that the casinos be detached from land, while others allow the casinos to offer services while docked.

Georgia riverboat gambling works a bit differently. It is illegal to gamble at casinos in Georgia, whether online or on the water. As such, a riverboat casino must travel outside of Georgia state lines to legally offer gambling. Passengers must wait until the ship is outside of Georgia jurisdiction before they can legally gamble. You must be 21 or older to gamble on riverboats traveling outside of Georgia.

History of Online Gambling in Georgia

To regulate online gambling, Georgia citizens would have to approve it in a statewide vote. Gambling expansion must be approved through a state Constitutional amendment and then voted for by citizens. This process is complex because it requires a two-thirds majority for both the GA House and Senate. It's unlikely that Georgia will approve online gambling anytime soon. 

There is some hope, though. Georgia has online lottery ticket sales. If you wish to see how Georgia's gambling laws have evolved through the years, here is a timeline of Georgia's gambling laws. 

  • 19th Century Georgia Gambling: The history of gambling in Georgia dates back to the late 1800s. In 1878, the state banned all forms of lotteries. This ban would remain in place for over 100 years.
  • Georgia Charitable Gambling: It wasn't until 1978 that the first changes to the state Constitution allowed for any form of gambling. The state legalized charitable Bingo that year, allowing non-profit games of Bingo to run in the state.
  • Georgia State Lottery: Despite their best efforts, lotteries did not stay illegal in Georgia forever. In 1993, the state lottery was officially launched. For the past 30 years, Georgia lottery sales have funded the HOPE Scholarship Fund. 
  • Mega Millions Lottery: Georgia joined the Mega Millions multistate lottery association in 1996.
  • Video Gambling Machine Ban: The progression towards legal gambling was slowed in 2002, when Georgia lawmakers were able to successfully ban video gambling machines. This includes video lottery and video poker games, and came after South Carolina enacted a similar ban.
  • Powerball Lottery: Georgia joined the Powerball multistate lottery association in 2010. 
  • Georgia Online Lottery Sales: Georgia's online lottery sales launched. Now, people inside the state can buy Georgia lottery tickets online. 
  • Georgia Online Gambling Bills: Over the last couple of years, state lawmakers have made efforts to launch legal online gambling sites. In 2021, lawmakers tried to push through legislation for a constitutional amendment for online sports betting. This failed to move out of the House.
  • Senate Resolution 135: In 2022, Senate Bill 135 sought to remove restrictions on gambling from the state Constitution.
  • Senate Bill 142: Georgia lawmakers also sought to pass a land-based sports bill in 2022. Senate Bill 142 looked to legalize sports betting. While there was support in Committee, the bills failed to move to a vote before the end of the legislative session.

Top Georgia Land-Based Casinos

All casino gambling is presently illegal in Georgia. However, one riverboat casino has a port in Brunswick. 

Emerald Princess Brunswick
1 Emerald Princess Dr, Brunswick GA, 31523
250 Slot Games, 19 Table Games

Games offered include blackjack, craps, roulette, Stud poker, Triple Time poker, and Big 20 poker. 

Online Gambling Georgia FAQ

Can you gamble online in Georgia?

There are no laws supporting general online gambling in Georgia. However, no one has ever been prosecuted in Georgia for playing or betting at an online casino.

Offshore online casinos accept residents in Georgia. Playing at an offshore casino subjects you to a site's terms and conditions. If they don't want to pay you, they won't and you'll have no legal recourse. Avoid online casinos that accept Georgians.

What gambling sites are legal in Georgia?

Technically, no gambling sites are legal in Georgia, though there have been repeated pushes in recent years to legalize online gambling. They have yet to succeed and we don't expect to see legal Georgia online casinos anytime soon.

Can you use gambling apps in Georgia?

Mobile casino apps fall under Georgia's blanket ban on non-lottery gambling, and so the state does not currently allow for any specific real money gambling apps.

However, mobile casino apps that allow players to play casino games for free, where no money changes hands, are not considered gambling-related. Daily fantasy sports apps are similarly not considered gambling apps.

What forms of online gambling are legal in Georgia?

The only legal form of online gambling in Georgia is the state lottery. Players can buy online lottery tickets via the official state lottery site. This includes tickets for weekly drawings and online scratch cards, called scratchers on the site. The Georgia Lottery even has a Players Club. 

When it comes to online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks, Georgia does not have legal online gambling. 

Where can I gamble in Georgia?

Georgia does not have many legal land-based gambling venues. Players can buy lottery tickets at land-based venues.

Georgia's residents and visitors can take a casino cruise out of Brunswick (Emerald Princess II) or Pembroke Pines (Costa Favolosa). These go beyond the 3-mile international boundary, so Georgia's laws don't apply. Otherwise, you won't find any land-based Georgia casinos or pari-mutuel race tracks. 

Are online casinos legal in Georgia?

Georgia has not legalized online casino gambling in the state. Players who play do so in offshore online casinos, which exist in a legal gray area.

While Georgia officials don't prosecute residents who play at online casinos, those players also don't have the consumer protections that they would in a regulated environment. We recommend that Georgians avoid unregulated online casinos. 

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