Georgia features legalized lottery betting, charitable bingo, and charity raffle games. Otherwise, Georgia has a strict ban on most other forms of land-based and online gambling. Georgia gamblers must play at offshore online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites — though all three are legal for Georgians.

This article is a guide to Georgia’s online gambling laws, along with other forms of gambling in Georgia. We provide a timeline of Georgia’s gambling history, an overview of individual gambling laws, and an FAQ of commonly asked questions by Georgia gamblers. Remember — Georgians who want to gamble online should read honest casino reviews and deposit money in trusted casino sites only.

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Georgia Gambling Laws

Like many US states in the deep south, Georgia has strict gambling laws and few regulated forms of gambling. Georgia has a robust state lottery, online lotto ticket sales, and many charitable bingo halls. It also has a handful of small business casino cruises at any time, but no land-based casinos, sportsbooks, or poker rooms.

State lawmakers have introduced several casino bills in the past 10 years, a sign that Georgia’s attitudes towards gambling are changing. These bills failed in the state legislature, though.

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Georgia Online Gambling

Georgia lawmakers won’t regulate online gambling anytime soon, but law enforcement doesn’t prosecute individual residents who play online for real money.

The Georgia Constitution make owning a gambling machine illegal, while distributing gaming-related equipment is illegal. Anyone who runs an unlicensed gaming den or online gambling website in Georgia would face prosecution. That’s for operators, though.

Georgia residents can play at offshore online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites without fear of prosecution. They play without consumer protections, so Georgians must read honest casino reviews and pick a safe and trusted casino site.

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Georgia Online Casinos

We grade Georgia online casinos based on safety, trust, good bonuses, US-friendly payment methods, fun games, and helpful customer service. Our reviewers are online casino enthusiasts who’ve played at the casino sites we recommend (and many we don’t recommend).

Real money online gamblers from Georgia deposit their money in offshore gaming sites, so they’ll need to make a wise choice. Even with our recommended online casinos, we present the pros and cons of the sites. Our readers choose a casino with an insider’s view of the US gaming market.

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Georgia Land-Based Casinos

Since 2014, Georgia state lawmakers have proposed several casino bills. Casino moguls like the late-Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas Sands Corp) and Jim Murren (former CEO of MGM Resorts) toured Atlanta, Savannah, and Athens for prospective brick-and-mortar casino sites. Adelson even shifted his lobbying efforts from Florida to Georgia at one point.

Each of these bills failed in the Georgia legislature, despite promises that casinos would help fund the HOPE Scholarship Fund. At one point, it was suggested that gaming decisions be devolved upon individual Georgia counties — like alcohol legislation was. None of these ideas worked, so Georgia land-based casinos seem unlikely for the time being.

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Georgia Sports Betting

Sports betting is a different matter. As of 2021, 11 different gambling bills involving sports betting exist in the Georgia legislature. A couple gained traction in early 2021.

House Bill 86 passed out of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on February 3 by a 20-6 vote. Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), who supports the bill, said HB 86 would generate $40 million a year for the Georgia Lottery.

In March 2021, the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would fund college scholarships, rural broadband, and health care programs. It’s a departure from the typical gambling bill, which earmarks funds for the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs. State Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) is an outspoken supporter of the bill. The matter is complicated, though.

For instance, State Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) says that all bettors end up losers, though he supports the bill. Giving his reasoning, Cowsert said gambling is “almost a part of southern culture”.

Despite the support, the Georgia House rejected sports betting in a floor vote on March 21, 2021.

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Georgia State Lottery

The Georgia state lottery is a leader among US lottery games. It funds the HOPE Scholarship Fund, a popular postsecondary education program. In fact, the HOPE Scholarship became a model for other states’ lottery funds, including the South Carolina Education Lottery. Former Georgia lottery officials left to lead the Florida Lottery and the Tennessee Lottery.

Georgia joined the Mega Millions multi-state lottery association in 1996 and the Powerball lottery in 2010. In 2012, Georgia approved online lottery ticket sales. This made Georgia an unlikely ally of online gambling when the US DOJ tried to ban online gambling in 2019.

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Georgia Bingo Gambling

Georgia allows charitable bingo gambling and charity raffles. Nonprofit organizations like police, fire, veterans, and church groups can host bingo nights and raffles.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation oversees charitable gambling.

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Georgia Casino Cruises

At various times, casino cruise ships sailed out of Brunswick (near Savannah). These ships sail beyond the 3-mile line into international waters off the coast of Georgia, where casino gambling is legal. Casino cruises typically host slot machines and a few table games.

The Emerald Princess Casino sailed out of Brunswick a few years ago. Players buy passage on the casino cruise, which stays out at sea for a set number of hours.

Georgia Gambling History: Timeline of Gambling Laws

Most of Georgia’s history involves a firm anti-gambling stance, so Georgia residents have few licensed gambling options. Times are changing, though, as Georgia’s gambling laws have expanded significantly in the past 10 years.

  • 1868: Louisiana Lottery Company

    The Louisiana Lottery Company began selling lotto tickets across the United States. 93% of lottery sales came from US residents outside of Louisiana. The LLC held daily, monthly, and semiannual drawings. Tickets sold for fraction, so bettors could buy a one-quarter cent ticket — up to a $0.25 ticket.

    Georgians bought Louisiana Lottery Company tickets for the first decade of the game. After years of scandal involving the lotto game, the US Congress banned the Louisiana Lottery Company in 1891. As tickets were sold through the US Postal Service, this shut down the multi-state lottery.

    The scandal led to a legacy of hostility towards lotteries in many US states. Georgia was no different.

  • 1878: Georgia Bans Lotteries

    Colorado State Lottery

    To avoid lottery scandals that were rampant at the time, Georgia state lawmakers banned all lotteries in 1878. This shut down Louisiana Lottery Company sales, along with smaller Georgia-based lotto operations.

  • November 7, 1978: Georgia Legalized Charitable Bingo Gambling

    Bingo Halls 1960s

    The Georgia electorate approved charitable bingo gambling in the November 1978 midterm election. Georgia voters supported bingo halls in a 56% to 44% vote.

  • June 28, 1993: Georgia Launches a State Lottery

    Georgia voters approved a Georgia State Lottery in November 1992. The new lottery association sold its first tickets on June 29, 1993. Proceeds went to the HOPE Scholarship Fund and Pre-K Fund.

  • September 6, 1996: Georgia Joins Mega Millions

    Mega Millions Lottery

    Georgia joined the Mega Millions multi-state lottery association. It joined the same day as Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia.

  • June 30, 2002: Georgia Bans Video Gambling Machines

    Video Gaming Terminals

    Businesses with video gambling terminals began to pop up in Georgia, especially after neighboring South Carolina banned sweepstakes cafes. After a controversial case involving a sweepstakes cafe went before the Georgia Supreme Court, the state legislature got involved.

    On June 30, 2002, the Georgia legislature officially banned video gambling machines and video poker terminals.

  • 2012: Georgia Legalizes Online Lottery Ticket Sales

    Online Lottery Ticket Sales

    Georgia voters approved the sale of state lottery tickets online. In doing so, Georgia became a leader of online lotto ticket sales and a champion of legalized online gambling.

  • March 31, 2021: Georgia Sports Betting Bill Dies in the House

    Georgia House and Senate

    In February 2021, the Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted 20-6 to approve sports betting through the Georgia Lottery. In early March, the Georgia Senate approved sports betting in a floor vote. This set up a floor vote in the Georgia House.

    In a vote on March 31, 2021, the Georgia House rejected sports betting. If passed, the bill would have set up a statewide referendum on the November 2022 midterm ballot. Georgia lawmakers have one more year to get a sports betting vote on the 2022 ballot, but the bill is dead in 2021.