Is Sports Betting Legal in Georgia?

Georgia is another state that enjoys a healthy mix of big-time professional and collegiate sports teams. From the NFLers Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Hawks, to the Atlanta Braves (MLB) and Georgia Bulldogs (college football), there is a ton of options in which to place rooting interests—as is often the case with these oversized southern provinces... So let's take a look at the state's betting laws and regulations.

Georgia Sports Betting Law

While one would think that a state with a large swathe of sports teams would be more accommodating to the sports betting sphere, Georgia is actually quite restrictive compared to most other places—even the states that border them. Many forms of gambling are explicitly prohibited, and the ones that aren't are usually unspecified in state laws rather than officially sanctioned.

No Casino Gambling Whatsoever

You will have to leave the state of Georgia if you're looking to gamble in a casino. They do not have any of these settings whatsoever—not a tribal-owned establishment, not an electronic-gaming hub, nothing. Some tribes have tried to get licenses and permission to open up a casino, but it's been to no avail. Every year, however, someone is pushing for it to happen, so there's a chance it may change in the future. That said, given how steadfast the government has been in its refusal to allow one, and also given how swift the vetoes for such proposals typically come down, you probably shouldn't bet (sorry) on this changing anytime soon.

Cruise-Ship Loophole

Similar to the state of Florida, residents in Georgia who want to get their unadulterated gambling fix on do have the option of taking a cruise out to international waters.

The main squeeze as of now is the Emerald Princess Casino, which is touted as a four-deck cruise ship and gambling oasis. It operates out of Brunswick, Georgia, from where it sails out to international waters and allows its passengers to play everything from slots and poker, to craps and roulette, to any other experience found in a typical casino.

These cruises can get pretty pricey, since it isn't a tribal-operated organization, and the "owners" aren't receiving as many tax breaks. Georgia residents can always be on the lookout for special deals, but in-season tickets more often than not end up being costly—which, when you consider how much greater the demand is than the supply, makes perfect sense.

Hey, At Least You Can Play the Lottery

Georgia does have different forms of the state lottery you can play, something many people find weird considering their hardline stances elsewhere.

At the same time, their support of the lottery makes perfect sense: It's so much easier for them to monitor, track and, thus, capitalize on. They make money off every ticket sold, and not only do they get a percentage of those purchases, but they then get to tax winners on the sum of money that they earn. So, all in all, it would be foolish for Georgia not to have a lottery.

What Will It Take to Spur Reform?

Money. Lots and lots of money. That's the answer here.

As tribal casinos try to stake their flag in Georgia, the prevailing mode of thought is that they must forfeit a greater percentage of profit as a tax.

This, in theory, would compel the government to be more accepting of their proposal and increase the likelihood they give the green light to break ground on the first recognized casino. There are no guarantees this works of course, but upping the ante of the offered tax pool has been a point of issue for tribes who have most recently tried to gain entry into Georgia.

Delaware Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren't allowed in Georgia at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Not legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Not legal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not legal
  • Social Gambling: Not legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Unspecified

Georgia Sports Teams

Atlanta Braves (MLB)

Once among the most popular MLB teams in the 1990s, the Atlanta Braves' mystique has faded quite a bit. They've made just three playoff appearances since 2006, while their last World Series bid came in 1999, almost 20 years ago.

In the past half-decade specifically, they've operated right in the gray area just below .500. Nothing has changed as of 2017, so it'll be interesting to see how long it takes them to regain their top pilling from the glory days of ace pitchers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. 

Atlanta Falcons (NFL)

If it wasn't for the New England Patriots, we might be talking about the Atlanta Falcons as the most recent Super Bowl champions. They earned an appearance in 2017's title game, their second ever as a franchise, and built up a 25-point lead, only to see it evaporate down the stretch. Still, after three straight seasons of sub-.500 football, their playoff success incited welcomed national recognition, solidifying their place as one of Georgia's darling sports franchises.

Atlanta Hawks (NBA)

Consistently mediocre. That's the best way to describe the Atlanta Hawks.

Though they haven't sniffed the Finals since the late 1950s and early 1960s, with their lone NBA title coming in 1958, they have earned a postseason spot in each of the last 10 seasons—a streak currently matched only by the San Antonio Spurs.

Georgia's Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

This is a no-brainer pick. The Masters is one of the PGA Tour's four major championships that are played each and every year. It takes place at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on one of the most sought-after courses in the world. The tournament, which draws a ton of fans and is a four-day event every professional golfers circles on their calendar, unfolds sometime during the month of April, and the winner is awarded a highly coveted green jacket—not to mention a handsome cash prize and a lifetime's worth of bragging rights.

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