The United States is transitioning into one of the biggest sports betting countries in the entire world, but there are still a few states that aren’t jumping on board. Georgia is one of these states, and they might have the strictest laws against gambling out of any state in the Union. Georgia does have a strong sports influence, especially in the city of Atlanta, but their doesn’t appear to be much interest in including sports betting into that mix. There were a few bills that were introduced earlier this spring, but there wasn’t really a ton of discussion or thought given to them. Georgia is one of the few states in the country that doesn’t even allow for land based casinos to be in operation, and it seems unlikely that retail sportsbooks are going to be in operation anytime soon. The state is looking to bring in more revenue, and legalizing sports betting is a great way to do just that.
AT A GLANCE
Status of Betting AT A GLANCE: The state of Georgia has some of the strictest laws surrounding gambling in the country, and that is playing a huge role in trying to legalize sports betting. There has been some discussion in recent months about legalizing sports betting, but it doesn’t appear that anything is imminent in the near future.
Where to Bet AT A GLANCE: It’s hard to get a good grip on where the best places to bet on sports will be in the state of Georgia, because the bills didn’t make it that far. Most states give casinos the chance to buy a license to offer sports betting, but that isn’t possible in Georgia. Online or mobile betting will probably always be the best way to bet on sports in the “Peach State.”
Teams AT A GLANCE: The state of Georgia has a number of professional sports teams, but all of them are located in the capital city of Atlanta. There are other states who have legalized sports betting without the benefit of professional teams, but that won’t be the case in Georgia. If sports betting ever becomes legal then there will be plenty of action on the most popular teams in the state.
Status of Sports Betting
States all over the country are legalizing sports betting as quickly as possible, but that isn’t the case in the state of Georgia. The Peach State is one of the most restrictive states in terms of gambling in the United States, and they will likely be one of the last states to legalize sports betting, if it even happens at all. State law doesn’t even allow for land based casinos to be in operation within the state, and their authorities go to great lengths to try and stop illegal gambling operations. Poker isn’t even legal in the state of Georgia, and they are one of the few states that really keeps track and tries to shut down any residents who participate in illegal activity online or through underground parties.
Even though the state has some very strict gambling laws, there were a few state lawmakers that introduced a sports betting bill at the beginning of 2019. In order for sports betting to become legal in the state of Georgia, an amendment would have to be made to the Georgia State Constitution, which makes it an even harder process. The bills called for a large tax placed on sports betting activity, and would charge a substantial licensing fee to any company or establishment that is wanting to apply for a license to take bets on sporting events. The initial bill did allow for betting on both professional and collegiate sports, which isn’t always the case in other states with similar bills.
Most states have legalized sports betting in an effort to increase revenue, and that would likely be the driving force in Georgia. The state is hoping to generate more money to help fund educational projects, and that sort of thing helps to get other lawmakers on board. The Georgia Lottery Corporation would be run the sports betting operations in Georgia if it ever becomes legal. If Georgia is slow to act on this fast growing industry, then the residents of the Peach State will go to neighboring states who have legalized sports betting.
Where to Bet Sports
Even though there hasn’t been a ton of discussion about legalizing sports betting in the state of Georgia, it is still possible to make a prediction on where the best places to bet on sports will be. Normally casinos play a huge role in sports betting in the states where it has been legalized, but that won’t be the case in Georgia. The state does have plenty of newer stadiums that could incorporate a sportsbook into their venue, and that might be one of the best options for state lawmakers. Online betting is always a fan-favorite as well, and would likely need to be included in any law.
Emerald Princess Casino: Gambling fans always find a way around strict laws in a state, and the same is true in Georgia. The state doesn’t allow for land based casinos, but the Emerald Princess Casino is able to operate by hitting the water. The Emerald Princess Casino currently offers slots and table games, and they would likely love the opportunity to take bets on sporting events as well. You must be at least 21 years old to book a cruise on the ship, but there are plenty of other things to do once on board. If sports betting ever comes to Georgia then the Emerald Princess Casino will be the place to be.
Stadium Betting: Another option that might work out well for the state of Georgia is to allow for sports betting in and around the major stadiums in their state. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium just recently hosted the Super Bowl, and this could be a great place to open up a sportsbook. The State Farm Arena is home to the Atlanta Hawks, and the NBA has already done this sort of thing in other stadiums throughout the country. Building a brand new sportsbook isn’t very likely, but the stadiums that are in Atlanta could easily expand to offer sports betting.
Online Betting: Lawmakers in Georgia have included mobile and online betting into their discussions, and that is a very smart move. Most sports betting fans prefer to place bets on their mobile device, and that is the easiest place to do just that. Most of the states that have legalized sports betting have started with brick and mortar locations before moving to online betting, but the opposite could happen in the Peach State. Georgia would likely partner with online companies to provide sports betting, but it is the best chance to make some revenue in a hurry while retail sportsbooks are being built.
Take a look at some of the latest news surrounding gambling in the state of Georgia. All three blurbs will show just how strict the state of Georgia is against gambling.
Georgia Restaurant Owner Acquitted: An elderly restaurant owner has been acquitted from charges claiming he operated an illegal gambling operation. Ronnie Bartlett owned and operated Captain Jack’s Crab Shack in Peach County, but it was shut down last year amid illegal gambling allegations. The restaurant featured coin-operated gaming machines, but the state does not allow that sort of thing to take place. This is just another example of a long line of businesses to be shut down for having gaming machines, but this is the first time that the business owner has won a decision in court.
Five Macon Businesses Raided By Authorities: The state of Georgia is up to their old tricks in the last week of June, and they have shut down illegal operations at five businesses in the city of Macon, Georgia. All five of these businesses are charged with running an illegal gambling operation that stems from them offering cash prizes to their customers who have won on their machines. Businesses are only allowed to offer credits that can be redeemed with the Georgia Gaming Commision. These businesses were forced to give up assets in exchange for not facing criminal charges.
Four Byron Businesses Raided: The month of June got off to a rough start for four businesses in the city of Byron, Georgia. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that they raided and seized assets from four different convenience stores within the city limits. All four of these businesses are charged with breaking Georgia gaming laws. Even though all of these businesses were licensed to have gaming machines at their location, they are unable to offer cash prizes, but that is what they are doing. Winning customers can be offered in-store credits to exchange for gas or lottery tickets.
Sports Teams That Drive Betting
The state of Georgia does have a handful of professional teams, but all of them are located in the capital city of Atlanta. Most of the teams have a great fan base, and their games are very well attended. Georgia is also home to one of the best and most prestigious college football teams in the country. If sports betting ever becomes legalized in the state then there will be plenty of teams to bet on.
Atlanta is home to an NBA team, but not a very good one. The Atlanta Hawks call the state of Georgia home, but they have struggled to become popular throughout the state in recent years. The NBA is another league that has close ties to the sports betting industry, and the Hawks would definitely play a role in sports betting in the state. The Hawks are in the middle of a rebuild, but could become contenders again real soon.
The National Football League has partnered with the sports betting industry, and they would love to add Georgia to the mix. Atlanta is home to the Falcons, who play in the NFC South, and made an appearance in the Super Bowl not too long ago. Football has become the most popular sport in the country, and the same is true in the state of Georgia.
The Atlanta Braves are the pride and joy of the state of Georgia, and they are extremely popular throughout the country as well. The Braves were one of the best Major League Baseball teams in the 1990’s, and their popularity has grown in recent years as well. Betting on baseball has been a touchy subject for quite some time, but the Braves would play a huge role in the sports betting industry in Georgia.
There are a number of colleges and universities in the state of Georgia, but the University of Georgia is without a doubt the most popular. The Bulldogs are members of the Southeastern Conference, and that is the best college football league in the country. As other states in the South start to legalize betting, the Georgia Bulldogs will be featured in plenty of action.
Betting on soccer is one of the most popular sports to bet on, and that would likely be the case in Georgia as well. The Atlanta United FC is a member of the MLS, and they have become extremely popular throughout the state. Non-soccer fans will likely stay away from betting on Atlanta United FC, but they will see a ton of action by soccer fans.
The city of Atlanta is full of terrific professional sports teams, and the state also has one of the best college football teams in the country. Sports fans in Georgia are salivating at the opportunity to place bets on their favorite teams, but that doesn’t seem like it will happen. If Georgia lawmakers do pass a law then there are plenty of teams that will help drive sports betting in the state.
Casino Legal Status: Land based casinos are illegal in the state of Georgia, but there are some casino boats that are in operation. Georgia has some of the strictest laws in the country surrounding casinos.
Sports Betting Legal Status: Sports betting is illegal in the state of Georgia, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change in the near future.
Horse Racing Legal Status: Georgia is one of the few states in the Union that does not allow betting on horse racing, although changes to that law have been discussed of late.
Poker Legal Status: Poker is illegal in the state of Georgia, and the state government has gone to great lengths to enforce the laws surrounding poker.
DFS Legal Status: DFS is illegal in Georgia as well, although there are no restrictions on placing bets through offshore sportsbooks.
Lottery Legal Status: The state lottery is one of only three legal gambling opportunities in the state of Georgia. The lottery helps fund education in the state.
Sports Betting Timeline
- March 8, 2019: Georgia Sports Betting Act read for 2nd time in House
- March 5, 2019: Georgia Sports Betting Act introduced
- February 27, 2019: House resolution hopes to amend state constitution
- May 2018: United States Supreme Court lifts federal ban on sports betting
2002: Poker machines deemed illegal in the state of Georgia