Georgia Casinos and Gambling

Short Summary:  Georgia is easily one of the most restrictive states when it comes to its gaming laws.  The only forms of gambling that are legalized and regulated are charitable gaming (bingo and raffles) as well as the state lottery.  While Georgia has not legalized Internet gambling, players who wish to do so should have little to worry about.

The first question is this: What Georgia Casinos?

The only states I can think of that are more restrictive when it comes to gambling than Georgia are Alaska, Hawaii and Utah. To be clear, the last two of those states have absolutely no legalized form of gambling whatsoever, and Georgia is just slightly more liberal when it comes to gambling than that.

The long and short of this state is that they have a lottery and they allow for some limited charitable gambling.

Licenses for the purpose of conducting Bingo must be applied for with the Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, so right there you already have them looking into you if you want to run charitable bingo. Personally, I would be thinking we ‘ll be okay without charitable bingo because while I have nothing to hide, I really don ‘t want to invite any agency ending in, “Bureau of Investigation,” to more closely scrutinize me. These licenses also cost $100, which is pretty high for an application fee.

Licenses to conduct raffles must be submitted to the County Sheriff of whatever county the Raffles are to be held in and also cost $100 to apply. The vast majority of states allow non-profits to hold, “Quarter Raffles,” or, “50/50 Raffles,” no problem as long as it is to benefit some sort of non-profit organization. Not around these here parts, y ‘all. (I ‘m sorry, I shouldn ‘t make fun.)

The Georgia Lottery seems to have pulled in more than 1.8B in pre-distribution revenues in 2017, so I guess it ‘s any port in a storm for those wanting to gamble in the state. Speaking of ports, the state does have one casino cruise ship that goes a few miles out into International waters and then operates a casino…so I guess that ‘s something.

Imagine having a city the size and scope of Atlanta, with one of the largest airports in the entire world that is an extremely common stopover for travellers, and not throwing some slots in that airport of a casino up somewhere in that city. That is just the definition of insanity. For anyone reading this, if you ever hear anyone talking about anything Georgia-related being low on funds, tell them to read this paragraph, smack their head off a wall, read this paragraph again and continue to repeat this procedure until they either get the idea or are unconscious. I can only imagine the gambling dollars that the Peachtree State is just handing to other states on a silver platter.

Okay, I guess I should end my rant and discuss your online gambling situation.

Online Gambling Legality In Georgia

Needless to say, online gambling has not been legalized and is not regulated throughout the state. Is it even legal to play Pokemon Cards for keepsies in Georgia? I doubt it. That would have to violate some sort of law down there.

It is what it is. Conservatism isn ‘t about expanding what you can do, after all, it ‘s about telling other people what they can ‘t do.

Any form of gambling not specifically authorized by the State of Georgia can constitute, “Offense of Gambling,” even by someone who is just playing. Any device that is in anyway used for gambling becomes a gambling device and can theoretically result in the charge of possession of a gambling device. I guess Pokemon Cards for keepsies is out. Poor kids.

Generally speaking, misdemeanors in the State of Georgia are punishable by up to one year in jail and fines ranging from $300-$1,000.

The state also has a charge for, “Commercial Gambling,” which is essentially a heightened charge because it pertains to anyone who operates an unauthorized form of gambling for a profit.

Georgia really hates the thought of people being allowed to do what they like with their own money and has, as a result, conducted several gambling raids over the years. Most of these have focused on poker operations as well as illegal slot machines and, “Internet cafes,” which have been a big problem through much of the South. The South could both solve that problem and make money just by having legal slot parlors that operate through the State Lottery, but that would be too politically intelligent a thing to do, so it will probably never happen for Georgia.

The law does not specifically reference online gambling, but the language of the statutes would cover it because it is certainly gambling and the computer would certainly be a, “Gambling device,” under the definition that they are using.

With that said, we have certainly found on instance of anyone in the State of Georgia ever being arrested for the mere act of playing in an online casino from home and that will almost certainly never happen.

Georgia is an interesting state insofar as that it is another that allows for the right to recovery of any monies lost via unlawful gambling to an operator via lawsuit. Naturally, the state would have no means of enforcing collection on an offshore operator, so to that extent, this would only be a theoretical remedy. In any case, you really have nothing to worry about gambling online from home unless you ‘re planning to turn yourself in.

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Georgia Casino

The only reason I am going to list this is because it is really the only thing close to a casino within the state.

The Emerald Princess Casino is a Riverboat that departs from Brunswick, Georgia and sales three miles out to where it is technically in International waters, at that point, it opens the doors to the casino and allows players to go in there in play. At closing time, everyone leaves and the boat comes back to port.

This floating casino features Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, Slots and Video Poker. While we do not have specific return-to-player (house edge) information available, if it is at all like cruise ships, you can bet your bottom dollar that the returns are not any good at all. More than that, they are regulated by exactly nobody, so they can manage their casino basically however they want to with no oversight whatsoever. If you feel like you somehow got screwed as a player, tough cookies.

Georgia Cruise Ship Gambling

On cruise ships that dock in places that don’t allow casino gambling, they travel to international waters before taking any wagers. The states where you load and unload have no control or jurisdiction on the gambling that happens in international waters.

International waters usually consist of water at least 12 miles from shore, but most laws allow casino gambling cruise ships to operate as long as they’re at least three miles from shore. This distance doesn’t really matter if you’re planning to play on a casino cruise, as the owner is responsible for following the law. You don’t have to worry about being charged for being on one of these types of cruises.

Anyone with enough capital to buy a cruise ship, fill it with slot machines and gaming tables, and staff it properly can offer to gamble in international waters. As long as you can find a place to legally dock and don’t offer any gambling until you enter international waters, you can own your own casino enterprise.

While this seems like a good thing for people who want to enjoy casino gambling in coast states that don’t offer it, the problem is these operations aren’t governed by any law.

Casinos always offer games with a house edge, but in many jurisdictions, they must offer games with payout percentages that meet certain standards. Cruise ships don’t have to follow any payback percentages.

For example, some jurisdictions require slot machines to offer no worse than a 10 or 15% house edge per spin. While these edges are big, casinos in international waters don’t have to follow these types of guidelines.

If you play blackjack, craps, roulette or video poker you don’t need to be too concerned about excessive house edge. But if you play slots you need to be aware that you may be playing a machine that has a higher edge than you’re used to playing. Slot machines are easy targets for this type of thing because it’s not easy to see the payout percentages for a slot machine.

The theoretical house edge can be determined for blackjack games based on the rules and video poker machines have pay tables that can be broken down to determine the edge. Roulette wheels all have the same pay back percentage as long as they have the same number of zeros. All roulette wheels with a single zero have the same edge, and all wheels with double zeros have the same edge.

Craps also has the same edge no matter where you play. The only thing that changes in craps is the odds wagers available and these are different in many places.

Poker in Georgia

Poker rooms aren’t legal in Georgia, but there are many places where you can play. You can find a network of poker games in a wide range of bars and taverns in some parts of the state and you can find underground and private games as well if you know where to look and who to ask.

Georgia Lottery

Georgia has a state-run lottery and they participate in the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries. They’ve offered the state lottery since 1993.

Video Poker

In 2013 the Georgia state lottery started controlling and regulating video poker machines. Video poker machines can be found at retail locations in the state.

Slot Machine Ownership

While there’s no legal slot machine play available in Georgia, residents can own slot machines that were made before 1950. This is a carve out law that lets collectors keep old machines but makes it illegal to have any modern machines in their possession.
It’s still illegal to offer the collectable slots for play or to use them in any way that could be deemed as gambling.

Conclusion And Prognosis

Prognosis: Laughable. If you live in Georgia and you ‘re hoping for land-based casinos to come in near you, our advice is to move. The author of this page is 34 years old and fully expects to be dead before Georgia ever gets casinos. As far as other forms of gambling are concerned, you guys are probably just lucky to have a lottery.

Conclusion: As far as online gambling is concerned, as with forty-eight other states, we really think you have nothing to worry about if you are acting as a player and playing from your own home. We say forty-eight other states because, in one state, it is actually a felony and we would steer far away from anything even close to a felony charge. If the books are willing to call something a, “Felony,” that ‘s basically as much as saying that they would be willing to prosecute should they ever come to find out about it.

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