Georgia Gambling Laws 2023: Unveiling the Legal Landscape

Georgia, renowned for its vibrant culture and flourishing tourism industry, stands firm with some of the strictest gambling regulations in the United States. The realm of gambling in Georgia is governed by a set of formidable laws known as the “biggest Georgia gambling laws.” Understanding these laws is paramount for both residents and visitors who seek to partake in gambling activities while within the state’s boundaries. In this captivating article, we embark on a journey through the legal landscape of gambling in Georgia, unraveling the intricate web of laws and regulations, shedding light on authorized and illegal forms of gambling, unveiling the legal avenues for gambling enthusiasts, and speculating on the future of this thrilling industry within the state.

Georgia Gambling Laws

Georgia Gambling Laws – Highlights

  • 🚫 In Georgia, the majority of gambling activities are outlawed. The state’s law prohibits sports wagering, betting on horse racing, and any online gambling involving actual cash. 
  • 🎰 There are, however, several permitted gambling opportunities in Georgia, such as the Georgia Lottery, coin-operated amusement machines, charity-based gaming, and daily fantasy sports.
  • 🚓 Georgia enforces its gambling laws stringently. The specifics of what constitutes a gambling offense are outlined in Section 16.12.21 of the Georgia Code.
  • 📲 Unique to Georgia and a few other states, the Georgia Lottery permits the online purchasing of tickets.
  • 💰 On an annual basis, Georgians spend roughly $6 billion on lottery tickets, with the profits being channeled towards supporting educational initiatives.
  • 💡 Another lawful and well-liked gambling option in Georgia is the use of coin-operated amusement machines (COAMs). These machines offer games that demand a certain degree of skill from players.
  • 🎗️ Charitable gaming, which includes bingo and raffles, is also permitted in Georgia. These gaming events are organized by non-profit, tax-exempt bodies.
  • ⚖️ The introduction of any additional gambling forms in the state would necessitate a change in the state’s constitution.
  • 👶 The minimum age requirement to gamble in Georgia is 18 years.
  • 🏈 Despite the current ban on sports betting, there’s ongoing speculation about possible future amendments. Any such changes would necessitate the approval of voters and a legislative endorsement by a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate.

Georgia’s approach to gambling is defined by strict regulations and a general prohibition on most forms of wagering. The state has established a stringent legal framework to safeguard its citizens from potential risks associated with gambling activities. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of Georgia’s gambling laws, exploring the various aspects of the legal landscape and shedding light on the reasons behind the state’s conservative stance.

Traditional Casino Gambling: In Georgia, traditional casino gambling is strictly illegal. Unlike several neighboring states, such as Florida and Mississippi, Georgia has not authorized the establishment of land-based casinos. The absence of legal casinos within the state’s borders is a significant feature of Georgia’s gambling laws.
Sports Betting: Similar to casino gambling, sports betting remains illegal in Georgia. However, it’s important to note that there have been ongoing discussions and legislative efforts to potentially change this stance. House Resolution 380 (HR 380) is a notable example of a bill introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives that aims to legalize sports betting. While the outcome is uncertain, these discussions signify the possibility of future changes in Georgia’s gambling laws regarding sports wagering.
Horse Racing Wagering: Horse racing wagering is another form of gambling that is currently prohibited in Georgia. The state does not have any racetracks where individuals can legally place bets on horse races. As such, fans of horse racing in Georgia often need to seek alternative options, such as online platforms or travel to neighboring states that offer legal racetracks.
Charitable Gaming: While many forms of gambling are illegal, Georgia does allow certain forms of charitable gaming. This includes activities such as bingo and raffles, which operate under specific regulations and licensing requirements. Non-profit organizations can obtain licenses to conduct these games, although there are restrictions in place to ensure that the primary focus remains on fundraising rather than excessive gambling.
Lottery: The Georgia Lottery is a legal and regulated form of gambling within the state. Established in 1992, the lottery offers various games, including popular options such as Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, Jumbo Bucks Lotto, and Fantasy 5. One significant aspect of the Georgia Lottery is its contribution to education funding. A substantial portion of the lottery proceeds goes towards supporting the HOPE Scholarship, which has played a vital role in enabling students to pursue higher education.

Legal Gambling OptionDescription
LotteryThe Georgia Lottery is one of the primary legal gambling options in the state. It offers various draw games, scratch-offs, and interstate games like Powerball and Mega Millions.
Coin Operated Amusement MachinesThese machines, commonly found in arcades and amusement centers, allow players to win tickets redeemable for prizes. They are legal as long as no cash is awarded.
Charitable GamingGeorgia permits certain forms of charitable gaming, including bingo, raffles, and limited card games. Non-profit organizations can obtain licenses to host these events.

Illegal Gambling Forms

Illegal Gambling FormDescription
Sports BettingPlacing bets on sports events, whether in person or online, remains illegal in Georgia. Efforts to legalize sports betting have been made but have yet to come to fruition.
Horse Racing WageringHorse racing betting, both on-track and off-track, is prohibited in Georgia. There are no horse racing tracks or simulcast facilities within the state.
Casino GamblingThe establishment and operation of casinos, including both brick-and-mortar and online variants, are strictly prohibited in Georgia. Residents must travel to neighboring states to indulge in casino gaming.

Understanding Georgia Gambling Laws and Regulations


To comprehend the intricacies of Georgia’s gambling laws, it is essential to refer to the Georgia Code, specifically Section 16.12.21. This section outlines the legal framework surrounding gambling within the state. By examining these laws and regulations, we can gain insights into the penalties for gambling offenses and the specific provisions that authorize certain forms of gambling.

Gambling Offenses and Penalties

Engaging in gambling activities that contravene Georgia law can result in severe penalties. The following table provides an overview of the offenses and their associated penalties:

Making BetsMisdemeanor punishable by fine or jail
Keeping Gambling PlaceFelony punishable by imprisonment
Possessing Gambling DeviceFelony punishable by imprisonment
Operating Illegal LotteryFelony punishable by imprisonment
Playing Games for MoneyMisdemeanor punishable by fine or jail

It is crucial to note that these penalties may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Specific Laws for Authorized Gambling Forms

While Georgia maintains strict gambling regulations, certain laws allow specific forms of gambling to operate within the state. Let’s explore the legislation that enables the operation of the Georgia Lottery, charitable gaming events, and other authorized gambling forms

  • Georgia Lottery: The Georgia Lottery Corporation Act authorizes the operation of the Georgia Lottery, with the proceeds primarily benefiting education programs in the state.
  • Charitable Gaming: The Charitable Raffles, Bingo, and Poker Act allows qualified non-profit organizations to conduct bingo and raffle events. Additionally, charity poker rooms are permitted under specific regulations.

By establishing clear guidelines and regulations, these laws aim to strike a balance between regulating gambling activities and supporting important causes.

To participate in various forms of gambling in Georgia, individuals must meet the minimum legal age requirements. The legal gambling ages are as follows:

  • Lottery: Players must be at least 18 years old to purchase lottery tickets.
  • Coin Operated Amusement Machines: There is no specific age requirement for playing these machines, as they do not involve gambling with money.
  • Charitable Gaming: Participants in charitable gaming events must be at least 18 years old.
  • Daily Fantasy Sports: Users of daily fantasy sports platforms must be at least 18 years old.

It is essential to adhere to these age restrictions to ensure compliance with Georgia’s gambling laws.

Although Georgia’s gambling laws are stringent, there are still legal gambling options available for residents and visitors to enjoy. Let’s take a closer look at some of these options, including the Georgia Lottery, coin-operated amusement machines, charitable gaming, and daily fantasy sports.

Georgia Lottery

The Georgia Lottery has become a popular form of entertainment in the state, offering a wide array of games. Not only does it provide recreational opportunities, but it also contributes to education programs. The lottery funds various initiatives, such as the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs, benefiting countless students across Georgia.

Online Purchases of Tickets: In recent years, the Georgia Lottery has expanded its services to include online ticket sales. This convenient option allows players to purchase tickets from the comfort of their homes, further enhancing accessibility.

Coin Operated Amusement Machines

Coin-operated amusement machines, commonly found in arcades, provide entertainment and a chance to win prizes. These machines operate based on skill rather than chance, making them legal in Georgia. Players can accumulate tickets by achieving high scores, which can then be exchanged for a variety of prizes.

Charitable Gaming in Georgia

Charitable gaming, such as bingo and raffles, plays a substantial role in Georgia’s cultural landscape. Funds raised through these games often support crucial community initiatives. Charity poker rooms, though scarce, operate under strict regulatory oversight.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Georgia

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) also exist in a legal gray area in Georgia. While there are no specific laws prohibiting DFS, their legality remains uncertain.

Future of Gambling in Georgia

As the gambling industry continues to evolve across the United States, there is growing interest in potential changes to Georgia’s gambling laws. Discussions have emerged regarding the legalization of sports betting and the introduction of commercial casinos. Let’s explore the legislative process for changing gambling laws and assess the possibilities for these specific forms of gambling in Georgia.

Legislation and Process for Change

Amending gambling laws in Georgia requires a comprehensive legislative process. Proposed changes must undergo deliberation, committee review, and ultimately, a vote in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Senate. Additionally, constitutional amendments may be necessary to allow for significant shifts in gambling regulations.

Possibilities for Sports Betting and Commercial Casinos

Recent legislative attempts and the progressive stance of neighboring states have generated possibilities for the expansion of gambling in Georgia. The introduction of sports betting, both in-person and online, has gained traction, as it offers potential revenue streams and the opportunity to regulate a previously unregulated market. Similarly, the consideration of commercial casinos is driven by the desire to boost tourism and create economic growth.

While no definitive decisions have been made, the future of gambling in Georgia may see significant changes in the coming years.


In conclusion, Georgia’s gambling laws are among the strictest in the United States. Both land-based and online gambling are currently illegal, with no legal land-based casinos operating within the state. However, the Georgia Lottery and charitable gaming, such as bingo and raffles, offer legal outlets for gambling enthusiasts.

The state’s conservative approach to gambling has resulted in discussions surrounding potential changes to its laws. Legislative efforts for legalizing sports betting, exemplified by HR 380, are underway. Meanwhile, the legal status of daily fantasy sports remains uncertain.

As we reflect on the biggest Georgia gambling laws, it is evident that the landscape of gambling in the state may undergo significant changes in the future. Until then, the lottery and charitable gaming remain the primary legal avenues for those seeking to engage in gambling activities within Georgia’s borders.



The legal age for participating in various forms of gambling in Georgia varies. For the Georgia Lottery and charitable gaming events, participants must be at least 18 years old. Coin-operated amusement machines do not have a specific age requirement as they do not involve gambling with money. Users of daily fantasy sports platforms also need to be at least 18 years old.

Legal forms of gambling in Georgia include the Georgia Lottery, coin-operated amusement machines (COAMs), charitable gaming like bingo and raffles, and daily fantasy sports.

In Georgia, sports betting, horse racing wagering, and traditional casino gambling (both online and brick-and-mortar) are illegal.

Penalties vary depending on the offense. For example, making bets and playing games for money can result in a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time. More severe offenses, like keeping a gambling place, possessing a gambling device, or operating an illegal lottery, are felonies punishable by imprisonment.

A significant portion of the proceeds from the Georgia Lottery goes towards supporting education initiatives in the state, including the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs.

To amend gambling laws in Georgia, a proposed change must undergo deliberation, committee review, and a vote in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Senate. Major shifts may also require constitutional amendments.

There have been ongoing legislative discussions and efforts to legalize sports betting and commercial casinos in Georgia. However, any definitive changes are yet to be determined.