(Population of 10.1 million as of 2014)
When it comes to states ripe with gambling options, Georgia doesn’t make the list. Aside from cruise ships, a state lottery, and charity events, there really aren’t many opportunities to get your poker game on. While the state has taken a hard stance against internet gambling cafes, it's never really addressed iGaming.
That said, Georgia has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country. For instance, Georgia Code Section 16-12-21(a)(3) makes it illegal to both bet and play for money in any game played with cards.
Want to have a home poker game? If you do you’re breaking the law. Georgia has some other archaic gambling laws, not least of which is that anyone can sue to recover gambling losses if the original loser fails to do so within six months. Read that again and you’ll realize how ludicrous it really is.
If Georgia were to make a list, it’d be toward the top in “States Most Unlikely to Legalize iGaming.”
That said, in the third quarter of 2015, the Georgia House Preservation of HOPE Scholarship Study Committee held a two-day hearing on a proposal to allow up to six casinos in the state. Those casinos would include poker rooms. The next hearing is scheduled for November 2, 2015 and will be led by state Rep. Matt Ramsey [R-72]. The committee will provide a recommendation to the Georgia state legislature on whether or not to open the six casinos.
In January 2017, legislation was introduced about whether daily fantasy sports fall under state prohibitions on gambling, bringing back the discussion of whether it’s a game of skill or a game of chance and whether it’s gambling, according to The Atlantic Journal-Constitution.
A billionaire casino owner, Tilman Fertitta, just got behind the bills that would license two areas of the state for casino gambling, Senate Bill 79 and House Bill 158, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Senate bill is sponsored by state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta and the House bill is sponsored by state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah.
Fertitta is still closely watching this process and has hired a firm to represent his interests in the capital. Getting two casinos onsite may start the long process of online gaming or maybe fantasy sports will, but that’s still largely up in the air. However, there is no mention of online gaming in the bills even if it mentions “regulation of certain gaming activities.”