Lawmakers have failed to approve a Georgia sports betting referendum, meaning the earliest residents of the Peach State can legally place a wager is likely 2025 at the earliest.
This is bad news for those who thought this year might be the year it got done.
When Will Georgia Have Sports Betting?
Georgia’s constitution bars gambling. Advocates of sports betting want to amend the constitution by way of a voter referendum. Since they failed to pass the referendum language in 2021 and 2022, that means voters won’t be able to approve sports betting until the November 2024 General Election.
Once approved the state would then have to implement sports betting regulations which would take time. This puts the earliest possible date for sports betting in Georgia at 2025.
Georgia Sports Betting Recent Updates
House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, opened the door to a gambling referendum on Jan. 7, 2022.
“Maybe it’s time that we asked the question of Georgians whether they want to expand gaming, and if they say yes, then we sit down and decide what form it will take, whether it’s going to be sports betting, whether you do horses or destination resorts.”
Representative Ron Stephens, R-Savannah has been a big proponent of pushing sports betting legalization in Georgia. He tried unsuccessfully in March to push legislation through the House. Senate Bill 142 and Senate Resolution 135 passed the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee but never made it to the floor before the April 4 adjournment date.
“All you are doing today (is) taxing and regulating — and that’s all,” Stephens told members of the committee, “… and that’s because they’re already doing sports betting.”
While the state has heard opposition to legalized gambling in the state, proponents argue it could have a positive impact. Revenue would go to HOPE Scholarships and pre-k programs – an estimated $100 million.
In 2021 Georgia lawmakers got tied up on bills related to voting. In 2022, an election year, they ended the session with issues related to transgender athletics.
Attention to these issues meant sports betting was once again relegated to the back burner.
Top Sports Betting Sites Coming To Georgia
At this time, it’s not known what sports betting operators will try for Georgia licensure if and when sports betting is legalized. This being said, several daily fantasy sports operators already provide these activities to Georgia residents, as the industry is still unregulated throughout the state. Big operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo Fantasy have already launched great mobile apps in Georgia.
Therefore, we expect to see both DraftKings and FanDuel attempt to acquire licensure shortly after legalization. That’s because both operators are big sports betting giants and almost always expand into newly-legal states when possible.
But it’s also because both operators already have their apps in the hands of many Georgia residents. Expanding their market to include sports betting would probably be quick and simple.
There are other operators who are likely to apply for sports betting licensure shortly after legalization. These include BetRivers, a newer but mobile-optimized sports betting platform that would undoubtedly be a great addition to the industry.
BetMGM is also likely. The sportsbook is attempting to expand and become a big industry giant like DraftKings by providing good betting markets, a solid opening bonus, and live stream betting. Caesars Sportsbook may follow as well, especially because it offers good international and foreign sports betting markets for folks who like to place wagers on non-American games after its acquisition of William Hill.
Ultimately, time will tell what sportsbooks race to acquire licensure for Georgia sports betting. The proposed taxes, application fees, and annual fees are fairly reasonable compared to other states, and the lack of a land-based casino partnership requirement means license limitations may be practically nonexistent.
Georgia Legal Sportsbooks
Legal sports betting has been a long time coming for Georgia residents. Even though the future looks bright, the industry still hasn’t launched and many sports betting enthusiasts may consider using an offshore or illegal betting site to tide themselves over.
This is always a bad idea. Offshore and illegal betting sites have terrible digital security on average, which puts your funds and your personal information at risk for cyber crimes. Furthermore, nothing stops an offshore booking site from stealing your money or otherwise betraying your trust.
Licensed and regulated sportsbooks, like the kinds that are sure to come to Georgia once the industry fully launches, are much better bets. They’ll have solid digital security to protect your personal information from identity theft.
But will also be beholden to the Georgia Lottery, which is due to regulate the industry after it launches. That means you’ll have an organization to turn if you have a grievance with a sportsbook and that each sportsbook licensed in Georgia will be investigated beforehand.
All in all, it’s better to wait for Georgia’s legal sportsbooks to launch, even if it may take some months yet.
Georgia Sports Betting Revenue
Because Georgia’s sports betting industry hasn’t yet launched, it’s tough to accurately predict the revenue the state government might enjoy as a result.
However, several organizations and sports betting legalization supporters project that the industry could bring in between $30 million and $100 million for its first year. Those funds would be well used by the state government, which plans to use the funds for needs-based scholarships as well as rural healthcare and broadband Internet expansion.
But we can also make some predictions by looking at a state that has already successfully launched sports betting: New Jersey. For instance, the month of November 2020 brought in over $50 million from sports betting alone, proving that the industry has excellent potential to boost state tax revenue.
Time will tell how Georgia’s sports betting industry operates and the kind of revenue it generates for the state government. But there’s no doubt that any revenue brought in will be substantial, to say the least.
Georgia’s path to sports betting legalization has not been fast, but it has been relatively consistent. Each year since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018, some Georgia legislators have worked tirelessly to come up with satisfactory versions of sports betting bills.
While the road to getting the bills into an acceptable state for all parties has been long, it’s been good to see several Georgia lawmakers working to move things along. However, a substantial proportion of Georgia’s population is highly conservative and religious, which has slowed progress dramatically. Georgia is about to run into trouble when compared to other nearby states who have been progressing more rapidly, including Louisiana and Florida.
Georgia is also a very restrictive state when it comes to other types of gambling. The state prohibits any land-based casinos, poker, and even horse and dog racing. The only legal forms of gambling (aside from sports betting in the future) are the Georgia lottery and various charitable gaming activities.
The state is also entangled in a wide range of voter suppression concerns, particularly surrounding bills passed after the 2020 election. Georgia lawmakers came to a stalemate on sports betting during the 2021 legislative session and the push to legalize sports betting in Georgia in 2022 came to an end April 4 when the Georgia Legislature ended its session.
Georgia Betting Successes And Failures
Georgia Sports Betting Success
Georgia’s sports betting success record has so far been dismal due to the fact that land-based and mobile sports betting have never been legal in any capacity. Even the Emerald Princess Casino, which is a cruise out of Brunswick and the only place for Georgia residents to enjoy traditional gambling activities, does not include sports betting.
However, Georgia has allowed various daily fantasy sports operators to remain in the state thanks to a legal gray area. So it’s likely that sports betting will launch quickly and easily once it is fully legalized by a majority vote.
Additionally, Georgia’s sports betting legalization effort has enjoyed the support of most major Georgian sports teams, such as the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, and more.
Where Georgia Could Improve Online Gambling
Georgia could certainly improve its online gambling industry by not only legalizing sports betting but also legalizing other gambling activities, such as poker and casino games. At the time of this writing, only social casinos and sweepstakes poker sites are allowed, such as Global Poker and Chumba Casino, respectively. These allow players to participate in gaming activities through sweeps coins that can be exchanged for cash prizes.
All in all, Georgia’s mobile sports betting legalization could be a pathway to greater public acceptance for future online gambling activities. That’s because the revenue it provides to the state government could show the viability of online gambling industries. Given enough momentum, the Georgia legislature may eventually allow online poker and casino games in addition to regular sports betting.
Legalization Effort In Georgia
The sports betting legalization effort in Georgia has been long and has featured multiple big developments. It took several years for suitable sports betting bills to reach the Georgia House and Senate, and even then, multiple versions were drafted over time.
For instance, the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee first received a sports betting bill at the beginning of 2020. It was called SB 403. But that bill died quickly and did not gain much support.
It was only recently that other bills, such as SB 142, HB 86, and HB 93, managed to gain traction where earlier legislative attempts had failed. Sen. Burt Jones and other supporters for sports betting had to push multiple times to get new versions of bills drafted.
HB 93 ended up passing the House while SB 142 passed the Senate. But neither bill passed before the end of the 2021 legislative session. The 2022 Georgia Legislature ended without passing any gambling bills. SR 135 was stripped and replaced while SB 142 never made it to the House floor.
Timeline Of Georgia Sports Betting
- 2017 – Daily fantasy sports was almost legalized in 2017, but the Georgia Senate did not bring the measure to a full vote, leaving the activity in a legally gray area
- 2017 – The Georgia state legislature introduced a bill to bring two land-based casinos to Georgia, but it died in the same year
- 2018 – The Supreme Court rules that it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to ban sports betting wholesale
- Feb 26, 2021 – The Georgia House of Representatives votes to legalize mobile sports betting
- March 5, 2021 – The Georgia Senate votes to approve sports betting legalization with SB 142. The measure moves that the public be allowed to vote directly on the matter with the next state ballot
- April 2, 2021 – The 2021 Georgia legislative session comes to an end, marking the death of SB 142 and any hope of sports betting legalization movement this year.
- January 2022 – The 2022 Georgia legislative session is set to begin, giving sports bettors another chance at a vote for legalization on the November 2022 ballots.
- April 2022 – The 2022 Georgia Legislature ended without passing any gambling bills.
Georgia Sports Teams
Georgia Professional Sports Teams
Georgia has a very well-developed sports scene as well as multiple professional leagues that have their own groups of fans. Sports betting comes to this state, players will be able to place wagers on their favorite teams in four major leagues, including:
- The Atlanta Braves, an MLB team
- The Atlanta Hawks, an NBA team
- The Atlanta Falcons, an NFL team
- The Atlanta United, an MLS team
Any sportsbooks that arrive in Georgia will undoubtedly have plenty of excellent wagers for players to enjoy so they can support—or even bet against—their favorite teams. It’s no surprise that all of these teams support legal sports wagering, and future legislation may require sportsbooks to partner with one or more teams to receive a license.
Georgia College Sports Teams
In addition to plenty of professional sports teams, Georgia is home to several popular college football teams. The University of Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech all field strong football teams that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Georgia Bulldogs are of course the talk of the college football world still after winning the National Championship in the 2021-22 season. Head coach Kirby Smart led one of the best defenses of all time. Can they repeat this fall?
Indeed, collegiate football is a widely beloved recreational activity for many of the state’s residents. However, the House and Senate sports betting bills differ on how collegiate sports betting will be handled.
Some states, such as New Jersey and Illinois, don’t allow any collegiate betting on in-state schools. Other states, like Iowa, restrict in-game and prop bets on college games. Michigan and Pennsylvania are two of the few states that allow betting college betting with little to no restrictions.
It’s not clear how the collegiate sports betting rules will be finalized. If a total ban is enacted, Georgian residents will not be able to place wagers on their favorite college sports teams at all.
Other Sports To Bet On In Georgia
In addition to football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, the people of Georgia love a variety of other sports, such as golf, darts, cricket, and UFC fighting. Any major sportsbook that comes to this state will have plenty of betting markets for these activities and more, including more niche sports leagues like eSports if allowed by state law.
How To Place A Bet In Georgia
Again, because Georgia doesn’t have any retail casinos, it’s unlikely that the state will mandate in-person registration before you can place a wager using a future Georgia sportsbook. Instead, sports bettors will be able to complete the registration process entirely online and place a wager shortly after.
Let’s break down the wager placing process now so you’re prepared when sports betting finally comes to Georgia.
Download The App
For starters, you’ll need to choose the perfect sportsbook app for your needs. Key factors include unique bonus offers, the ability to bet on your preferred sport and type of wager, and platform reliability.
Once you’ve identified the best app, you can download it directly from the App Store for iOS and the Google Play store for Android. However, Google Play started allowing betting apps as recently as March 2021, so some Android apps may need to be downloaded directly from the sportsbook website.
After downloading the app, users will also note that geolocation software will be installed on their devices. Georgia’s sports betting industry will require geolocation software to make sure that you only place wagers within state borders.
The registration process should be quick and simple. Players will be able to provide some key bits of personal information, like their physical address and date of birth, to verify their identities. Because registration will likely be online only, the entire process should only take a few minutes.
Fund The Account
Your sports betting account will need to be funded through a variety of deposit methods. Different deposit methods are available for different sportsbooks, but most allow you to fund your account with credit or debit card transfers, bank transfers, and electronic wallet transfers.
However, while BetRivers boasts a mere 1x playthrough requirement, all bonus offers come with terms and conditions you should know so you can get the full bonus before placing your first bet. For example, some deposit-match bonuses have playthrough requirements as high as 5x or even 10x.
Other wagers, such as risk-free bets, may only qualify for particular wager types. For example, odds usually have to be -200 or longer (+100 okay, -220 not okay).
Place A Wager
Once your account is fully registered and funded, you’ll be able to place a wager immediately on any available betting markets or lines. Depending on when you download the sportsbook, there might be special game day bonuses were promotional opportunities to take advantage of.
For example, many new sports bettors start placing bets during March Madness, the most popular sports betting event in the US, even more so than the Super Bowl. You can find particularly high-win wagers on most major sportsbooks during this time.
Georgia Sports Betting FAQs
No, online sports betting is not legal in Georgia. Any site accepting bets from players located in Georgia is operating illegally. However, daily fantasy sports platforms, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are legally accessible from within the State of Georgia.
21. No matter how the exact sports betting rules turn out, you’ll need to be 21 years of age or older to place a sports wager.
Georgia Lottery. All future sportsbook apps will likely be regulated by the Georgia Lottery, which already oversees the state lottery and other gambling adjacent activities.
Yes and no. It’s technically legal for DraftKings to provide daily fantasy sports (DFS), but DraftKings Sportsbook is not legal in Georgia. Still, the fact that it already provides some entertainment to Georgia residents means that DraftKings will likely be one of the first operators through the door if Georgia launches sports betting.
Yes, so long as it is fully licensed and regulated. Licensed and regulated sportsbooks have excellent digital security and are investigated before they launch to make sure they are legitimate enterprises. Unfortunately, Georgia does not allow legal sports betting, so there are no legally licensed options in the state.
No. It’s not legal to bet on any sports in Georgia at this time. If Georgia does legalize sports betting, the state will likely allow betting on college sports in some form or another. Most likely, Georgia bettors will not be able to bet on in-state college schools, including the Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech.