Georgia has always been a conservative state with a history of cracking down on unregulated gambling activities. It is simply not a “gambling-friendly” state. There are still strict laws against gambling here in Georgia and it’s not always easy to distinguish between the illegal and legal gambling activities in the state. You can play bingo. You definitely have the right to spend your hard-earned money on the Georgia lottery—the more the merrier. And, you can participate in games, contests and raffles that are approved for charity. However, every time you place a bet on a sporting event, dog race, poker or dice game, you are breaking the law.
Gambling Laws in Georgia
law, O.C.G.A. § 16-12-20, “bet” means an
agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill,
one stands to win or lose something of value. Further, under O.C.G.A. §
16-12-21, a person commits the offense of gambling
(1) Makes a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game or contest;
(2) Makes a bet upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
(3) Plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.
Charges for Commercial Gambling
law, O.C.G.A. § 16-12-22, a person commits the
offense of commercial gambling when he intentionally does any of the following
(1) Operates or participates in the earnings of a gambling place;
(2) Receives, records, or forwards a bet or offer to bet;
(3) For gain, becomes a custodian of anything of value bet or offered to be bet;
(4) Contracts to have or give himself or another the option to buy or sell or contracts to buy or sell at a future time any gain or other commodity whatsoever or any stock or security of any company, when it is at the time of making such contract intended by both parties thereto that the contract to buy or sell, the option whenever exercised or the contract resulting therefrom, shall be settled not by the receipt or delivery of such property but by the payment only of differences in prices thereof;
(5) Sells chances upon the partial or final result of or upon the margin of victory in any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in any game or contest or upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate;
(6) Sets up or promotes any lottery, sells or offers to sell, or knowingly possesses for transfer or transfers any card, stub, ticket, check, or other device designed to serve as evidence of participation in any lottery; or
(7) Conducts, advertises, operates, sets up, or promotes a bingo game without having a valid license to operate a bingo game as provided by law.
Penalties for a Gambling Offense
A person who commits the offense of gambling and who is convicted will be guilty of a misdemeanor in the state of Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 16-12-21). However, those convicted of commercial gambling can be charged with a felony with a punishment of one to five years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000 (O.C.G.A. § 16-12-22).
Which Gambling Games are Legal/Illegal?
- Casino Games – Not Legal
- Online Casinos – Not Legal
- Live Poker – Not Legal
- Online Poker – Not Legal
- Sports Betting – Not Legal
- Horse Racing – Not Legal
- Dog Racing – Not Legal
- Georgia Lotter – Legal
- Bingo Games – Legal
Contact Bixon Law Today
If you have been charged with gambling, call Bixon Law. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. Our lawyers are committed to helping people in difficult situations and working to get our clients the best possible outcome. We invite you to call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.