Georgia Gambling Laws

State laws vary quite a bit with respect to gambling, as some states allow gambling on Indian reservations while others ban the practice altogether. Georgia gambling laws are relatively strict, as they prohibit wagering on horse or dog races, or casinos of any kind. In fact, the only kind of gambling explicitly allowed in Georgia are raffles for charitable organizations. The state's gambling statute also specifically bans dogfighting, chain letters, and pyramid clubs. The following table summarizes key points of the law while the article below provides a closer look at the basics of gambling laws in Georgia.

Code Section 16-12-20 et seq.
Gambling Betting upon the final result of any game or contest, or upon games played with cards, dice, or balls, in order to win money or other things of value, prohibited.
Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting Prohibited.
Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting Prohibited.
Casinos Allowed? Maintenance of gambling places or equipment prohibited.
Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned Election wagering, commercial gambling, dogfighting, chain letter and pyramid clubs banned. Raffles for charitable organizations allowed.

Georgia's Definition of Gambling

Like other state gaming laws, Georgia defines gambling as betting upon the final result of a game or contest, or games played with cards, dice, or balls, in order to win money or other things of value. This includes betting on professional or local sports teams, and holding a small poker game in your home. Illegal gambling can also include holding a lottery or raffle that is not for an approved charitable purpose.

Prohibited Forms of Gambling

Georgia's gambling laws expressly prohibit a few forms of gambling. Just because something is not expressly prohibited by this law does not mean that it is allowed. A local attorney will be able to help you determine whether an activity is permitted or not. The Georgia gambling law prohibits:

  • Horse racing
  • Dog racing
  • Casinos
  • Maintaining gambling places or gambling equipment
  • Election wagering
  • Commercial gambling
  • Dog fighting
  • Chain Letters
  • Pyramid Clubs

Georgia State Lottery

Although it is a form of gambling, the Georgia State Lottery is allowed. Much of the funds are used for education and scholarships. The lottery includes scratcher tickets and choosing a series of numbers.

Illegal gambling is a criminal offense, and can result in jail time. The punishment for participating in illegal gambling may change with the type of gambling or amount wagered, and can be especially severe if you are holding games or lotteries for personal profit. Certain activities may constitute gambling that are not listed here. If you would like to know more about gambling laws, there are many attorneys in Georgia with gaming law experience who may be able to help. They will be able to help advice on the legality of private card games and raffles. It may also be helpful to speak with a private criminal defense attorney in your area if you have been accused of illegal gambling.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.