Right now, legal online gambling in Georgia is very limited. Residents can play daily fantasy sports (DFS) on apps such as DraftKings or FanDuel. And there are a very limited list of online casino games (that only includes Bingo).
But as legal online sports betting and casino gaming spread throughout the country, one can only dare to ask the question: What would it look like in Georgia?
There’s no questioning the fact that Georgia residents love their lottery–despite being the 8th most populous state, the Georgia lottery ranked fifth in lottery sales in 2021.
So the interest is definitely there, but the fact remains that Georgia has some of the most strict gambling laws in the US.
It’s difficult to say when, or even IF, Georgia will ever change their online gambling laws. There aren’t even land-based casinos in the state. So going straight to online betting would seem to skip a couple of steps.
And while there are proponents on both sides of the aisle when it comes to legalized online gambling in Georgia, it’s ignorant to ignore the positive side effects of legal gambling.
So, let’s take a look at what legal online casinos have to offer to the residents of Georgia.
Georgia’s missing out on millions in tax revenue
There’s no doubting the tax benefits a state reaps from having legal online casinos run in the state.
Let’s take a look at New Jersey, for example. Here are the top-earning online casinos from February 2022 alone, and how much the state received from them in taxes:
- Borgata Casino: $37,831,314 ($5.6 million in state tax)
- Golden Nugget Atlantic City: $34,560,260 ($5.18 million in state tax)
- Resorts Atlantic City: $29,902,791 ($4.48 million in state tax)
- Caesars Atlantic City: $10,066,088 ($1.59 million in state tax)
Georgia has almost 3 million more residents than New Jersey. So it’s fair to assume that they would see numbers similar to those in Jersey–and possibly even higher.
A lot of this tax money in Jersey goes towards the funding of retirement homes for the elderly or the state-run K-12 schools.
The Georgia Lottery already sends billions of dollars to their K-12 systems every year. But with the added revenue from online casinos, that number could be astronomically high.
Online casinos make gambling incredibly easy
So even when you look past the obvious tax benefits of legalized online casinos, it’s hard to ignore the other glaring upside to it–it’s incredibly convenient.
There would be no more getting in your car and traveling to the casino. Even though you can’t even do that in Georgia, to begin with, but bear with me.
Now you can play your favorite casino games from the comfort of your own home. Some online casinos even offer a “live dealer,” which is a live stream of a dealer that you can watch on your phone and play through that.
So, if some player’s dont trust the computerized games, they can watch the drama unfold in real-time.
In an interview done by CNBC, a Michigan resident who plays online Blackjack at FanDuel’s online casino had this to say about the app’s convenience:
“It’s a lot more convenient for me, to go on my phone or my tablet. I can go whenever I like, you know, I don’t have to start my car and burn through the gas. I don’t even have to get dressed!”
Online gambling in Georgia waits until 2024
Before we look at the future of online casinos in GA, we should look at that of brick-and-mortar casinos. And unfortunately, the future looks grim.
However, after Georgia’s most recent legislative session, it’s fair to say there’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
In what came as quite a surprise, a House committee in last week’s legislative session resurrected a bill that gave lawmakers the option of passing sports betting through the lottery.
It had been suspected that 2022 could be the year to get it done, with House Speaker David Ralston admitting he had a change in heart in favor of legal sports betting. However, the House declined the offer to take up legal sports betting, going in favor of a timber tax break bill instead.
The next opportunity for sports betting in GA comes in the 2023 legislative session. If the bill is passed then, the earliest online sports betting apps could enter the state in 2024. This is due in part to the lack of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state–so that may seem like a great place to start.
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