Responsible Gambling in Georgia

As those who play the Georgia Lottery or partake in other forms of gambling know, it can be a great source of fun and entertainment. Many enjoy gambling as a brief diversion, an opportunity to enjoy the momentary thrill of playing a game of chance and perhaps even winning some money.

Unfortunately, some take it too far with their gambling. Even with the limited types of legal gambling available in Georgia, there are those who manage to play to an unhealthy degree. It is therefore important to know about responsible gambling resources available in Georgia, whether for yourself or for someone you know. It is also worth knowing how to go about getting help should problem gambling start to impact someone you care about. 

If you are in Georgia and have an interest in gambling, read on to learn about resources to help you play responsibly and for information about how to identify, prevent and/or get help treating problem gambling. We also have links and contact details for various resources available in the state. 

What is responsible gambling?

Most would probably define responsible gambling as any instance of a person gambling while practicing common sense and remaining fully aware of the risks involved. Examples of responsible gambling would include being mindful of spending limits and avoiding potentially self-destructive behaviors while gambling. 

In truth, responsible gambling is a wide-ranging concept that covers not just these recommended behaviors but a list of best practices for both gamblers and gambling providers. The gambling industry often speaks of responsible gambling (sometimes referred to as “RG”) as a fundamental assumption informing all sorts of gambling-related guidelines and initiatives. 

Responsible gambling represents a concrete approach that governs how providers like the Georgia Lottery operate their games. In fact, those who do provide legal gambling in Georgia must follow certain policies and conduct themselves in ways specifically designed to increase the chance that customers will gamble responsibly. 

Responsible gambling guidelines for gamblers

Here are some tips Georgia can keep in mind to help ensure they practice responsible gambling whenever they play the lottery or engage in any other type of gambling activity: 

  • Keep track of how much you spend while gambling.
  • Set limits and abide by them.
  • Never gamble with money you need for other essential purposes such as to pay bills and rent, buy food and gas, or the like
  • Don’t gamble when you are feeling stress, and never use gambling as an “escape” or way to avoid stressful situations.
  • Don’t gamble if you are depressed or feeling anxiety.
  • After winning, avoid the temptation to “ride the rush” and continue gambling longer (or for higher stakes) than you should.
  • After losing, don’t fall into the trap of “chasing your loss” and trying to win back money or “get even.” 
  • Realize you can get help should gambling ever seem to become a problem for you or be the cause of negative consequences for you or your loved ones. 

Responsible gambling guidelines for providers

Responsible gambling also involves gambling providers exerting their own influence to minimize the potential harm that can come to players. Providers need to follow protocols that ensure not just that their games are fair and run with integrity, but that they are safe and ethical, too. When it comes to promoting responsible gambling, here are some best practices for gambling providers:

  • Provide players concrete information and recommendations illustrating how to gamble responsibly.
  • Always post accurate odds and other clear, unambiguous information about games so players understand the risks.
  • Prevent those who should not gamble from doing so, such as those who are underage, drunk or impaired.
  • Train staff to spot the signs of problem gambling.
  • Give players a way to exclude themselves from gambling, and be vigilant about not allowing those who do self-exclude to gamble.
  • Don’t market games in ways that potentially target problem gamblers, and never glamorize or make light of “degenerate” gambling and other destructive gambling-related behavior.
  • Help patrons locate resources where they can learn more about responsible gambling in Georgia and get help with problem gambling.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling can cover a range of behaviors, some extreme and others less so. Any time that gambling negatively affects a person’s physical or mental health, that constitutes problem gambling. Whenever gambling harms a person’s relationships with family or friends or threatens a person’s employment status or finances, that, too, is an example of problem gambling.

Even so, problem gambling doesn’t always manifest itself in such obvious ways. Sometimes problem gambling can cause relatively minor inconveniences or hardships. If undetected and left untreated, such small issues can grow into much more consequential ones. Very often, those who suffer the most catastrophic outcomes of problem gambling such as the loss of personal savings or the creation of overwhelming debt only arrived at that point after having experienced and/or exhibited less severe symptoms of problem gambling.

The fact that problem gamblers often will try to conceal the problem from others can also make it challenging for family or friends to tell whether gambling has become an issue for someone. Indeed, another frustrating aspect of problem gambling is the fact that many who suffer from it consciously avoid admitting to themselves the possibility that they are endangering themselves and require help.

It is therefore good to be aware of the signs of problem gambling in order to be able to spot them in others or yourself. Here are some common ones: 

  • Concealing gambling or lying about it to others.
  • Allowing gambling to distract from other activities or responsibilities.
  • Devoting more time to gambling than you intended, or spending more money than you intended.
  • Asking friends and family members to borrow money (especially when such requests are unexpected).
  • Failing to pay bills or selling possessions to raise money.
  • Cashing out stocks or bonds, making surprise withdrawals or getting cash advances on credit cards.
  • Having unexpected or unexplained absences from work or school.
  • Appearing inattentive to one’s health or hygiene.
  • Feeling guilty about gambling.
  • Experiencing huge emotional swings when gambling. 
  • Becoming irritable or acting erratically when not gambling.
  • Growing defensive or argumentative when discussing gambling.

Georgia resources for responsible gambling

Since Georgia is such a restrictive place for gambling, it doesn’t offer the abundance of responsible gambling resources available to residents of other states with more legal gambling options. Still, there are multiple ways for Georgians to find information about responsible gambling and seek support.

Georgia Council on problem gambling

The Georgia Council on Problem Gambling is the official state chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling (see below). Unlike most other states’ affiliates, the GCPG receives no state funding. Even so, this Atlanta-based nonprofit has a number of volunteers ready to help Georgians suffering from problem gambling.

Besides its website, the GCPG invites those in need to call 800-522-4700 any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From there, you can get connected with a database of trained counselors. The GCPG can also supply print materials and workbooks outlining the dangers of gambling addiction and how to prevent and treat it.

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

The state also provides a limited budget to its Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to assist problem gamblers in Georgia. While addressing problem gambling is only one aspect of the department’s larger mission, its staff can point you toward treatment providers in the state. 

It is important to find a therapist who is convenient to your home or place of business. The department currently operates four treatment programs in the state. You can reach the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities by phone at 404-657-2252 during weekday business hours. 

Georgia Crisis and Access Line

Georgians have another 24/7 toll-free helpline available to them, the Georgia Crisis and Access Line. Specialists can aid those seeking help with problem gambling. The phone number to call for this Georgia gambling hotline is 866-922-7369.

Responsible gambling and the Georgia Lottery

As the most significant legal gambling option in the state, the Georgia Lottery takes seriously its charge to promote responsible gambling. In fact, it contributes $400,000 each year to the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities specifically to help fund research, education and treatment of gambling addiction.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Lottery’s Play Responsibly program includes a variety of helpful information and responsible gambling tools via the Georgia Lottery website. These include a self-assessment tool, which is a questionnaire that aims to help respondents assess their gambling behavior. The site also shares a list of facts about lottery probabilities to disprove common misconceptions titled Debunking Common Myths About Lottery Play as well as another one titled Tips for Playing Responsibly.

Since Georgia is one of the few states where you can purchase lottery tickets online, the Georgia Lottery also has a number of online-specific safeguards in place, including strict protocols for age verification and geolocation. Players receive time notifications and can see a running clock showing how long an online session has lasted. The lottery clearly displays odds and shows your account balance in cash, and it designs its messaging not to encourage further purchases (e.g., if you win, you do not receive an invite to use your winnings to play again).

Voluntary self-exclusion program

The Georgia Lottery also offers players the option to join its voluntary self-exclusion program. By entering the program, players are blocked from any online or mobile lottery play. During the period of self-exclusion, players are not able to access their Georgia Lottery accounts. Players can choose to exclude themselves for three months, six months, nine months or one year, after which they can request reinstatement. The exclusion does not prohibit players from purchasing lottery tickets at retail locations.

In order to join the voluntary self-exclusion program, players can call the player information hotline at 800-425-8259.

National resources for responsible gambling and problem gambling

National programs are also available to Georgia gamblers seeking help. Here are the main places to which you can reach out:

  • National Council on Problem Gambling: The preeminent national organization helping those impacted by problem gambling. The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network is available 24/7 by calling 800-522-4700. You can also use online chat to speak to a representative and get connected with local resources by visiting
  • Gamblers Anonymous: If you prefer a more social or group setting, then consider joining one of the chapters of Gamblers Anonymous. Much like Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous highlights a 12-step self-help program but also offers a free 24/7 hotline at 855-222-5542. Gamblers Anonymous also hosts weekly support meetings, with 15 currently happening in Georgia. The website can help you find meeting times and locations in your area.
  • Gam-Anon: Another organization that employs the fellowship model, Gam-Anon focuses on delivering support and guidance to family members and friends of problem gamblers.
  • Gamtalk: An online-based discussion forum that functions in much the same way that Gamblers Anonymous does. You are connected with fellow problem gamblers around the country, and everyone works to bring one another up and along on the road back from the problem.

Importance of responsible gambling

Gambling can be a lot of fun and help produce many experiences and memories. But gambling can also produce a lot of hardship and heartache for those who fail to appreciate the risks involved and are unable to practice moderation. All adults who involve themselves with gambling need to be aware of doing so responsibly. 

If you enjoy gambling, always try to gamble responsibly. Additionally, remain on the lookout for signs of problem gambling either in yourself or in others. Learn to recognize the warning signs, and know there are many resources available to help you should gambling ever become a problem for you or someone close to you. You can also bookmark this page for easy access to the many resources available to gamblers in Georgia.