Georgia Online Poker
‘Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.’ So goes the motto of Georgia, the eighth largest USA state with a population just shy of 10 million. While online poker is neither explicitly legal or explicitly illegal in the Peaches State, online poker players will hope politicians exercise wisdom in regulating the activity, offer players the justice of a range of online poker sites, where they can enjoy their favorite games in moderation.
Georgia is not alone in its treatment of online poker, however it appears less open to pushing forward with the activity than some other states. The Republican-dominated political landscape (both senators and nine of Georgia’s 14-strong house delegation) has not directly addressed online gambling, though the aggressive treatment of internet gambling cafes suggests there may be opposition to online poker as well.
In the meantime, however, Georgians can rest easy that the best poker sites in Georgia, many of which are licensed offshore, allow players to continue playing legal online poker from the comfort of their own home without risk of prosecution.
Legal land-based gambling has been brought up by politicians but quickly shot down, despite studies suggesting the available tax revenue from the activity is potentially substantial. Indeed, it took until 1994 for Georgia to even introduce a state lottery, so the Peaches State seems pretty low down on the list as far as legal online poker is concerned.
How anti-gambling are Georgia’s laws?
There is quite strong opposition to various forms of land-based gambling, and indeed under Georgia Code section 16-12-21(a)(3) it is a criminal offence to play or bet for money at any card game. However as of 2019 there has been no indication that prosecutors have any plans to target those who play on legal offshore regulated poker sites from the comfort of their own homes. Still, there is a reason why, when it comes to the southern states, everyone knows Texas Hold’Em but no one has ever referred to Georgia Hold’Em.
What does the internet café crackdown mean for online poker?
It certainly suggests there is no clamor for a regulated online poker environment within Georgia’s borders, despite the potential revenue it could bring to the state. Still, as things stand there have been no signs of the crackdown extending to those who merely play online poker.
What can Georgians do if they want to play poker?
Simply put, they will need to either play on offshore internet poker sites, or travel out of state to play live. Georgia is represented at most World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events, with famous pro Phil Gordon, who grew up in Stone Mountain, is one of the most famous poker figures with ties to the Peach State. Neighboring Florida is one of the States which Georgia residents can travel to if they want to try their luck at the tables.
Could progress in other states change Georgian politicians’ minds?
It seems unlikely. Some of the States in the USA seem perceptive to monitoring the progress of online gambling elsewhere before making a decision, but the Peaches State does not look like being one of them. Of course a flourishing online poker market in nearby Florida could change this, but Florida itself has only made minimal progress in getting online poker regulated in state. The best hope for poker players in Georgia is for a federal bill, forcing states to opt out if they do not want an online poker framework. That could give politicians a chance to decide whether they consider legal poker sites Georgia-friendly, with no pressure of having to deal with the pressure of having introduced a bill themselves. We will have to wait and see.