Will Georgia Legalize Gambling in 2024?

Published 5:58 am Monday, February 5, 2024

U.S. gambling is dictated by individual state laws and regulations that determine what kind of gambling is permitted and how local citizens can participate. 

Sports betting, casino betting, and online betting are just some of the options open to some states with the likes of Las Vegas having a reputation as being one of the top American gambling locations.

States like Hawaii and Utah prohibit all forms of gambling, and they look unlikely to relax restrictions any time soon. However, some states are exploring options to allow different forms of gambling.

At present, Georgia is restricted to lottery, charity bingo, and raffles. This makes it one of the least open states to gambling, but things could be set to change.

The Entain Foundation recently met with several Georgian state legislators to explore the possibility of a 2024 gambling bill being passed. Attempts in recent years to pass bills that would have legalized sports betting, casinos, and horse racing have all failed, so this delegation has set out to discover exactly what it would take for regulations to change.

The big stumbling blocks at the moment appear to be what type of gambling would be included in attempted legalization, and how revenues would be allocated.

Many states dedicate gambling tax revenue to public services, schooling, and programs designed to educate and help people with gambling issues.

Gambling tax and license revenue is extremely lucrative for states with New York making almost $700 million in 2022. While this is at the high end of the scale and Georgia would be unlikely to see this much, it could still be a huge financial boost.

One reason that more states are contemplating the legalization of different betting markets, with online betting being a particular focus, is that people in states where betting is prohibited can still gamble.

Offshore betting sites provide U.S. gamblers with a way to bet on a variety of sports and casino games. Bettors can play on reviewed and ranked sites that offer great levels of security, so state legislators are coming around to the idea of legalization.

State legislation provides a framework that gives the state more control of the betting that is carried out, and can funnel funds back into the community by taxing it.

Opposition in the form of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board remains steadfast in trying to stop progression. However, planning for programs to combat the potential negative effects sometimes associated with gambling will help with public opinion.

Regulated gambling operators will have to adhere to strict guidelines and frameworks that offshore operators often avoid. Some of Georgia’s neighboring states offer legal gambling and Tennessee is one example that has benefitted from legal online sports betting since 2020.

It is still a long shot that Georgia will legalize gambling in 2024, but online sports betting has the best chance with greater support than recent casino bills. The talks taking place are a great way to start things this year and should provide betting operators and campaigners with a solid base to build on.