Georgia Online Sports Betting

Georgia is on the cusp of providing legal, regulated online sports betting to its citizens and potentially becoming one of only a few states in the region to allow the practice. In January Georgia Representative Ron Stephens put forward HB 86 in hopes of getting it done in 2021. The Senate followed with HB 142 in February. Both bills give the Georgia Lottery Corporation the ability to issue sports wagering licenses for what would be fully regulated, statewide mobile sports betting with remote registration.

This page offers up a complete overview of the current online sports betting scene in the state of Georgia. We’ll recap current legislative efforts, walk the road to regulation, discuss timelines, and a lot more.

Georgia Sports Betting As It Stands

From 30,000 feet, Georgia sports betting seems to be cruising towards reality. However, on the ground, nothing is set in stone.

HB 86 (the ” Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act “) and SB 142 are the most current, active bills on the books for legal and regulated online sports betting. In February 2021 HB 86 successfully moved through the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee by a 20-6 margin. It is a positive movement, though there’s still work to be done before Georgia online sports betting is realized.

GA HB 86 Details

If HB 86 is the framework chosen by the legislature, Georgia is headed for an ‘online-only’ sports betting market, much like Tennessee. As it stands, the proposal will allow only online sports betting through websites and mobile apps. No brick-and-mortar locations are provided for by the bill, and Georgia doesn’t allow casinos.

Let’s get into the details of the bill a bit further: HB 86 allows the state’s lottery to provide oversight for a minimum of six sports wagering licenses. Interestingly, the bill would allow leagues themselves to provide wagering:

(j) Any sports governing body on whose sporting event the corporation has authorized wagering may also enter into commercial agreements with sports wagering operators (…) to share in the amount bet from sports wagering on sporting events of such sports governing body.

Georgia HB 86 (Proposed)

And further…

(i)(1) A person that holds a license or permit to engage in sports wagering issued by another jurisdiction may submit a request to the corporation for a temporary license for such person to immediately commence engagement in this state in the lottery game of sports wagering.

Georgia HB 86 (Proposed)

In simple terms, not only will venues and leagues be permitted to offer sports wagering, but licenses could be awarded immediately if the applicant has a sports betting license in another state. Consider the floodgates ready to open if HB 86 becomes law.

Notably, HB 86 does not permit betting on college sports.

SB 142 Information

In February 2021 the Georgia Senate released their sports betting proposal, SB 142, to rival the House Bill. Overall, they’re pretty similar in most regards. SB 142 is a little more liberal when it comes to betting on college sports and offers a lower potential tax rate of just 10%.

What’s more, the Senate Bill does leave the door slightly ajar when it comes to retail betting. While Georgia isn’t exactly flush with casinos (they have none), sports betting kiosks could be in play under SB 142.

Sports Betting Taxes and Fees

Whether it’s through HB 86, SB 142, or a hybrid of both – licensed sports betting providers will be required to pay for the right to legally accept bets in the state of Georgia.

These stances and figures are subject to change as the details are hammered out, but by-in-large, they’re a solid starting point. If approved, it would allow Georgia’s online sportsbooks to flourish.

Georgia Sports Betting Age

Under the currently proposed bills, Georgia would require bettors to be at least 21 years old to place a bet. This is very standard within the gaming industry across the country. From Las Vegas to Atlantic City, if you’re not 21, you’re not eligible.

Online Sportsbooks to Expect in GA

The provisions of HB 86 and SB 142 allow for at least six sports betting operators to be licensed by the GA Lottery Corporation, with no upper limit. Since the state lacks brick-and-mortar gaming infrastructure, retail partnerships wouldn’t be required.

With at least six openings available, should Georgia online sports betting proceed all of the major players would be vying for a share of the market. This includes:

DraftKings

DraftKings is currently operating in a vast array of U.S. jurisdictions, making them a prime candidate for Georgia should HB 86 move forward. One of two well-known DFS providers taking the plunge into the legal sports wagering market, DraftKings hosts a ton of sports betting options on a well-featured set of mobile apps or through your web browser.

A shared wallet between the sportsbook and its industry-leading DFS platform is a great asset and has helped contribute to the company’s immense success out of the gate.

FanDuel

The other primary DFS contender in the U.S., FanDuel is live in a majority of states with legal betting frameworks. Users of the platform consistently report competitive odds and promotions in a well-designed package. Both FanDuel and DraftKings allow you to access your DFS account through their wagering app, which is a nice plus.

FanDuel has made a sports betting name for itself by offering exceptional value through near-constant boost promotions.

BetMGM

The MGM lion has been a part of the cultural memory for as long as any of us can remember, and the media conglomerate is also a big player in gambling, both online and in-person. This operator is so voracious to offer its platform to new users that, if there’s a state about to legalize online betting, BetMGM is not far behind. Georgia will likely be no different.

BetRivers

Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive has successfully ported their BetRivers brand throughout the country. From Illinois, to Colorado, to Pennsylvania and Virginia, BetRivers ranks amongst the industry’s finest online sportsbook operators… and Georgia could be next. BetRivers is known for an extremely valuable welcome bonus and a bevy of betting options.

Caesars Sportsbook

A veteran of the sports betting industry, the combined powers of Caesars Sportsbook and William Hill shows no signs of slowing down. Cross-sport props and a ton of other betting options across numerous markets await new users of the platform, which shows its experience by being customer-focused and competitive everywhere it counts.

Caesars Entertainment forked over a hefty $3.7b sum towards the end of 2020 to acquire William Hill, which will serve as the company’s primary online gaming brand moving forward.

WynnBET

Wynn Resorts is a known quantity in the Las Vegas betting scene, and now they’re taking their on-the-ground experience to the online market with the WynnBET platform. Largely growth-focused, the WynnBET platform is going live all over the country and offering a no-nonsense online sportsbook.

PointsBet

A fine Aussie-import, PointsBet is amongst the hottest up and comers within the regulated iGaming industry in the United States. Known for a well equipped mobile app, big bonuses and promotional offers, and their exclusive wagering type: PointsBetting – PointsBet is tough to top. PointsBet’s presence in the U.S. continues to grow, and legislation permitting, is like to include Georgia.

What to Bet on in GA

Before we detail some of the most commonly available bet types, we have to add a caveat: the language of HB 86 would allow sports governing bodies (such as teams, leagues, etc) to limit available bet types:

(b)(1) A sports governing body may submit to the corporation in writing, by providing notice in such form and manner as the corporation may require, a request to restrict, limit, or exclude a certain type, form, or category of sports wagering (…)

— HB 86

That’s right– a sports governing body, under the terms of HB 86, can restrict certain types of wagers if they feel said wagers interfere “with the integrity of the sport”. The opinion of Georgia-based athletic teams towards legal online betting seems relatively positive, but this provision would allow teams and leagues to push back on bets they find unfavorable. College player props are among the most commonly restricted items, as they mount pressure on amateur athletes.

Available Bet Types

That being said, let’s rundown of all the most common sports bets. We expect that many of these options, if not all, will be included in Georgia’s eventual online betting law:

Sports Betting Markets

Georgia is home to sports teams in all of the country’s major, professional leagues. Most are based in Atlanta, including the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United, and the Thrashers. In addition, there are plenty of big-name college programs including the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State. Once online sports betting advances, bettors should be able to place action on the lot of it, including:

How to Get Online

As Georgia doesn’t have any physical gambling locations (other than the odd slot-style video lottery terminal here and there), all the sports betting in the state will be online-only. That means there won’t be any retail, brick-and-mortar betting, and limited in-person banking.

However, the text of the proposed bills indicates that bettors will be able to access a wide variety of online betting platforms. All of the leading sports betting brands boast apps and accessibility for Android, iOS, and desktop computers.

Georgia Sports Betting Deposits and Withdrawals

Once live, bettors will need to get funds into their sports betting accounts before they can wager. Here’s a rundown of deposit and withdrawal methods commonly available on popular sportsbooks throughout the country. We expect that Georgia-based betting sites will offer many, or all of these options:

As Georgia has no physical casino or sportsbook locations, there isn’t likely to be a “cash at cage” option for banking in-person. However, PayNearMe is a service that allows for in-person cash deposits to your online sportsbook account. Look for available locations near you, like 7-Eleven or Family Dollar.

What’s so good about legal online sports betting?

Online sports betting has been legal on a federal level since 2018. Before then, bettors in the U.S. were making use of “offshore” gambling sites, which are notorious for being insecure, unbalanced, and technically illegal.

Now that the practice of online betting can happen above board and legally in the States, many jurisdictions are ramping up the process to put laws on the books. Why? There are a number of reasons why legal online sports betting is good for everyone, from state legislatures to the end-user:

History of Gambling in Georgia

Georgia’s relationship to gambling has historically been lukewarm, with not much happening in the 20th century altogether. 1992 brought about the Georgia Lottery, the first legal form of gaming allowed in the state. From 1992 to the late 2010s, this was the only form of gambling available in Georgia– not even pari-mutuel wagering on horses was legal (and still; there’s still no law for legal horse racing bets in the state).

In 2017, a Republican-led push for casinos in the state didn’t make it to then-governor Nathan Deal’s desk, and not much changed. The Lottery did start selling online tickets in 2012 and regulating video slot machines in 2013, but those segments of the lottery market have proven difficult to oversee.

2018 brought huge changes to the scope of legal gambling in the United States at large. PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, essentially barred sports betting on a federal level, save for a few states that got grandfathered in. In 2018 PASPA was declared unconstitutional by the SCOTUS, giving each state the right to pursue regulated iGaming. In the years since many states have done so successfully – GA may be next.

Further pushes for some form of sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports regulation again didn’t make it through the Assembly for the 2019 session. Rep. Ron Stephens, champion of regulated wagering in the state, concluded that a constitutional amendment (and therefore, a vote) would likely be the only way to expand betting.

All the while, Georgia gamblers have made do with an interesting loophole: cruises to nowhere.

That’s right– Georgia gamblers looking to play without restrictions have the ability to get on a cruise ship and head into international waters where betting isn’t restricted by Georgia law. Boats like the Emerald Princess regularly make the trip to international waters with gambling cruises. Sports betting isn’t offered, however.

The latest push for online sports betting comes in the form of Stephens’ HB 86, and SB 142 which jukes around the need for a constitutional amendment by allowing the Georgia Lottery to issue sportsbook licenses. This isn’t like some other states that have a lottery-run model with a single monopolized sports betting provider, but rather a competitive market where the lottery is the overseeing commission.

Surprisingly, the bill is gaining a bit of momentum in the Georgia Assembly– but perhaps isn’t so surprising when you take into account the massive hit that economies locally and globally have taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s Hail Mary time.

Governments are finding that the possible pitfalls of legalized betting are, perhaps, overstated and certainly outweighed by the need for an infusion of cash. Whether this is enough to carry a bill to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk remains to be seen, but there is bipartisan support.

Though Governor Kemp is a staunch conservative and famously against legal gambling, he has indicated that he’ll yield to whatever’s got support from the GA public.

FAQs about Georgia Online Sports Betting

Online sports betting legal in Georgia right now?

No, but it’s closer than it has ever been. Both the House (HB 86) and Senate (SB 142) are working towards regulation and the industry has bipartisan support. Governor Brian Kemp may even jump on board if interest continues to rise.

When will Georgia online sports betting launch?

We’re still in the stage of the proceedings where we are hoping that it launches, period – regardless of timeline. That being said, recent legislative activity has given us hope that it could happen in 2021.

Will I have to be in Georgia to bet on Georgia Online Sportsbooks?

Yes. All regulated online wagering apps in the U.S. are required to check their users’ location whenever real money bets are being placed. As a result, you’ll have to make sure location sharing is enabled on the mobile apps, or when betting from a computer, the download of a geotagging plugin will be mandatory.

What kind of gambling is currently available in Georgia?

Georgia is a historically conservative state, and voters haven’t really pushed for legal gambling until very recently. The list of what Georgia doesn’t have is perhaps more illuminating. The Georgia Lottery is the only gambling practice currently legal in the Peach State, offering tickets, online tickets, and video “slot” machines.

If legislators decide to give the GA Lottery the authority to offer sports wagering, then who knows what’s possible? Under this framework, the lottery could push to offer other types of betting too, like online casinos, horse racing, and potentially poker. It’s a bit early to tell, but there’s a ton of potential in the Georgia online sports betting scene.