Georgia Legal Poker Sites

Georgia StateGeorgia is up there with Hawaii and Utah when it comes to being the least friendly State for poker fans. There is not a single legal casino in this State, with the best on offer cruises from the coast which allow gambling (against the house) type games in international waters. Not even home games are legal for real money here, with only free bar poker games as an option. Offshore internet poker sites do welcome players from GA.

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This article gives you all the information you need to know about playing poker in the State of Georgia in one place. First of all, live casino poker rooms are looked at – which is really more focused on out-of-State options for GA. Next the social poker scene is covered, including home-games, charity poker and bar poker leagues. After that I have discussed internet poker, before going on to look at the wording from the Georgia Statutes (where you’ll find little in the way of encouragement). Finally a summary and look at possible future plans for this State.

Live Poker Games In Georgia

In 2012, the Georgia Senate voted through a bill that would have legalized a single casino. This was on the understanding that profits went towards education scholarships. Unfortunately the bill was never signed into law. However, it does give a glimmer of hope that there will be a GA poker room at some point in the future.

As things stand the best option for residents seeking a live poker game is to travel south to Florida. Jacksonville is home to several poker rooms, including a Hard Rock casino. There are ‘cruises to nowhere’ operating from the GA coast, these are focused on casino games rather than poker in the traditional sense.

Are Home Games Legal In Georgia?

Home games are not legally carved out under Georgian law. These would fall under the blanket ban on any form of gambling for real money. Having said that there is no real history of the smallest stakes ‘penny ante’ games being busted here – though if you choose to play in one it is entirely at your own legal risk.

The only real outlet for poker in the entire State is via free entry bar poker leagues. There are real prizes for these games – though they are not particularly large by poker player’s standards. The bars put up the prizes, and make extra profit from the drinks and food ordered while the games are going on. As you might imagine, with the lack of other poker options, bar leagues are extremely popular here.

Online Poker Games In Georgia

The likelihood of Georgia regulating or legalizing online poker games are extremely remote given their approach to gambling in general. At the moment they join the majority of States in the fact that there are no specific words on the books relating to internet poker (or even distinguishing this from live play). The assumption is that the ‘it is all illegal!’ stance of the main Statutes is perfectly good enough to cover this kind of activity.

Offshore poker rooms, which are based out in the Caribbean, do welcome players from Georgia. Playing at one is at your own risk, though this State has yet to prosecute anyone for merely playing in an online poker game.

What Do The Georgia Gambling Statutes Say?

This State makes double-sure that they have included all possible forms of gambling within their law books by coming from two different angles. First of all, they focus on the ‘bet’ part of gambling, which includes the possibility that some skill might be involved as long as there is an element of chance. Second of all they make owning and operating any ‘gambling device’ illegal too. Again noting the skill / chance cross-over and keeping the definition loose enough to include just about everything from a chip or cards through to video slot machines.

Here is the key wording covering the ‘bet’, which is the basis of the Georgia Statutes. This comes from Chapter 18 part 12-20:

… “Bet” means an agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value…

Georgia Poker – Summing It Up

If you live in this State then there are really only two options for playing real money poker games. First you can travel across the border into Florida, where poker fans are very well catered for. Second you can play at those offshore poker sites who still welcome GA players – though this is at your own risk, as the authorities here assume this is illegal under the current laws.

There is little hope that any regulation of online poker will come to this State. The vote for a casino in 2012 does hint that there is an appetite for progress – even though this particular bill did get vetoed.