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Is Online Poker Legal in Georgia? Read About Local Laws & Site Reviews

Georgia
Flag of Georgia

When looking at traditionally conservative states that tend to be slow in change, Georgia generally comes to the front of people’s minds as an example. Well, there might be some truth to this considering the stance they currently hold on gambling overall. Luckily, citizens of the state don’t have to wait for the government to change their minds on regulated Georgia online poker as tons of great offshore sites offer games to those in Georgia already. All of the major US-facing sites offer their games, promotions and quick payouts to those in the state. Below is a list of all those sites for online poker in Georgia and what they have to offer.



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Table of Contents

1.   Poker Sites
      1.1. Ignition
      1.2. Chico Poker Network
      1.3. Intertops
      1.4. Winning Poker Network
      1.5. Grand Poker Network
2.   Selection Guidelines
3.   Payments
4.   Laws
5.   Gambling History
6.   Regulated Poker?
7.   Live Gambling
8.   Conclusion
9.   Address in Nearby State?
10. FAQ
11. Additional Resources

 

Online Poker Sites Available in Georgia

Rather than just joining up at the first Georgia online poker site you stumble upon, it's far better to choose your poker home carefully. We've researched all of the top rooms and have come up with a list of the best ones below. Regardless of which one of these sites you elect to play at, you'll be treated to smooth gameplay, fair dealing, and reliable payouts of your winnings. You can trust in these organizations with confidence because they've been offering their services for many years.

 

    Ignition Poker

Ignition's Good Features Image

Ignition Poker is the largest poker room serving the United States according to player count figures, so it's a great place to go for bustling poker action. This site, on the PaiWangLuo Network, offers a 100% up to $1,000 bonus when you make your first deposit. The bonus is worth 30% rakeback on all your tournament and sit n' go play although it's value is reduced somewhat in cash games. 

CTA: Play at Ignition Poker Now

The highlight of Ignition Casino Poker is its anonymized tables. You see, no player is identified at all except by a randomly created player number, which changes with every table and session. This makes it all but impossible for more experienced users to track and target newcomers. Some are against this “recreational player model,“ but it has had the real-world effect of enticing beginners to the game, leading to very soft tables.

Cash games at Ignition are available from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20 in No Limit Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and PLO/8. For Limit Hold'em and Limit Omaha-8, the upper bound is $30/$60. You'll also see Zone Poker pools here. In Zone, you can fold your hand and get another one right away at a new table, so the pace of the game picks up considerably.

Sit-and-goes are pretty popular here, at stakes from $1 + $0.05 to $200 + $14, but the real excitement is in the MTT lobby. There are $1.5 million in guaranteed events every week, of which the most prominent is the $150 + $12 $100,000 Guaranteed on Sundays. This tournament has been a fixture for many years, and it frequently garners enough participation to easily top its $100,000 commitment. If one-shot tourneys just don't do it for you, then you'll be pleased by the frequent tournament series that pay out millions of dollars during each running, like the Black Diamond Poker Open.

Ignition has a mobile app, and it works through the web, so it's compatible with every device that has an up-to-date web browser. One disadvantage of mobile poker at Ignition is that it only has cash games while tournaments and SNGs are unsupported. You can, however, also access the casino side of the website through either mobile or desktop, and there's a 100% up to $1,000 casino bonus that you can deploy on hundreds of games.

Ignition CTA Banner - Professional Rakeback

If you want to open up an account today, follow our banner link above. To gain a deeper understanding of Ignition's poker room, read our comprehensive poker review for Ignition.

 

        Chico Network

Chico Poker Banner Image: Positive Features

The Chico Poker Network has a few sites, including one called Sportsbetting.ag. Like its name implies, it allows you to bet, not just on poker, but also on sporting contests. There's a casino too as well as financial market wagering and other types of betting. As a poker player, you're probably wondering about the bonus you'll get to use in card games. Well, it's a quite generous 100% up to $2,500 deal that clears at a rate of 33% cashback.

Sportsbetting Play Now CTA

Sportsbetting.ag spreads ring games as low as $0.01/$0.02 and as high as $5/$10. Most of the tables are for NLHE, but some PLO and PLO/8 action is available too. At certain NL Hold'em games of $0.50/$1.00 and above, you can attempt to score a lucky payout through the Bad Beat Jackpot by taking quad jacks or better to showdown and losing. This BBJ has paid out a number of times, and it was once hit for $650k.

The sit-n-goes hosted by SB.ag run the gamut from $0.05 (with no house fee) up to $500 + 25. They start up fairly regularly, especially during peak hours, apart from the uppermost level or two, which sometimes take a while to fill. These competitions have table sizes of 2, 6, 8, and 10 players, so standard nine-person contests are absent. As far as multi-table tournament poker is concerned, your options are more limited and are mostly restricted to events with buyins of $33 and below. The primary exception to this general rule is the Main Event: a $90 + $9 tourney that takes place on Sundays and awards $50,000+ in prizes. On the last Sunday of every month, the Main Event increases to $100,000 guaranteed for a $100 + $9 buyin.

You can play at Sportsbetting from your desktop via the Windows or Mac poker clients. There's also a robust mobile poker app for iOS and Android. Whatever system you use to access the tables, you'll be able to earn continual rewards. Comp points deliver gratis tournament buyins at a rate equal to around 5% of the rake you pay. Additionally, there are three leaderboards that hand out $20,000 to the top cash game, sit-and-go, and tournament achievers each week.

Sportsbetting Highlights Banner cta

Start playing on the Chico Poker Network by following the banner above. For more information about SB.ag first, check out our extensive Sportsbetting.ag review page. You can read up on SBAG's sister site in our detail-packed overview of BetOnline.

 

    Horizon Network

Graphic depicting Intertops' positive features

With player volume numbers that are somewhat modest, Intertops on the Horizon Poker Network isn't the busiest site around, but it makes up for this in several ways. First of all, it's a name you can trust because the company has been around for more than 30 years. Secondly, there's a delightful poker bonus of 200% up to $1,000 that's equal to approximately 27% rakeback.

Play Now at Intertops on the Horizon Network

There aren't enough games active for heavy multitabling to be really worthwhile here, but you'll have no trouble finding a couple of tables at $50nl and below to play at. The sit-n-go lobby is pretty sparse because there are only occasional games running at $5 buyins or lower. The MTTs here are mostly small- and micro-stakes battles with correspondingly tiny prizes up for grabs. There is one daily event that's bigger than this: the $50 + $5 Sundowner, which guarantees $1,500 ($2,500 on Sundays).

For a site of its size, Intertops punches above its weight in terms of special tourney offers. There are frequent mini-series of a couple dozen events or fewer that very often have considerable overlays. Several times per year, you can strive to win seats to prestigious live tournaments through a series of satellites. There are sometimes Facebook promotions that allow you to secure your seat for free.

It's not just tournament players who get extra value at Intertops though. Everyone who clicks through our links and creates an account is entitled to 36% dealt rakeback – forever! Stay on the alert for reload bonuses, which appear every month or so. You can fight for your share of $4,000 in a rake race every week, and you can issue yourself no-deposit bonuses by trading in the gold coins you'll collect as you play. On top of all this poker goodness, you'll get 100 free lines to use in the casino with your initial deposit: a value of $90+.

Intertops highlights cta Image

Sign up today by clicking through our above banner link. We've amassed a lot of information in our thorough Intertops poker room review, which you can peruse at your leisure.

 

     Winning Network

ACR's positives image

As the second-largest internet poker site open to U.S.A. residents, Americas Cardroom has really grown from the times when it was just an also-ran in the online poker space. Upon making your first deposit, you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus that you'll earn at a rate of 20% rakeback. ACR will also issue you $50 free to devote to Jackpot Poker SNGs.

Americas Cardroom, Play Today

The Jackpot Poker sit n' gos, for which you'll acquire $50 free, are three-handed, lottery-style games. The prize pool is determined by a random number, which can go as high as 2,500 times your buyin. There's another unique sit-and-go format at ACR, and it's called SNG 2.0. It's a nine-player endeavor in which the prizes up for grabs get larger and larger as certain cards are revealed in a pregame round. There are three jackpots that can be triggered, and if one of them is hit, then all nine contestants will get a prize. Besides these non-standard variants, there are also regular sit n' gos at price points both trivial and exorbitant.

Continuing on to the multi-table tournament section, Americas Cardroom has the juiciest Sunday Major open to residents of the United States. Called the Sunday Special, it distributes at least $150,000 to the entrants who pay $200 + $15 for the privilege of partaking in this event. If six figures isn't enough to get your pulse racing, then you'll have the chance, every couple of months, to pay $500 + $40 and endeavor to claim your piece of $1,000,000+ in the Million Dollar Sunday. There are also several tourney series throughout the year, such as the Online Super Series.

We've been focusing on tournaments, both single- and multi-table, so far, but don't get the impression that ACR neglects cash game enthusiasts. The range of stakes present for NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, and PL Omaha Hi-Lo is quite wide with $0.01/$0.02 comprising the low end and $25/$50 making up the high division. Limit formats include Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Seven Card Stud, and the games go up to $30/$60 and even higher in some cases.

Cash gamers can boost their balances with The Beast leaderboard, which pays out in cash and tournament satellites every week. There has thus far been more than $12 million awarded through this leaderboard over the course of its life. SNG enthusiasts have their own leaderboard too, called Sit & Crush, which operates along the same principles. No matter what style of poker you play, you'll get additional perks, through the Elite Benefits program, based on how much volume you can put in at the tables.

Highlights Banner for ACR Poker

Joining Americas Cardroom is simple because all you have to do is click the link above. You can learn more about the site with our accurate ACR poker review.

Americas Cardroom isn't a standalone site; it's part of the Winning Poker Network. What this means is that, as with any other poker network, there are multiple sites – sometimes called “skins” – that combine together to produce a better poker product than any one of them could accomplish alone. Other reputable sites on the Winning Network are: BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), PokerHost (read review). It's possible to get set up with rakeback on any of these rooms instead of the Elite Benefits system. To find out how, browse over to our WPN rakeback guide.

 

        Grand Network

Grand Poker Network's Positive Features

The well-renowned 5Dimes group of real money online gaming companies has built its own poker network from the ground up. Called Grand Poker Network, it debuted in 2014 with a reasonably good software platform especially when compared with what other newish entities are able to throw together. You can run the 5Dimes poker software on your Mac or PC using the downloadable installers. There are also apps for iOS and Android, and a Flash version enables poker fun on virtually every computing device on the market today.

You really won't be able to pick the exact blind levels you want to play here because player liquidity is such that there are only ever a handful of tables running. Compensating for this is the fact that the games that do pop up tend to be on the softer side because the population here is comprised mostly of sportsbettors and casino gamers with hardly a poker pro to be found. You can match wits against your adversaries at levels from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/$2. The games are almost exclusively NLHE, but a table of PLO might also appear from time to time.

The tournaments are very remunerative here despite the fact that the largest of them has only a $5.50 buyin. Apart from the clueless opposition, you'll benefit from a few tournaments every day with zero house fee. The removal of the normal 10% take means that your financial results will suddenly become much better without your having to do anything special. There's also a $500 freeroll every Sunday to grow your balance – starting from $0.00 if necessary. Add on the 50% rakeback that you'll receive as a reader of Professional Rakeback, and it's not too difficult to see why 5Dimes deserves your careful attention.

Banner highlights CTA for 5Dimes

Clicking the above link will bring you to the 5Dimes site so that you can join today. You can read up on the network 5D calls home by heading over to our breakdown of the Grand Poker Network operators.


 

How to Choose the Right Georgia Poker Site

As you can see, there are several distinct firms offering Georgia online poker service, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. We can't tell you for sure which one would be best for you to register for because this will depend heavily on your own preferences and personal situation. What we can do, however, is point out a few of the factors that you'll want to ponder over as you're making your decision.

◼ If you're keen on playing where there are the most games running, then Ignition and WPN are the best choices for you.


◼ If your mouth waters at the prospect of a huge bonus offer, then Chico Network has $2,500 with your name on it.


◼ If you expect to be able to play with different types of hardware, then Chico, Ignition, and Grand have the cross-platform apps you seek.


◼ If you appreciate recurring rewards for your time at the tables, then WPN's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels systems should satisfy you.


◼ If you're a fan of unique styles of gameplay, then Ignition's Zone Poker and WPN's Jackpot Poker and SNG 2.0 may be what you're after.


◼ If you think rakeback is the best way to grow your profits, then Horizon's 36% and Grand's 50% RB ought to leave you happy..


◼ If you want to be able to score frequent reload bonuses, then Horizon and WPN are the two networks with the most redeposit deals.

 

Payout Report

Bag of Money

When it's time to ask for your winnings to be placed into your hands, you can obtain checks from all of the organizations mentioned above. However, check processing speeds leave much to be desired, and there are sometimes fees attached to cashout requests. You can avoid these hassles by conducting all your poker banking functions in the digital currency Bitcoin. All of the rooms listed above support this crypto-currency. It enables rapid money transfers with low fees. If you don't know much about Bitcoin but would like to know more, then we've prepared a helpful guide to getting started in BTC.

 

Georgia's Online Poker Laws

Law Book

Georgia has some fairly strict gambling laws compared with most other states. The main language targeting the activity is found in Title 16, “Crimes and Offenses,“ Chapter 12, “Offenses Against Public Health and Morals,” Article 2, “Gambling and Related Offenses,” Part 1, “Gambling,” § 16-12-21:

Gambling
(a) A person commits the offense of gambling when he:
(1) Makes a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game or contest;
(2) Makes a bet upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
(3) Plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.
(b) A person who commits the offense of gambling shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(1) clearly refers to sports-betting and other similar endeavors while (2) relates to wagering on election results. It's (3) that interests us as poker players. Poker could be held to be included as a “game played with cards,” although it's not clear whether or not online poker would be covered. There aren't any physical cards involved in the pastime, but virtual images of the cards might count for the purposes of this statute.

Another wrinkle is added by the definition of a bet in the State of Georgia, contained in § 16-12-20, which defines the terms used in the gambling sections of the State Code: “(1) 'Bet' means an agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value.” Confusingly, there's an exemption for “an offer of a prize, award, or compensation to the actual contestants in any bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength, or endurance or to the owners of animals, vehicles, watercraft, or aircraft entered in such contest.” So the interpretation of this clause rests on whether or not poker is a game of skill or not. There are wildly conflicting opinion on this matter, but at least one federal judge, Jack B. Weinstein, has decided that poker is a skill game.

According to Georgia law, gambling is a misdemeanor, which subjects the guilty party to a fine as high as $1,000 and/or imprisonment in county jail for up to 12 months. We're here to inform you, though that § 16-12-21 has never been used to go after online poker players. Georgia has been involved in several high-profile poker busts over the years, but these enforcement actions targeted those playing in illegal live games, not people partaking in cards over the internet. As a private online poker player, you're completely safe as far as the law is concerned.

There's another infraction that's relevant to what we're talking about right now: communicating gambling information. It's delineated in § 16-12-28:

(a) A person who knowingly communicates information as to bets, betting odds, or changes in betting odds or who knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of such information with the intent to further gambling commits the offense of communicating gambling information.
(b) A person who commits the offense of communicating gambling information, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years or by a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both.

This language seems designed to penalize people engaging in bookmaking, but the state's definition of what a bet is in § 16-12-20 means that there is a slim possibility that it could be held to include internet poker too. This doesn't really have much impact on the real world, though, because the GA authorities have never attempted to use this law to go after online poker participants. People charged with communicating gambling information in the state have historically been either members of organized crime rings or proprietors of establishments with illegal gambling machines.

Other charges that are sometimes filed in Georgia against those operating gambling enterprises in contravention of the law include commercial gambling, keeping a gambling place, advertising commercial gambling, and possession of a gambling device. Some of these infractions are misdemeanors, some are misdemeanors “of a high and aggravated nature,” and some are felonies. Fines can climb as high as $20,000, and there's the possibility of imprisonment for up to five years. Regardless of the harshness of these laws, hardly any gambling operators have been deterred from serving Georgians. The full slate of sites that serve the United States also accept players from Georgia.

An additional part of the Official Georgia Code, beginning with § 16-12-50, deals with bingo games. Only properly licensed, nonprofit organizations are allowed to host them.

 

History of Gambling in Georgia

Hourglass

Georgia is known for its strong anti-gambling views, and this element of Georgia's character was formed from its foundation. The colony was set up under the auspices of a charter granted to a group of trustees in 1732. Under the supervision of these trustees, gambling was banned throughout Georgia. Even after the charter was rescinded, gambling never assumed the importance that it did in other parts of America. Lotteries, which were used in other colonies to fund public works, were of little importance in Georgia, and the few that did occur were mostly small, local affairs.

Dahlonega Mining Camp
Mining Camp in Dahlonega, 1879

Throughout the 1800s, although gambling may not have been strictly legal, it was mostly ignored by the authorities. Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia from 1804 through 1868, had a reputation for the many gambling opportunities it presented to visitors. Similarly, real money gaming thrived in the Dahlonega area after gold was discovered in 1828. The mining camps that sprung up were largely lawless, and all kinds of gambling games could be found.

This permissive attitude ended by the 1930s. During the '20s, newspaperman Thomas Lee Bailey used his “Cochran Journal” as a platform for spreading his Progressive views, including his distaste for gambling. Despite its status as a small-town paper, the “Journal” was widely read in Georgia and was credited by many as being a leading force in convincing the state to toughen its stance on wagering activities in the '30s. Illicit betting was more or less stamped out during this time although there were occasional exceptions as with Eddie Guyol, who operated an illegal numbers racket in Atlanta until he was murdered in 1935.

On the legislative front, nothing happened until 1978 when bingo was legalized for charitable organizations. In 1992, a state lottery was established.

 

Regulation Chance for Online Poker

Poker Regulations

When you talk about states that don’t have a good chance of regulated online gambling, Georgia would have to be higher on that list. Its exceptionally conservative government and population, combined with a fairly long history of anti-gambling laws and ideas, make for a poor climate regarding online poker. There aren't any brick-and-mortar casinos in the state, and these establishments are usually the forerunners of any kind of legalized real money online gaming, so the situation in Georgia isn't exactly favorable. It's most unlikely that Georgia will operate a regulated internet gambling market at least until it becomes commonplace in many other states.

 

Land Based Gambling

Logo of the Georgia Lottery

Land based gambling in the state of Georgia is one of the most limited things that you will see in the United States with only charitable gambling and the state lottery being available to residents. The state lottery is rather successful, with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and this would seem to indicate there is at least some acceptance of gambling in the state. However, repeated attempts to inaugurate commercial casinos and pari-mutuel racetrack betting in GA have met with periodic failure. The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians has made vague statements expressing an intention to open up a tribal casino in Georgia, but thus far, nothing solid has materialized.

 

Final Thoughts

Playing online poker in Georgia is a practical way to get your fix of card game action. The authorities mostly ignore this activity, and so you won't get into any legal predicaments for engaging in it. Georgia online poker is a fine way to while away the torrid summers without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of your home.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Georgia and States Adjacent to It

If you are lucky enough to have another address in a state close to Georgia, be it your business office, summer home, second apartment, family estate, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here is a list of the states that border Georgia and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. If you're keen to find out more about online poker throughout the entire United States, then you can read through our guide to internet poker for Americans.

There's plenty of ignorance about Georgia online poker among the residents of the Peach State. You can help enlighten your friends, neighbors, and family members by sharing this article with any among them whom you think would be interested in it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Playing online poker in Georgia is a broad subject, and so it's natural if you have a few questions about it. Below, we've attempted to answer some of the most common query regarding this topic.

Is Global Poker a legal organization in Georgia?

The company says is completely legal in Georgia, but we're not entirely convinced. There's not enough space to get into the reasons why here, but you can read our review of Global Poker for our thoughts on this matter.

 

Additional Resources

Georgia has very limited gambling, but there are a few resources about it that you may wish to check out:

 


We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!