Gary Bruce discusses the legality for Columbus residents to participate in online gambling. In Gary’s opinion, most of the law on this subject is directed towards preserving the state’s interest in the lottery. Some of the law is contradictory and has not been settled, which means it’s probably okay to participate in online gambling. But be careful with any gambling because these companies are not set up to pay out more than they take in.
Gary also discusses your duty to pay taxes on your winnings. Though the law is not clear, Gary suggests you will be paying some taxes, just as when you gamble in person. It is important to know that if you are denied winnings in online gambling, you might have trouble enforcing the payout because it’s an illegal contract – especially if the company is located offshore.
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Maureen: Hello there, and welcome to legal break! I’m Maureen Akers and with me today is Gary Bruce. As always, Gary thank you so much for joining us today!
Gary: Good to be here again, thank you.
Maureen: Well today we had a viewer email us the question: “Is it legal for Columbus residents to participate in online gaming shows”. Is that legal here in Georgia?
Gary: You know it’s a good question. In Alabama I think it would be considered illegal. In Georgia I think it is up in the air – it’s something the legislators are considering. There is a ton of law on gambling, as you can imagine, and a lot of it is directed at preserving the state’s interest in the lottery, honestly. So there is a push to not promote gambling because we have a state gaming system. Some of it’s a little, I don’t know, contradictory in itself but it is interesting. It really hasn’t been addressed yet and I so I think it’s probably okay. I did find a website that said that if you’re 21 and over you can gamble on online casino games, but you only have to be 18 or over to gamble on online horse-racing. Which is a kind of interesting, isn’t it? Well I think you can go to the track at 18, I’m from Kentucky so I grew up going to the track, I know how that is. So is somebody going to come “get you”? I doubt it but I don’t know, who knows how big brother is watching.
Maureen: So does that include fantasy sports and such?
Gary: Yeah the fantasy sport thing is interesting. There are several states that have declared that to be improper, and so they shut down their operations in those states. We heard a lot about that about a year ago and it kind of died down some. You don’t see nearly as much of it – I think it did walk on the edge. I don’t know how you’re going to get in trouble for it but I don’t know, just go buy a lottery ticket or something.
Maureen: Especially the state of Georgia would love to have you do that! The other question that came with that was “If you win at something like this would you have to pay taxes on those winnings”?
Gary: You’re supposed to, and that’s interesting. If you win at the track or a casino, they’re going to withhold it and you’ll fill out forms there. I don’t know what happens online, I’ve never won. I got cured early of gambling, I haven’t really had to do that. But I do find this interesting – Georgia code said that if you lose at gambling, it’s an illegal contract so you can actually sue to get your money back. However, there’s only a six-month statute of limitations, just something to throw out there.
Maureen: Very interesting! Thank you so very much for joining us today Gary, I look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break!