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Georgia came close to winning the National Championship Game after Alabama missed this short field goal try late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs brought 30-to-1 odds of winning it all from some Las Vegas casinos in the preseason.

Lack of casinos hasn’t kept Georgians from betting on college football games

Chip Towers

ATHENS — In a “landmark decision,” the Supreme Court on Monday struck down the federal law prohibiting sports betting.

Well, sports betting in places other than Nevada, but never mind that. Effectively, in all the other states where there is already legalized gambling, casinos can start taking bets on games — including collegiate ones — as soon as logistically possible. New Jersey, which led the six-year legal battle against the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, aims to be first, according to published reports.

Conceivably, I guess the state of Georgia also could get in on the action, too. Early reports from The AJC are “backers” believe this legislation will bring casinos to our state. Well, of course they do. But I’m not seeing that happening fast.

In the meantime, I need some help on this one. I know ESPN and CNN and everybody else is telling me it’s a “landmark decision,” so I guess it is. But when I hear such descriptions, I’m left to think it’s a life-altering deal. I’m not sure I see that here.

I’m not a gambler, at least not beyond the once every five or 10 years or so that I find myself inside a casino and I go around looking for the cheapest blackjack table I can find. And I certainly don’t bet on games. Well, other than every March when I join an NCAA basketball pool somewhere for $5 or $10.

Some might say that makes me a gambler, but I disagree. I say that because I know more than a few gamblers in Georgia. These are people that bet on college football games every weekend during the fall.

I called one of my buddies Monday who does this on a regular basis to find out if he saw this as landmark legislation. He doesn’t.

My friend bets on games the way everybody else I know does. That is, he sees a line on a game, picks up his smart phone, goes to a website that knows him by an alias and a phone number and lays down a bet. Later, he might see another game he likes and he’ll bet on that one. Point, click, wager.

And on and on it goes throughout the fall. The most fun, he tells me, comes during bowl season. One can lay down bets on 30-something games over the course of a couple weeks.

“Because why else would you watch most of these games?” my buddy said. “Put $50 on the Bahama Bowl and suddenly you’re very interested in who wins.”

My pal is also a Georgia fan, but bets on the Bulldogs judiciously because he says his passion often clouds his objectivity.

At the end of the season, my friend settles his account. Sometimes he might be up $1,000, other times he might be down that much. Most of the time it’s somewhere in between.

I’m not naive. I realize there are people who take it far more seriously. I know there are many who bet much more money, perhaps money they can’t afford to lose, and they get hurt financially. But that’s gonna happen whether it’s in a casino or on their personal data device.

Regionally, there currently are casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana and the Cherokee casinos up in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I suppose it’s just a matter of time before those locations offer a sportsbook as well.

As for Georgia, the only three legal forms of gambling are the lottery, bingo and raffles. That won’t change anytime soon regardless of the politics (of which I don’t have any keen insight). Logistically, I suspect it’s a long way from coming our way.

But that certainly hasn’t prevented a lot of Georgians from betting on games to their heart’s delight. Someday, I guess they won’t have to go far to do it underneath $15,000 chandeliers while playing $5-a-hand blackjack.

Curious to hear the Dawg Nation’s thoughts on this.