Sports betting bill proposed in Georgia

Viktor Vangelov | Published 22 Jun 2020, 12:29 p.m.

Multiple US states have legalised sports betting, and there are many more where the legalisation is currently underway. In some states that process is already underway, whereas elsewhere there is an initiative, but things are progressing slowly.

Just in the past couple of weeks there were initiatives in few states, such as California and Louisiana and we’ve reported on them. In California, the mobile betting bill is uncertain, as the hearing is postponed. In Louisiana, the situation is quite the opposite. The state Governor signed the sports betting bill. The citizens of Louisiana will have a chance to vote on the decision in November.

It is likely that people in Louisiana, if they approve the decision, will have a chance to place their first wagers in 2021. This time we bring you news regarding Georgia, and Georgia might be the next state to legalise sports betting.

Previous attempts have failed

There were previous attempts to legalise sports betting in Georgia, and this actually is a renewed attempt. The bill was approved last Friday by the Judiciary Committee of the State Senate. Sports betting will be controlled by the Georgia Lottery. The state has a plan regarding tax revenue and what would be the benefit of legalising sports betting. One of the beneficiaries will be the state’s HOPE scholarship, as it has been reported.

There are no commercial casinos in Georgia. This will allow the market to be freer, as opposed to other states where there are commercial casinos. A few previous bills failed to pass through the Senate and the state legislative bodies, and one of the last examples of bills that have failed is the Bill 403 which was in front of the Senate in March this year.

There were certain concerns and many lawmakers were reluctant to support it, but now it is seen as a viable way to fill the state coffers.

Senator Burt Jones is the person behind the proposed bill. Last autumn, the state lawmakers did research on casino gaming. In addition to casino gaming, sports betting and horse racing were considered as the options that could be legalised in order to generate revenue and provide additional funds for the state.  

Atalanta sports clubs support a betting bill

It is important to note that all professional teams that are based in Georgia are supportive of legalising sports betting. The Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United, the Falcons and the Braves were all in favour. The teams supported the sports betting legalisation effort in March, and it seems that they will be in favour of the new effort as well.

Steve Koonin, the CEO of Atlanta Hawks gave his support. He added that the relationship of the teams with the fans is crucial and that legalising sports betting will have a positive impact on that relationship.

We mentioned that the HOPE programme will be one of the beneficiaries. The scholarship is a merit-based programme and it will be available to state residents which have demonstrated academic achievement.

One of the issues is whether the state constitution permits this, or it will have to be amended. Some proponents of sports betting legalisation have already expressed their opinion that there’ll be no need for constitutional amends.