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Georgia Struggles to Legalize Sports Betting

Georgia Struggles to Legalize Sports Betting
Mike Noblin
Written by Mike Noblin
March 9, 2023

21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

Georgia's attempt to legalize sports betting has failed once again, as three bills related to the issue failed to pass in the state legislature. Senate Resolution 140 and SB 142, which would have asked Georgians to amend the state constitution in order to legalize sports betting and create a gaming commission, failed to receive two-thirds of the votes needed for them to pass a chamber.

Potential for Sports Betting Revolution in Georgia Left Unfulfilled

These bills held the potential to revolutionize the way Georgians placed bets on their favorite teams and athletes, with strong oversight provided by the Georgia Lottery. However, despite their best efforts, lawmakers could not reach a consensus before the legislative deadline, leaving residents disappointed and uncertain about what lies ahead for sports betting in Georgia.

SB 57, also known as the Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act, would have allowed for professional and college sports betting, with oversight by the Georgia Lottery. The bill aimed to ensure the integrity of sports betting in Georgia while providing a safe and regulated environment for residents to place their bets.

SB 142, on the other hand, focused on legalizing mobile sports betting through the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Integrity Act. The bill sought to exempt wagers placed as part of sports betting from certain taxes and provide penalties for violations related to sports wagering.

A third bill legalizing sports betting, HB 380, sponsored by Watkinsville Republican state Rep. Marcus Wiedower, did not come up for a vote in the House, despite backing by professional sports teams in Georgia, including the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and United.

If passed, HB 380 would have allowed licensed operators to offer online sports betting platforms accessible through mobile devices. It would have also established a regulatory framework for licensing and taxation of sports betting operators in Georgia. The bill aimed to allow mobile sports betting without a statewide vote and generate at least $100 million in revenue annually.

Georgia's Sports Betting Debate: Supporters Push for Revenue, Regulation

The debate over legalizing sports betting in Georgia has been ongoing, with multiple efforts and pieces of legislation failing to pass. Supporters argue that it would generate significant revenue for the state and provide a safe and regulated environment for sports betting.

However, not everyone is on board with this idea. Some opponents argue that sports betting should remain illegal due to moral reasons.

They believe that allowing gambling would encourage people to take chances with money they don't have or can't afford to lose, which could lead to serious financial problems. Additionally, some worry that legalizing gambling would introduce organized crime into the state and further erode our moral values.

The Long Road to Legalize Sports Betting in Georgia

The push to legalize sports betting in the Peach State has been a tough process. Some bills have gained traction at times, only to be shot down. Here's a quick look at some of the bills that haven't passed:

  • March 2019: House Bill 546 is introduced to legalize sports betting but fails to advance.
  • January 2020: House Bill 903 is introduced but does not pass.
  • January 2021: House Bill 86 and Senate Bill 142 are introduced but fail to pass.
  • November 2021: The Georgia House of Representatives Study Committee on Sports Betting releases a report recommending legalization.
  • February 2022: House Bill 841 is introduced but fails to pass.
  • March 2023: House Bill 1305 fails to pass. Despite multiple attempts, Georgia has yet to legalize sports betting.

Other States Making Progress Gives Hope for Future Legislative Sessions

Despite the recent setback in Georgia's efforts to legalize sports betting, there is good news for sports betting enthusiasts across America. With over two dozen states having already legalized sports betting, more states are expected to follow suit soon.

In fact, some states have already taken significant steps toward expanding their online sports betting markets. For instance, New York recently announced plans to allow more operators into the state, while Ohio recently experienced a successful launch back in January of this year.

While it may be disappointing news for those hoping for legalized sports betting in Georgia this year, there is still hope for future legislative sessions. The support from professional teams shows that there is interest in bringing legal sports betting to the state. With more states legalizing it every year, it may only be a matter of time before Georgia joins them.

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21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

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