A bill for legal sports betting in Georgia was filed on Thursday.

  • Mobile and internet sports betting could become legal in Georgia under newly filed bill GA SB 403.
  • Over $1 billion is bet on sporting events in Georgia annually through sources not made legal by the states.
  • The legislative session ends in a little over a month so quick action is needed if GA SB 403 should come to fruition.

ATLANTA – State Senate member Burt Jones (R-Jackson) filed bill GA SB 403 on Thursday to legalize mobile and internet sports betting in Georgia.

GA SB 403 would use the Georgia Lottery to regulate the online gaming platform making any amendments to the Constitution on gambling unnecessary. Jones has drawn up a detailed plan for the legalization of sports betting in Georgia through his bill.

The Details Of GA SB 403

The main goal of bill GA SB 403 is to make gambling on sporting events a legal activity in the Peach State. Those that wish to place bets on games must be 21 years old and within Georgia state lines to access the internet and mobile sportsbooks.

The proposed tax rate on revenue is high, being set at 20% for all operators. With those profits, the state would earmark three-quarters of that to fund the HOPE scholarship. The remaining quarter of potential tax revenue received would go toward addiction programs and be given to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Both professional and collegiate sports matchups would be legal to bet on. Jones has said that at least $1.5 billion has been wagered on sports in Georgia through the black market.

Offering a regulated way for the residents of the state to place bets on their favorite teams would not only make it safer for the bettors but would give something back to Georgia with the profits made from a legally regulated market.

What Georgians Are Saying

Residents of the Peach State are also behind legalizing sports betting. A poll published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that 57% of the population would vote to make gambling on sports legal. That means the majority of Georgians want to see a bill such as GA SB 403 pass.

The biggest pro teams in the state are in favor of legalizing sports betting. Earlier this month, executives from the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Atlanta Braves all came together for an Atlanta Press Club luncheon. Each of the members representing the organizations backed the idea of gambling on sports legally.

“Sports betting is happening today illegally, and the state of Georgia is receiving no tax dollars for it,” said Derek Schiller of the Atlanta Braves. “It’s really found money that’s not happening today.”

However, there is also opposition regarding making sports betting a legal pastime in the Peach State. Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition lobbyist Virginia Galloway is against legalization. She spoke of her frustration at the professional leagues for being behind any bill that favors making gambling on sports legal.

“Haven’t the Braves and Falcons disappointed Georgians enough already?” said Galloway. “Now they’re pushing for a casino in every pocket so more Georgians can get fleeced on their cellphones by gambling interests.”

The Takeaway

Georgia could stand to benefit from legal sports betting. Millions of dollars in annual revenue could be made if GA SB 403 becomes a law. Not needing to amend the Constitution to make the activity legal is certainly a plus seen by lawmakers.

The legislative session concludes on March 27. With a little over a month left, the bill needs to move quickly if sports bettors in Georgia want to see the hobby legalized in 2020.

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