- Georgia legislators introduced multiple sports betting bills last session but none were given much attention.
- As the SEC Championship features an in-state team, bettors are unable to place legal wagers at local sportsbooks.
- This lack of sports betting options leaves the state missing out on millions of dollars worth of sports betting tax revenue.
ATLANTA – The state of Georgia is one of the majority of states that proposed a notion to legalize sports betting in their 2019 legislative session. While the bill never even made it to a vote in the House, the state may now be kicking themselves for their uninterested efforts.
On Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs will face off against the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship game in none other than Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
While this venue was preapproved as the SEC Championship location before knowing the participants, the fact remains that there are plenty of local residents who would be flooding Georgia sportsbooks had they been legal and operational at this time.
Last week, Ed Clark – the president of Atlanta Motor Speedway – became yet another figurehead of professional sports in Georgia to lobby the support of sports betting legalization.
“I think it’d be a great way to generate revenue for our state. And it wouldn’t change anything anyway,” said Clark.
“Sports betting is something that’s already here. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t know someone who is going to bet on a college football game this weekend, or a professional football game or a NASCAR race, or something of that nature. The state should be generating their share of the revenues from that.”
Clark has now publicly lauded his support of Georgia lawmakers approving sports betting regulations, as have spokespeople for the Falcons, Hawks, Braves, and United.
However, Clark has even taken it one step further and proposed the idea of improving the speedway with a buildout of a billion-dollar casino resort.
“The conversation right now is combining horse racing (the equestrian industry), sports betting and casino gaming all into one bill,” said Clark.
In order for this to happen, not only would legislators have to approve a measure, but the state’s voters would also have to approve the idea as well.
For the constitution to be changed in order for this bill to pass, it would require a two-thirds vote from both sides of the legislative statehouse in addition to a majority of the voters during an even-numbered year’s election.
With the 2020 ballot almost a full year away, it is safe to say that Georgia may have missed out on plenty of tax revenues by not taking their gambling expansion bill seriously. Like the Bulldogs this weekend, sports betting in Georgia seems to be in the underdog state of mind.
Michael began writing as an NBA content writer and has spent time scouting college basketball for Florida State University under Leonard Hamilton and the University of Alabama under Anthony Grant. A graduate of both schools, he covers topics focused on legal sports betting, betting odds, and casino reviews. Michael likes to golf, play basketball, hike, and kayak when not glued to the TV watching NBA games.