Senator Jeff Mullis speaks in favor of legal Georgia sports betting.

  • The Georgia sports betting Senate bill SB 142 has been presented by the Georgia Senate panel hearing.
  • The hearing saw senate members debate over passing the potential bill.
  • There is a similar bill in the House of representatives currently awaiting review.

ATLANTA – The Georgia Senate bill for potential legal sports betting has been presented by the Senate hearing for debate. This is an early stage of the potential bill.

Those in favor of the bill presented a case to lawmakers showing the financial benefit of launching legal sports betting in Georgia as well as how much money is being wagered by Georgia citizens that is not being taxed.

There is a similar bill being presented in the House of Representatives at the same time as legislators in the Peach State work to launch legal Georgia sports betting.

Georgia Senate Debates Sports Betting Bill

Senators in Georgia used the Senate hearing in order to better explain their case for launching legal sports betting. One of the primary topics discussed was the amount of money the state was losing by not hosting a regulated market.

“Over 2 million (Georgians) are doing it now,” said Jeff Mullis, Georgia Senator and chief sponsor of the bill142. “Do you know who’s in control of it? The bookies.”

The bill, SB 142 came as a response to the House bill, HB 86 as an attempt to tackle sports betting on both fronts.

The two bills are mostly similar, with slight details in payment methods and state taxes that would need to be ironed out should both pass in their respective legislative chambers. SB 142 would see a 10% tax on all regulated sports betting revenue, as well as a $900,000 yearly licensing fee.

Opposing senators like Senator Lindsey Tippins argue that legal sports betting would divert money away from the Georgia lottery, the only legal gambling operation in the Peach State.

“(Sports betting) does not return the state nearly the amount of money the lottery does,” said Tippins. “I think we need to take that into consideration.”

It is true that the Georgia Lottery is a major source of income for Georgia and it is likely that local senators believe regulated sports betting could alter this. However, those in favor of the bill argue against this notion.

“It doesn’t take away from the lottery,” argued Mullis. “It’s extra money.”

Mullis believes that those who play the lottery wouldn’t necessarily engage in sports betting, which would leave the lottery industry thriving regardless of if there is a legal sports betting market or not.

The Senate bill will still have to go through a few stages before it can launch legal sports betting in Georgia.

Senators will have to vote, and should this pass it would have to be agreed upon with the House. The House’s bill is slightly different, so both the Senate and the House will need to come to an agreement before presenting the final bill to the Governor.

While Georgia sports betting is still a way off, there is much optimism from both the House and the Senate to get a bill passed.

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