Georgia Legislature.

  • Georgia is getting closer to adding a regulated sports betting industry to its state.
  • Two bills that would bring mobile sportsbooks to the Peach State have passed in the Senate and are slowly receiving House approvals.
  • Should each bill pass, Georgia would have its own sports wagering platforms go live in 2023.

ATLANTA – The Georgia General Assembly adjourns for the 2021 session next week, taking sports betting legislation down to the wire for approvals. Two bills have passed in the Senate but are now slow-moving in the House with the clock about to sound the buzzer for the year in just a few more days.

Senate Bill 142 and Senate Resolution 135 are proposals that would regulate wagering on sporting events in Georgia.

Each proposal was passed on Tuesday in the Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee and they will now go to the House Rule Committee for a vote. These bills go hand in hand as they each do something different for the industry.

What Each Bill Would Do For Georgia Sports Betting

First things first, a regulated Georgia sports betting landscape would be a purely online and mobile sportsbook market with no actual venues to visit and wager on the games. Senate Resolution 135 would put sports gaming on the 2022 November ballots for residents to decide if they’d like to see sports wagering in Georgia. If the majority vote in favor of it, then the state’s constitution would be amended to read as such and a market could launch in 2023.

Through GA SR 135, operators would give 20% of the GGR to the state. With that 20% profit, 61% of it would be put toward education scholarship programs, with 12.5% set aside to expand broadband services in the more rural areas of Georgia, and another 12.5% to fund mental health initiatives. The remaining money will go directly to the state for various uses like the needs of lower-income neighborhoods.

Due to the fact that these numbers are explicitly placed in the proposal, if Georgians amended the constitution, there would be no changes allowed once that happened as to how much and where the revenue from internet and mobile sportsbooks would go.

Proponents argue that every year, at least 2.3 million residents in the Peach State wager on sports, making this a big business opportunity and a great new source of revenue.

“We’re not creating something new,” said (R-Savannah) Ron Stephens, sponsor of the bill and the House committee’s chairman, on Tuesday. “If we make it legal, we’ll get revenue out of it.”

Senate Bill 142 sets up the structure for the sports betting industry in Georgia. Under this proposal, the Georgia Lottery Corporation is named as the regulator of the market. A minimum of six sports betting platforms would receive licensure for a $10,000 application fee and a $100,000 yearly license renewal payment.

The revenue tax and the breakdown of where it would go are the same as that of GA SR 135 because as previously stated, that cannot be changed due to it being a constitutional amendment.

While all professional wagers are allowed, Tuesday’s meeting led to collegiate sports being prohibited from bets. This received some opposition with the argument that college sports betting will still take place by fans that want to gamble on the games, they’ll just continue to do it elsewhere which leaves Georgia with no financial benefit. Nonetheless, it was taken out of the bill as well as any hope of sports wagering kiosks being seen at venues statewide.

What’s Next?

With only a week left in the session, the Georgia General Assembly will need to move much faster to get these measures approved. The House Rules Committee could call for hearings on Thursday to decide where these bills will end up.

In all likelihood, a favorable outcome looks to be what’s coming next for an online regulated sports betting market in Georgia come 2023.

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