Georgia Legislature

  • The passing of either SB57 or HB380 would allow the legalization of sports betting in Georgia.
  • Tax revenue is lower under the House bill, with a 15% rate on online sports betting revenue.
  • Large Georgian business groups and professional sports teams are in support of the House bill.

ATLANTA – The Georgia State lawmakers are pushing multiple bills that would allow for legal sports betting without the amendment of the state constitution. Rather, sports betting and gambling can become legal under licensing by the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

Senate Bill 57 was introduced by 11 Georgia Senators to legalize online and retail sports betting without having to go through a majority state vote.

In addition to being able to be passed solely through legislative action, the bill doesn’t require a change to the Georgia state constitution.

This was a key issue with sports betting and gambling bills that have failed in the past.

The idea for SB57 is that it would be regulated by the Georgia Lottery and therefore wouldn’t require an amendment.

If the bill goes through, there will be 18 online sports betting licenses distributed called Type 1 licenses.

Those with a Type 1 license will pay a nonrefundable application fee of $100,000 and an annual licensing fee of $1 million dollars. Half of these licenses will be distributed to professional Georgia Sports teams, the PGA TOUR, and NASCAR. Meaning the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Augusta National, and Atlanta Motor Speedway will be legally able to offer sports betting if they receive Type 1 licenses.

Type 2 licenses refer to retail sports betting licenses, which will allow for sports betting kiosks in businesses with a liquor license or lottery establishments.

These licenses are much cheaper due to smaller entities possessing them, costing $10,000 to acquire a license and $100,000 annually.

Senate Bill 57 proposes an opportunity for Georgia sportsbooks to legally host both professional and college sports betting without requiring voter approval.

What about House Bill 380?

House Bill 380 is similar to Senate Bill 57 in the way that it would legalize sports betting if passed.

HB380 only legalizes sports betting, while SB57 explicitly includes horse racing as a part of sports gambling that isn’t included in the House bill.

It would be easier to pass the House bill based on the amount of animal rights activists opposed mostly to the horse-racing aspect of the Senate bill.

Many legislative figures believe that both bills can be legally passed without interfering with the Georgia state constitution.

According to former state Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton, he states “…the original public meanings of applicable terms and the historical context of those terms, it is my opinion that sports betting can be legalized as a state-run lottery for educational purposes solely through legislative action.”

Melton made this statement for Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, a large business group making up the nation’s eighth largest market.

This business group is in support of the House bill alongside professional Georgia sports teams. The bills would require a majority bipartisan vote and approval from Republican Governor Brian Kemp to go into effect.

With support from Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and professional sports teams, the house bill has the best chance to make legal sports betting in Georgia a reality.

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