Public hearings about legal sports betting is going to happen in Georgia which could push state lawmakers towards legalization.

  • Legalizing gambling in the state would require a majority vote by the public as well as two-thirds of both the State Senate and General Assembly in favor of the idea.
  • Any revenue that would be gained from gambling would help fund the state’s education system.
  • Both North Carolina and Tennessee have made sports betting legal, potentially taking away business from the sports bettors of Georgia.

ATLANTA – Officials will be having a public hearing hosted by the House of Representatives Special Committee on Economic Growth on Thursday to discuss not only legal sports betting in Georgia but also all forms of gambling.

The hearing will be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and all three chairmen of the committee will be there to discuss and field any questions the public may have regarding the matter.

Georgia’s Future Legalization Discussion

The Atlanta Motor Speedway has recently proposed a $1 billion development of their property to expand into a casino as well as a hotel, condominiums and water park. The president of the Speedway, Ed Clark, says the expansion would only help Georgia’s economic status and create multiple openings for employment.

“The conversation right now is combining horse racing (the equestrian industry), sports betting and casino gaming all into one bill,” said Clark. “I think it’d be a great way to generate revenue for our state. And it wouldn’t change anything anyway.”

While Governor Brian Kemp is not sold on the idea of legalizing gambling in all of its forms, he has set a $27.5 billion state budget for the year. Much of this budget would be going toward the state education system, however, current revenues from recorded taxes collected show numbers in a slow decline causing a deficit in the budget.

Legalized gambling could make ends meet to make the budget feasible.

Other Factors That Affect Legalization

Gambling on sports is happening among residents of the Peach State whether legislators have decided to make it legal or not. That equates to money lost which could be positively impacting the economy rather than hurting it by not allowing it the hobby to take place.

Neighboring states could soon be receiving business from the sports bettors in Georgia because they have legalized sports betting in one form or another.

The four professional sports organizations in the state, the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Atlanta Braves are all in favor of legalized sports betting in GA. But they have all said that they are not in favor of collegiate sports wagering becoming legal.

Once the public hearing has been done, legislators will have an idea of how to proceed based on public opinion. Georgia is a big sports state that could profit immensely from legalizing the wagering on sporting events and other forms of gambling.

Representative Ron Stephens presented GA HB 570 last year and will be attending the hearing.

Under his bill, both collegiate and professional sports would be legal to bet on. The tax rate is set at 10% in an attempt to cover the budget cuts of the Governor which equals 4% for 2020 and 6% in 2021.

It is the hope that this will make the idea of making the pastime legal in the Peach State more appealing to the lawmakers that may end up giving the decision to local residents by the end of the legislative session.

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