Georgia voters could gain the ability to vote on sports betting in 2020.

  • Georgia’s current gaming laws prohibit all forms of gambling outside of lottery operations.
  • A legal opinion issued out by the GA Legislative Services Committee cites that sports betting in GA may have to be approved by voters in order to totally avoid a lawsuit.
  • The next legislative session in GA begins in January of 2020.

ATLANTA – Earlier this week, the Senate Study Committee on Gaming and Pari-mutuel Wagering on Horse Racing and Growing Georgia’s Equine Industry held a hearing on the topic of GA sports betting.

The committee, which was formed in April, heard testimonies from various stakeholders in the sports betting industry including Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, the PGA TOUR, and the MLB.

Each stakeholder gave different input into what should be included in a possible sports betting bill next year. Sports betting competitors FanDuel and DraftKings gave a joint statement arguing that any bill to come out of the Georgia Legislature must include provisions for mobile sports betting apps, a competitive marketplace, and a variety of products such as in-game wagering.

“People are no longer content to simply pick winners and losers or guess how many total points will be scored by the of the game – they want variety and excitement, including in-game betting options,” they wrote.

“Having a variety of sportsbooks that offer innovative and unique products is the best way to ensure that Georgia consumers choose to engage with the legal sports betting market.”

However, legalizing sports betting in Georgia would be no small task. The committee will conduct more hearings to analyze possible regulatory models for gambling in GA up until December 1. After that, the committee will report its findings, possibly make legislative suggestions, and then disband.

What Are The Odds For Legal GA Sports Betting Next Year?

The next legislative session for Georgia will begin in January of 2020. Although, whether or not a sports betting bill could be signed into law without voter approval is up for question.

The current gambling laws in Georgia prohibit almost forms of gambling. Casinos, racetracks, and sports betting are all off-limits for GA residents.

A legal opinion issued by the GA Legislative Services Committee pointed out that an argument can be made either way.

“Owing to the wording of the Georgia Constitution, reasonable arguments could be made on both sides of the question, and the ultimate success of an attempt to legalize sports betting without a constitutional amendment could come down to a roll of the dice,” wrote D. Stuart Morelli, deputy legislative counsel.

Legalizing sports betting in an unlawful way could land the state government with a lawsuit. A similar situation occurred in Rhode Island earlier this year.

It’s because of these factors that Georgia legislators may want to take the safe route next year and shape any sports betting legislation to be put on the 2020 November ballot. However, for a state that has long abstained from gambling, there is a chance that no bills are introduced at all.

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