Georgia: Online Sports Betting Could Happen Really Soon

Georgia: Online Sports Betting Could Happen Really Soon

Georgia sports betting

Another Georgia politician tells PlayUSA that the Georgia House will enact legislation legalizing sports betting in two weeks.

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Rep. Ron Stephens, who has championed sports betting attempts in the Georgia legislature for a number of years, is hopeful that the Georgia House will pass betting legislation for the first time in the near future.

Last week saw the first step taken toward the passage of Bill 380, which Stephens co-sponsors. The House Higher Education Committee heard the proposal. Rep. Marcus Wiedower, the principal proponent of the bill, concurred with Stephens regarding its potential.

The House Higher Education Committee looked at a new draft of the Georgia Lottery and Sports Betting Act. Wiedower clarified that the latest version of Bill 380 eliminates the retail component.

Similar to neighboring Tennessee, Georgia would only allow online sports betting.

It would let the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Augusta National, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United, PGA Tour, NASCAR, Atlanta Dream, and Georgia Lottery Corporation get sixteen licenses to let people bet on sports online.

Wiedower also alluded to the possibility of eliminating tax deductions for promotional credits. The proposed tax rate is 15%. Tuesday will continue Higher Education’s consideration of HB 380.

The legislative crossover deadline in Georgia is on March 6. Wiedower stated to PlayUSA that he anticipated the House passing the bill next week.

The next day, a Senate committee talked about a bill that would need a change to the Constitution. SB 172 and SR 140 were discussed in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

Senator Bill Cowsert, chairman of the committee, introduced both bills. Cowsert reaffirmed his view that a constitutional amendment is necessary to legalize sports betting in Georgia.

Georgia Sports Betting Faces Constitutional Conflict

In 2021, the Georgia Senate passed a bill to make sports betting legal and a resolution asking the people to change the constitution. But, they were never put to a vote on the House floor.

The Georgia House of Representatives appeared to be on the verge of passing legislation. A Senate rift over the necessity of a constitutional amendment could yet jeopardize Georgia’s efforts to legalize sports wagering. SB 57, an earlier Senate sports betting bill, did not require a constitutional change. Yet, several co-sponsors of SB 57 signed on to Cowsert’s SR 140.

The Georgia constitution forbids casinos, parimutuel wagering, and privately managed lotteries. Hence, members of the House feel that sports betting performed through the lottery is not illegal.

A two-thirds majority in each chamber is required for legislation to change the Constitution, and voters must approve it at the following general election.

Even though both houses of the Georgia legislature want to legalize sports betting, it is unclear if they will be able to agree on how to regulate it this year. Through March 30, the Georgia legislative session is in session.

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About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.