Georgia Voters Could Decide Fate of Sports Betting

Potential piece of legislation that supports casino gaming and sports betting could bring in $900 million annually to Georgia.

Dec 8, 2023 • 15:12 ET • 4 min read
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One of America’s most sports-crazed states is continuing to consider legal sports betting.  

Georgia, a U.S. jurisdiction that has yet to authorize sports betting, could have its fate decided by voters as gaming legislation plans to be reconsidered by lawmakers during the state’s next legislation session, according to the Washington Examiner. The session, which starts next month, could see a new piece of sports betting legislation introduced that allows Georgians to vote on a constitutional amendment.

The amendment would authorize sports betting, pari-mutuel wagering, and casino gaming.

The potential piece of legislation that supports casino gaming and sports betting could bring in $900 million annually to Georgia, according to Sen. Brandon Beach ­— who plans to introduce the bill. According to the legislation, the proceeds would be allocated toward infrastructure projects, HBCUs, and a mental healthcare fund. There is also potential for the bill to include funding that will help state lawmakers vie for major sporting events, including the Super Bowl.

"I’m all for sports betting, but I will tell you from an economic development [and] job creation standpoint, sports betting is done through this," said Beach during a committee hearing. "From a job creation standpoint, if we would have three destination resort casinos and one pari-mutuel track or maybe two, we would create a lot of jobs."

Georgia could bolster jobs and its economy with increased nighttime activity in Atlanta and throughout the state via casino and sports betting facilities.

Previous attempts

Georgia and its lawmakers are no strangers to legislation that supports sports betting.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers read House Bill 237 — a piece of legislation that proposed to authorize up to 16 online sportsbooks with wagering regulated by the Georgia Lottery. The bill required sportsbooks to pay a $100,000 application fee and an annual licensing fee of either $750,000 or $1 million based on the operator. H.B. 237 also proposed a 22% tax on sports betting revenue. Proceeds from the tax revenue were to be allocated toward education.

Despite the promising framework of H.B. 237, the bill failed to pass in the Georgia House and Senate after not being heard. Georgians interested in Georgia sports betting hope that Beach’s upcoming bill can be the change.

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