Georgia Senators File Bill To Legalize Sports Betting
A group of Georgia senators introduced a sports betting bill on Tuesday, potentially paving the way for the legalization of sports betting in the state in 2023.
The bill would not require a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in the state, which could speed up the legalization process since it would not have to go through voters. It could also lead to pushback from lawmakers who believe a constitutional amendment is needed to legalize any form of betting in Georgia.
The history of the constitution and regulation of gambling in Georgia strongly supports the position that the default rule in the state is a total ban on betting with non-profit bingo and the state lottery being the exception. Lawmakers are playing on shaky ground. #gapol https://t.co/8gzHNJDTeX
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) February 1, 2023
The bill, SB 57, seeks to create the “Georgia Sports Betting Commission”, which would regulate sports betting. The bill has not yet been sent to a specific committee, but Georgia’s legislative session lasts until the end of March and bills shared in 2023 can be postponed until 2024.
Tennessee, Georgia’s neighbor to the north, is the only state directly adjacent to Georgia with legal mobile sports betting. Tennessee has over 10 active mobile sportsbooks in the state, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET.
These major carriers may soon be available in Georgia, as the bill would allow up to 18 mobile licenses. Nine of those licenses would be awarded to professional sports teams, as well as the PGA and NASCAR, while the other nine licenses would be awarded through a competitive bidding process. Each licensee would be entitled to a skin.
Licenses for mobile sports betting would cost $100,000, with an annual renewal fee of $1 million. The bill also permits retail sports betting kiosks, and a retail sports betting distributor licensee would pay an application fee of $10,000 and an annual renewal fee of $100,000.
The law taxes adjusted sports betting revenue at 20%.
Under the bill, Georgian bettors would be able to bet on professional sports, college sports and many other events, including esports. Bets on varsity teams in the state would be allowed, which makes sense because the state’s interest in the University of Georgia football program is huge. The Bulldogs have won the last two national championships.
Probability of passage
By avoiding a constitutional amendment, there is a reasonable chance that the bill will pass in 2023. There has also been increased pressure this year from major stakeholders trying to legalize sports betting, a good sign. for supporters of sports betting.
The Georgian Constitution does not preclude the legislative authorization of sports betting. It prohibits only 3 categories of games of chance – casino games, mutual bets and private lotteries (with an exception for the public lottery). pic.twitter.com/7n4DfH6N6b
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) February 1, 2023
Burt Jones, the state’s new lieutenant governor, is a strong supporter of sports betting. Even Governor Brian Kemp is apparently more willing to legalize sports betting in 2023 than in previous years.
Proponents argue that the additional tax revenue for the state is worth legalizing sports betting, especially given the existence of offshore operators accepting illegal bets from Georgians. Expect pushback from some lawmakers who oppose gambling on moral grounds, however.