Following the 2018 PASPA decision, sports betting has been spreading rapidly throughout the US, with 37 states and DC now offering some form of sports wagering. Georgia is one of the states where lawmakers are still working on passing legislation to legalize sports betting.
Sen. Brandon Beach has been a strong advocate for gambling legalization in Georgia and has spoken about the potential benefits of legal gambling at a Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism meeting. He believes that the state could generate up to $900 million annually in taxes from legal gambling, with the funds benefiting education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.
Sen. Beach plans to introduce legislation that would allow the state’s residents to vote for a constitutional amendment, paving the way for legal sports betting, pari-mutuel wagering, and casino gambling. He has indicated that he will resume efforts for gambling legalization in the new legislative session.
With the start of the legislative session, bills that didn’t pass in the previous session may resurface, giving lawmakers in Georgia another opportunity to push for sports betting legalization. Rep. Ron Stephens, another proponent of gambling legalization, anticipates that sports betting will be back on the table for lawmakers during the new legislative session.
Rep. Stephens emphasized the potential tax revenue from sports betting, particularly for education in Georgia. He discussed the possibility of allowing professional sports teams in the state, such as the Falcons and the Hawks, to offer sports betting, with the additional revenue going directly to education programs like the HOPE and Pre-K.
During the previous legislative session, Rep. Stephens introduced House Bill 237, which proposed the legalization of statewide wagering and the operation of up to 16 online sportsbooks, supervised by the Georgia Lottery. Although the bill did not progress during the last session, Rep. Stephens is expected to continue his efforts to legalize sports betting in Georgia.