Georgia sports betting is a hot topic in the Georgia State Legislature. There are currently three separate fronts that the House and/or Senate are using in an attempt to get sports betting legalized. One of the most promising avenues just got a major boost.
The Georgia State Senate voted in a massive landslide to approve a Constitutional Amendment that would allow for sports betting. This amendment would still need House approval, where it may face backlash as the Hosue is attempting other routes to legalize. This amendment would also require a Georgia vote. The amendment would be slated for the 2022 ballot if passed by the House.
The Senate also passed a follow-up bill with clear rules and regulations regarding sports betting in the state.
What Does the Constitutional Amendment do?
The Constitutional Amendment would make sports betting explicitly clear in the State’s constitution. This would make the implementation of legalization much easier.
Interestingly enough, the follow-up bill that had rules and regulations still gives the power of regulatory oversight to the State Lottery. Some sports betting advocates have argued that Georgia does not need to change the Constitution if it gives the power of sports betting to the lottery since the lottery is legal.
Regardless, the bill follows a similar outline to Tennessee. Only online betting would be permitted, and there would be no cap on the number of sportsbooks, but a minimum of six need to be licensed.
The licensing fee would be $100,000 per year with a one-time $10,000 fee to apply. The tax rate would be 16%, much lower than the bill that the House Committee is working on at 20%.
Under the Senate bill, there would be no legalized in-state collegiate gambling. This means that Georgia, Georgia-Tech, Georgia Southern, etc., would not be fair-game for bettors in Georgia.
Outlook in the House
In the House, there are also some bills being worked on. However, it seems the legislatures in this chamber of Congress are not so keen to the idea of sports betting. The bills currently being discussed in the House have a higher tax rate and a higher licensing fee.
One of these bills, House Bill 86, was just recommitted to be further worked on. So, it is not very likely that the House will pass the current bill that the Senate approved. However, there is no real telling if the constitutional amendment will get passed in the Georgia House. Many argue that it is unlikely, but there is a chance that it can get through.
How Early Can Georgia Launch Sports Betting?
If Georgia goes the constitutional route, then sports betting will not launch until 2023. However, there is a slight possibility that an amendment will not be needed to launch sports betting, and if that is the case, then sports betting could launch in 2021 or 2022.
There are many forces backing Georgia sports betting. All of the active professional teams and national sportsbooks are lobbying to get bills through and get sports betting as soon as possible to the Peach State.