No Sports Betting In Georgia This Year
This time last week, there was a slough of sports betting bills in the Georgia legislature readying to be discussed. The road ended Monday night, when the Georgia Senate failed to pass the bills and the House failed to do anything at all.
The trend continued Monday when SR140, which would have amended the constitution, did not get two-thirds of the members in each chamber (38 votes in the Senate). Despite having over half in favor, the bill failed on a 30-26 vote. Whether or not to pass a bill with or without a constitutional amendment was a point of contention throughout the entire process.
“I don’t get why it’s wrong to let the people vote on this issue. We’re not all petty dictators up here,” said Sen. Bill Cowsert, the sponsor of SR140.
A third measure, HB380, would have legalized wagering on sports, placing heavy emphasis on funding education with the tax revenue. This bill had the support of the professional sports teams in Georgia. Unfortunately on Monday, House Speaker Jon Burns never called it to the floor for debate.
“The folks that advocated for the sports betting bill worked very diligently,” Burns said. “They worked very hard to inform the members. We just didn’t quite get to the spot where we could get it across the finish line this year.”
What’s Next For Georgia Sports Betting?
Despite the optimism entering 2023, the chance of sports betting in Georgia before the turn of the new year is likely gone. So what does this mean for the future of sports betting in Georgia?
“I think it shows that the Georgia legislature is not ready for sports betting this year,” said Cowsert. “One had a constitutional amendment. One did not. Neither had adequate votes to pass.”
As they have for the last several years, lawmakers will likely look to legalize again in 2024. That being said, none of the efforts have succeeded since voters approved the state lottery in 1992.
The good news is the Gov. Brian Kemp has warmed up to the idea of passing sports betting in Georgia, something that previously, he adamantly opposed.