The Georgia legislature has adjourned as of April 1st, and sports betting has not been legalized. This means that Georgia’s chance of legalizing sports betting has moved to basically zero percent for 2021. However, there was a lot of positive progress and a lot of promising legislation proposed during the Spring legislative season for Georgia.
The Bills Path
House Bill 86 was sent over to the Georgia State House following the approved legislation in the Senate. Those Senate bills, SR 135 and SB 142, set the table for legal sports betting in Georgia. However, after several re-reads and a failure to get anything really done, the House sent the bill back to the Committee on March 25th, basically sealing the bill’s death.
A large reason for the failure of this bill was the non-existence of support from the Democratic Party in the House after the Republican legislatures attempted to pass a bill to limit voters’ rights. Unfortunately, sports betting was dragged into a political battle that had nothing to do with it.
What Would Have the Bill Done?
The bill, if passed, would have given the Georgia Lottery Corporation the ability to run, regulate, and oversee sports gambling in the state. Since Georgia does not offer any in-person casinos, the betting would have basically been all online. There were six sports betting licenses to be handed out, at the very minimum. Each operator would need to pay $100k each year to operate in the Peach State as well as receive a 20% tax on gross revenue.
A very interesting point to note is that the House rewrote the bill to eliminate collegiate sports betting completely. Most states allow college sports betting but prohibit individual collegiate prop-bets on athletes and any in-state college wagering. The fact that the House did not want to allow for any college betting in an SEC-state is a massive mistake when attempting to gain revenue for the state.
Can Georgia Rebound in 2022?
Sports Betting got closer than it had ever gotten before in 2021 in Georgia. However, the major worry is that the fierce political battle between the two major American parties, the Democrats and Republicans, will find its way into sports betting legislation. This would basically seal the death of sports betting for the foreseeable future as it will need bipartisan support in the Peach State.
There is no doubt that there will be attempts to legalizes beginning in late-2021 and the start of 2022, but unfortunately, it seems sports betting will be at the mercy of other political issues going on in Georgia.
What Other States Have Bills?
There is a ton of legislation currently being discussed throughout the United States. Both Maryland and Louisiana legalized sports betting and are working on the rules that will go in place to go alongside the general legalization. Meanwhile, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts, and Florida are all working on legalizing sports betting or expanding sports betting to go online.