Georgia has long resisted legalizing gambling, but the lure of job creation and tax generation may soon yield to change.
With several states garnering revenue from gaming operations, the Peach State’s legislature is set to consider several bills during its next session, which will commence 11 January. Under consideration will be legislation to allow sports wagering, horse racing and even casinos.
State Rep. Ron Stephens has tried several times to get the legislature to do its part to approve gambling. According to a report in the Savannah Morning News, Stephens has sponsored bills in each of the last three legislative sessions.
If the momentum does carry gambling bills to victory in the state legislature, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp would have to sign the legislation, and then a referendum to enact an amendment to the state’s constitution would have to pass.
Despite some push back from some representatives, gambling appears to have support from both parties in Georgia, especially sports wagering. Local media reports say Stephens will attempt to have the Georgia Lottery oversee sports betting, thereby circumventing the need for a constitutional amendment.
Georgia legislators estimate sports betting could result in tax collections of $30m to $50m each year. Horse racing and casinos could bring in even more, based on the examples of other states that have legalized gambling.