February 2, 2021 Sports Betting, Casino, Legal

Sports betting legislation passes Georgia House committee

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The Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee has approved legislation that would regulate sports betting in the Peach State, an important first step for state lawmakers to eventually vote in full on the bill.

Now the bill travels to the House Rules Committee, which will decide whether it receives a full House vote.

The bill, titled the “Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act” is sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), a member of the same committee that approved the legislation Tuesday.

Under the wording of the bill, the Georgia Lottery Corporation would regulate sports betting in the state and would be allowed to grant a minimum of six sports wagering operator licenses. Sports betting gross income would be taxed at 14%, and operators would pay an application fee of $50,000 along with a $900,000 annual renewal fee.

By giving the state Lottery permission to regulate sports betting, lawmakers and voters would be able to bypass a constitutional amendment to allow the activity.

In its present form, the bill would allow for online and mobile sports wagering but not brick-and-mortar, which follows the lead of neighboring Tennessee.

Rep. Stephens said sports wagering would bring an additional $43m of revenue to the state, according to comments he told Fox 5 Atlanta.

“People are doing it anyway,” he told the news station. “We can't stop it.  They're going to do this offshore and again, it's a lot of the revenue that we're just not receiving. Our professional teams, of course, have engaged this particular bill because they want fan involvement. This is a hook, especially for the younger generation.”

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