March 6, 2021 Sports Betting, Casino, Online

Georgia Senate approves online sports betting legislation

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The Georgia Senate voted overwhelmingly Friday in support of an amendment to legalize online sports betting, setting up a vote in the House of Representatives.

The Senate voted 41-10 in favor of Senate Resolution 135, which would amend the state constitution to provide for sports betting. The chamber also voted 37-13 in support of Senate Bill 142, which would divide sports betting revenue into funds for low-income college students, expanded high-speed internet access and rural health care.

The Senate legislation permits the Georgia Lottery to oversee regulation and licensing of sports betting in the country’s eighth most populous state. The bills call for a minimum of six licenses, but at present there is no cap on the number of licenses the Lottery could award.

Sportsbooks would pay a one-time $100,000 application fee and $100,000 in annual licensing fees. Sports betting revenue would receive a 16% tax.

The Georgia House would also need to approve both bills for Georgians to vote on an online sports betting amendment next fall. Leaders of the Peach State’s lower chamber Republican and Democratic parties will need to coalesce support of the legislation in order for it pass.

Last week a sports betting bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron Stephens was pulled off the floor right before a scheduled vote after Democrats threatened to block support over the GOP’s efforts to pass separate voting rights legislation.

With House Republicans offering mixed support for sports betting efforts, the chamber would need at least some Democrats to vote in favor.

According to Fox5 Atlanta, Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis said he expects a House-Senate conference committee to map out a path forward for the looming House vote. The senator noted the vote would require bipartisan support.  

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