Bill moves to Senate as Georgia votes 8-4 in favor of sports betting

January 10, 2024
By
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The bill will be sent to the full Senate for further debate.

Sports teams, lawmakers and business leaders have been pushing for legalized sports betting in Georgia, despite senators in the state rejecting legalization efforts last year.  

In this latest development, The Senate Regulated Industries voted 8-4 to advance the Senate Bill 172. This bill, were it to be passed, would allow sports betting to be legalized, regulated and taxed in the state. The bill will now be sent to the full Senate for further debate. 

For the state constitutional amendment to take place, the bill will need two-thirds of the votes from the House and Senate. From this, the vote will go to the Georgian public in a statewide referendum. 

It has been argued by lawmakers that the initial constitutional amendment, which saw a lottery enter the state in 1992, should be amended because, 30 years ago, sports bets could only be placed in person at casinos in Nevada.

However, alternative arguments have been made suggesting that sports betting could be overseen by the state lottery, thus sidestepping the need for a constitutional amendment. 

Currently, the only forms of gambling available to citizens in Georgia are the lottery and charity bingo, with sports betting and land-based casino gambling being unregulated and non-legal.  

It has not just been state lawmakers pushing for gambling amendments in the Peach State. In October, members of the Entain Foundation met with legislators in Georgia to discuss the state of gambling in Georgia and the potential of amended gambling bills.  

On the matter, Athens Republican Bill Cowsert said, “I don’t see anything to fear from a constitutional amendment. I think if you make a policy change like this, you ought to have the buy-in of both parties and the citizens on board to do that, so I embrace that.” 

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