Georgia lawmakers have been active in both the State Senate and House of Representatives with sports betting legislation. Lawmakers are actively aiming to launch a regulated market in the Peach State in the near future. Two measures saw committee meetings across both chambers this week, with more meetings planned. This is an active time for the Georgia online sportsbooks effort.
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Lawmakers Discuss Sports Betting Bills In Georgia
In the Senate, SB 57 which would allow for sports betting without a constitutional amendment, passed in the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The next stop for this measure will be the Rules Committee. Following this, the bill would make it to the main Senate floor assuming it passes in committee.
SB 57 would see up to 18 online sportsbooks able to launch in Georgia. The measure would also allow for retail sports betting at select locations. A 20% tax on sportsbooks’ adjusted gross revenue (AGR) would be set.
The House Higher Education Committee reviewed HB 380 and discussed the measure. This bill would also regulate the market with no need for a constitutional amendment. No vote was held for this measure. Lawmakers will likely discuss this measure again before a vote is held.
HB 380 would also tax sportsbooks at 20% and would place a tax on sportsbook promotions. Initially, the measure was only taxing 15% of AGR. The promotions and increased tax alterations were supported by sports betting advocates.
With these measures not requiring a constitutional amendment, sports betting would be able to launch without a residential vote. This would be the quickest method to bring sportsbooks to residents but is also a difficult path to convince other lawmakers to vote in favor. Opponents of sports betting in Georgia also argued the risk of increased problem gambling, a sentiment common for those opposed.
More Bills To Be Discussed
The Senate is also poised to see SB 172 and joint measure SR 140 be discussed this week. These measures would regulate betting through a constitutional amendment and require a statewide vote before passing. The Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee is set to deliberate on the bills.
Georgia lawmakers continue to push towards a potential market. While past efforts have failed to bring sportsbooks to the Peach State, several legislations show a strong desire for a regulated market within the chambers. Could this be the year Georgia passes sports betting?