Georgia lawmakers are once again attempting to regulate sports betting with a new bill. SB 57 would see online sportsbooks in Georgia without the need for a constitutional amendment. Up to 18 mobile betting licenses would be allowed and the measure would establish the “Georgia Sports Betting Commission.” Could this finally lead to mobile sports betting apps going live in the Peach State?
Georgia Sports Betting Push In 2023
With the bill not requiring a constitutional amendment, it would speed up the process for a potential launch. Georgia residents would not need to vote for the market and the measure would only need to pass in the House and State Senate.
Of the 18 mobile licenses available, nine would be allocated to local pro teams across major leagues. The remaining nine licenses would be offered as untethered licenses that would require applicants to compete for market access.
Georgia residents would have access to odds statewide, similar to the neighboring market in Tennessee. Online sportsbooks in Georgia would only be accessible within the state’s jurisdiction with geo-location technology ensuring this.
The bill outlines a $100,000 licensing fee for online operators alongside an annual $1 million renewal requirement. Retail sportsbooks are also allowed in the form of betting kiosks across Georgia. These operations would see a $10,000 license fee and a $100,000 renewal fee.
The newly established commission would oversee and regulate all sports betting operations. This includes license reviewing and awarding as well as establishing the rules surrounding the market.
Will It Pass?
This is far from the first time Georgia has attempted to establish a betting market. However, all past efforts were unsuccessful. Pushing to avoid a statewide vote increases the potential for sports betting to be legalized in 2023, but it also runs the risk of pushback in the legislative chambers.
Many lawmakers may be opposed, believing that gambling changes must require a constitutional amendment and residential vote. In Florida, this was a key catalyst in the launch and subsequent closing of the Florida market.
There has been a growing interest in bringing betting to Georgians in recent years, however. 2022 specifically saw several sports betting bills filed during the legislative session. A similar trend may occur in 2023.
SB 57 may not be the only sports betting legislation presented before the session ends in March.