Why Sports Betting Legislation Failed To Pass In Key Markets

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Georgia Sports Betting Bills

With the Masters ongoing at Augusta National in Georgia, sportsbooks will see a lot of wagers placed on the top-ranked golfers in the world. Unfortunately, Georgia residents will yet again be unable to wager on the event despite it being held in the state. Georgia sports betting legislation failed to pass again in 2024, setting back the potential market another two years at least.

Why is it so difficult for markets like Georgia to pass sports betting? Georgia, alongside California and Texas, is a major sports state with multiple professional and collegiate teams. Despite this, no regulated sports betting is available in these markets. Let’s examine why.

Why Georgia’s Sports Betting Bill Failed In 2024

The measure, SB 386, would have placed the sports betting issue on the November ballot. While the measure passed in the Senate, once the bill reached the House, advancement slowed down. The bill eventually stalled in the House Rules Committee and died without even a vote.

Georgia sports gambling legislation constantly fails to advance during the yearly legislative session. One of the reasons behind the lack of support could be the push for a constitutional amendment. In order for a bill to pass for a constitutional amendment, a two-thirds majority is required. The steeper requirements for passing have seen the measure fail in the past.

This could also be why the bill didn’t make it out of the House committee in 2024. If lawmakers do not feel the bill has a legitimate chance, they will not spend time voting on the measure.

Why California Sports Betting Bills Fail

California sports betting legislation did not pass either. Lawmakers attempted to push legislation at the tail end of 2023 but saw major backlash from local tribes. California sportsbooks made it all the way to the November ballot in 2022 and was voted against by residents. This result was not shocking due to the millions spent on opposing campaigns run by local tribes.

Sports betting legislation in California will not pass without the local tribes being on board. Prominent betting operators have now declared they will aim to work closer with tribes before attempting to launch again. Amy Howe, CEO of FanDuel, met with the Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). Howe declared a commitment to work with the tribes in a session dubbed “Tribal Sovereignty in the New Frontier of Sports Wagering.”

“We believe it’s the inherent authority for the tribes to be able to govern themselves. What does that mean? That means the ability to govern what they have preserved and built over generations. The cultures, the traditions and, perhaps most importantly in the context of this conversation, to protect and prepare their people for the next generation. As we think about tribal sovereignty and protecting the economic future of generations, we hope and believe we can be an important partner and ally in helping tribes to navigate that.”

Amy Howe, FanDuel CEO

The tribes are not fully against bringing sportsbooks to residents. However, they have specific conditions to protect their gambling position in the Golden State before they agree with any legislation.

Why Texas Sports Betting Legislation Struggles

Texas has seen a lot of pushback from local anti-gambling groups that have successfully swayed lawmakers from advancing any sports betting legislation. Efforts have increased to bring betting to residents, with organizations like the Texas Sports Betting Alliance coming to fruition. The alliance even partnered with former Texas Governor Rick Perry to bring sportsbooks to the Lone Star State.

Texas’ efforts would not just be sports betting, which is likely one of the biggest pushbacks. Lawmakers aim to bring casino gambling and resorts to major cities as well. Perhaps if the focus was only on sports betting, the bills could have a better chance of passing.

“The big push is on sports gambling, and then on the casinos, the five locations they’ve identified for resort type casinos, and those are the ones they’ve really put a lot of money into lobbying… and so we deal with it every session for the last four or five sessions,” said Doc Anderson, Texas Representative.

The most recent effort to pass sports betting was during the 2023 legislative session. The measure passed in the House but failed in the Senate. No legislation has been presented in 2024.