Georgia senators introduce bill to legalize sports betting

A group of Georgia senators introduced a sports betting bill on Tuesday, potentially paving the way for the legalization of sports betting in the state in 2023.

The bill would not require a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in the state, which could speed up the legalization process because it would not have to go before voters. It could also lead to pushback from lawmakers who believe a constitutional amendment is needed to legalize any form of gambling in Georgia.

The bill, SB 57, provides for the creation of the “Georgia Sports Betting Commission” to regulate sports betting. The bill has not yet been sent to a designated committee, but Georgia’s legislative session runs through the end of March, and bills passed in 2023 could carry over into 2024.

Tennessee, Georgia’s neighbor to the north, is the only state immediately adjacent to Georgia with legal mobile sports betting. Tennessee has more than 10 active mobile sportsbooks in the state, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBET.

Account details

Those major carriers may soon be available in Georgia, as a proposed bill would allow up to 18 mobile licenses. Nine of those licenses will be given to professional sports teams, as well as the PGA and NASCAR, while the remaining nine licenses will be awarded through a competitive bidding process. Each licensee will be allowed one hide.

Mobile sports betting licenses will cost $100,000 with an annual renewal fee of $1 million. The bill also allows for retail sports betting kiosks, and a retail sports betting distributor licensee will pay an application fee of $10,000 and an annual renewal fee of $100,000.

Legislative taxes adjusted sports betting revenue to 20%.

Under the bill, bettors in Georgia can bet on professional sports, college sports and many other events, including eSports. Wagering on in-state college teams will be allowed, which makes sense since in-state interest in the University of Georgia football program is huge. The Bulldogs have won the last two national championships.

Probability of passing

Barring a constitutional amendment, there is a reasonable chance the bill will pass in 2023. This year has also seen increased pressure from key stakeholders trying to legalize sports betting, a good sign for sports betting supporters.

Bert Jones, the state’s new lieutenant governor, is an outspoken supporter of sports betting. Even Gov. Brian Kemp seems more inclined to legalize sports betting in 2023 than in previous years.

Supporters argue that the additional tax revenue for the state is worth the legalization of sports betting, especially given the existence of offshore operators accepting illegal bets from Georgians. However, expect pushback from some lawmakers who oppose gambling on moral grounds.

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