Georgia House Committee Approves Fantasy Sports Regulation Bill

Georgia House Committee Approves Fantasy Sports Regulation Bill
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

After hearing more than an hour of testimony Tuesday morning, a Georgia legislative committee gave the green light to a bill regulating fantasy sports to advance in the process.

In a split vote, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved House Bill 1329. It would put fantasy sports operators under the lottery and require them to obtain a license in order to offer contests in the Peach State.

“What I’m asking you to do today is nothing more than regulate something that’s illegal today, which is fantasy sports,” said the bill’s sponsor and committee chair, state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah.

Roughly a quarter of a million Georgia residents play fantasy sports. If lawmakers approve the bill, licensed operators would only be able to offer contests to adults 19 and older. 

The committee recessed after Tuesday’s early session but reconvened for a brief meeting around noon. Approving the bill now gives the measure a chance to pass from the state House before the legislature’s Thursday crossover deadline. Any bill that has not been approved in its original chamber by then will not be able to move forward this year.

Bill Would Bolster Georgia Pre-K Funding

Under the bill, large fantasy operators – defined as any operator that earns adjusted gross fantasy revenues of more than $5 million for the previous 12 months – would be required to pay a nonrefundable $100,000 application fee. If approved, they would also pay $1 million for the right to offer contests in the state. All other operators would not need to pay an application fee, and their annual license would cost $5,000.

The state would levy a 20% tax on operators’ adjusted gross fantasy revenues. Stephens said the money, which he estimated could reach $50 million each year, would go to the Georgia Lottery’s fund for educational initiatives.

“That’s split out to the HOPE (college) Scholarship and pre-K,” he said. “Currently, we do not fully fund pre-K. There’s this conception that we do. This would help plug the gap to fund pre-K and make it statewide.”

Stephens’ bill has the support of fantasy sports operators, including Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks. The latter is a Georgia-based company best known for its single-player pick ’em game, where entrants select athletes from various sports and decide whether each of their picks will hit or miss certain statistical thresholds. It’s a game that has generated controversy in states where sports betting is allowed.

Stuart Wilkinson, the director of government affairs for PrizePicks, told the committee that Adam Wexler, the company’s founder and CEO, attended college in-state through the help of a HOPE Scholarship.

“It’s very important to him that we continue funding the Hope Scholarship to provide these opportunities” for future students, Wilkinson said.

Prior to voting on the bill, the committee rejected a proposed amendment that would have allocated money from the lottery to help higher education students learn more about working in the fantasy sports industry. The amendment would have channeled the funding through the Georgia Technical College system and historically Black colleges and universities in the state.

Fantasy Sports Bill Catching Up To Sports Betting Measure

The fantasy sports bill now hits the House floor, and it comes at the same time the House is also set to consider passing a Georgia sports betting bill that the Senate approved earlier this month.

It sets the stage for both chambers to have each other’s gaming bill for discussion over the final month of the legislative session. Stephens noted the similarities between the two measures, as they both charge the same tax rate to licensed operators.

“(HB) 1329 will allow for robust responsible gaming resources and protections for fantasy contest consumers as well as marketing restrictions and integrity protections akin to other sports wagering,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a game of skill.”

Stay with for more sports betting updates and read our expert reviews of the best Georgia sportsbook apps expected to come to the Peach State once legalized. 



Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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