Welcome news for sports fans in the Peach State, as Georgia sports betting was finally shown some love on Tuesday morning.
The state’s Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism heard Senate Bill 57 earlier today, an extensive sports betting bill sponsored by Senator Billy Hickman (R - District 4) along with 10 other state Senators, which would allow mobile sports betting in the state of Georgia.
SB 57, which was Senate read and referred on Feb. 1 to today’s hearing, would allow up to 18 mobile licenses (nine to sports teams, PGA Tour and NASCAR) with the remainder to be awarded via a competitive bidding process.
The bill will also include brick-and-mortar sportsbook locations and retail sports betting via self-service betting kiosks would be allowed in licensed liquor establishments and at Class B machine license locations featuring lottery retailers and COAM (coin operated skill redemption games) locations within the state.
Other Key Points
Here's what to know:
- Sports wagering in the state would be regulated by the Georgia Lottery through a new entity called the Georgia Sports Betting Commission (GSBC)
- 20% tax would be implemented on mobile/online sports betting revenues
- Official league data would be mandatory
- Other categories such as collegiate sports, esports, Summer/Winter Olympic Games, along with "other event" betting would be included
- Fixed-odds betting on horse racing would be allowed, with a maximum of three (3) racetracks. Locations TBD by Georgia Lottery.
Georgia would become the first state that would permit ONLY fixed odds wagering on horse racing, as pari-mutuel horse wagering is prohibited by the state’s constitution.
Currently, New Jersey is the only state to have both pari-mutuel and fixed odds wagering, with the latter going live in the Garden State last May.
House Version (HB 380)
Similar to SB 57, House Bill 380 was introduced Monday in the state’s House of Representatives.
Sponsored by state Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville), the legislation is also being supported by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The support finally comes after an Atlanta pro sports coalition (Braves, Falcons, Hawks, United) started the campaign to legalize sports betting since 2021.
HB 380 includes:
- Georgia Lottery to oversee
- Type 1 licenses would be for mobile sports betting providers, with up to 16 being awarded; Type 2 licenses would go to retail businesses that would offer in-person sports wagering.
- Licensees would pay a 15% “privilege tax” to help fund education in the state.
- Sports betting companies to offer programs to help problem gamblers.
Of note, the state’s Constitution only prohibits three categories of gambling: casino, pari-mutuel (as mentioned above) and privately-operated lotteries (with a carve-out for the state lottery).
Stay tuned here at BetGeorgia for any update on the state's path to legislation.