Georgia Sports Betting Fails To Clear Legislature in 2023

Georgia Sports Betting Fails To Clear Legislature in 2023
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

A series of drawn-out efforts to get Georgia sports betting in place formally failed on Wednesday, with none of the bills and resolutions clearing the bicameral legislature. 

Between HB-347, SB-57, SR-140 and HB-237, the legislature took up and ultimately did nothing with four pieces of legislation that would have either legalized betting outright or put the subject on the ballot in 2024.  

The latter legislation saw a late substitution in the Senate’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, taking a bill that sought to designate the South East Georgia Soap Box Derby as the state’s official race and tacking on sports betting language to it.  

Despite clearing the committee by an 8-1 margin, HB-237 never made it onto the Senate floor, joining the other three bills in going down in defeat during this year’s session.  

Brendan Bussmann, who is a longtime iGaming industry insider and current managing partner of B Global, told that the ultimate failure by lawmakers in Atlanta to get betting across the finish line will come back to haunt them going forward.  

“The resurrection of sports betting late in the session fell victim to partisan politics in the same way that it did two years ago when the measure came close to passage, but died at the hands of a voter ID bill,” Bussmann said. “Sports betting is not a partisan issue but unfortunately became the victim to the legislative process.” 

How Georgia Sports Betting Died In 2023

At various points during the 2023 session in Georgia, sports betting seemed like either a slam-dunk ... or a halfcourt heave. HB-380 was the first to fail in the legislature, never getting a formal vote in the House, while Senate Resolution 140 (which would have put betting on the 2024 ballot) failed to clear the two-thirds majority needed (winding up at 30-26 in favor).  

SB-57, meanwhile, met its maker in the Senate, where lawmakers voted down the proposal by a 37-19 margin, killing off the third of the three sports betting-specific bills that were introduced this cycle.  

The final bill, in HB-237, joined its House-introduced brethren in dying on the floor of the legislature, putting the final kibosh on Georgia sports betting for the year. 

Sen. Sonya Halpern (D-Atlanta) told in an emailed statement that the legislature’s failure to address sports betting is a temporary setback, with progress to be made in the near-distant future. 

“Georgians already have access to sports betting……they just have the burden of enriching other states with money that would otherwise be invested in Georgia directly or indirectly,” Halpern said.

“As a state, we tend to be leaders, not followers. So I can tell you that although it was not passed during this year’s session, Georgians will eventually benefit from the impact of millions of revenue that can go toward public education for our state.” 

What’s To Come For Georgia Sports Betting?

Whether lawmakers’ decision to ramrod sports betting onto a signatory bill winds up serving as a poison pill for the future remains to be seen. Rep. Leesa Hagan, who was the sponsor of HB-237 in its original form, expressed her disappointment in having the bill stripped of its intended purpose, telling lawmakers earlier this month, “I don’t want my soap box derby to be associated with sports betting.”

Other lawmakers in the Senate, such as Republican Sen. Mike Dugan of Carrollton, took it a step further, telling those in favor of the amended HB-237 that they “just set sports betting back five years.”  

“When you hijack a soapbox derby and put sports betting on the back of it, every person that was on the fence in the state of Georgia has just now picked a side of the fence,” Dugan said. “So I can’t support this.”

One way or another, sports betting in Georgia will have to wait until at least 2024 to launch, thanks to the legislature’s inability to pass any of the bills that made their way through the state House or Senate in Atlanta. reached out to the 30 sponsors of HB-380, SB-57, SR-140 and HB-237 for comment on the future of sports betting in Georgia but did not receive a response by time of publication.  

Bussmann told that the state’s best recourse come 2024 may be to put the future of sports betting in the state to those that will reap the rewards of wagering. That way, he added, the legislature can avoid the pitfalls that ultimately tanked each piece of legislation that aimed to address wagering in 2023.  

“Can you get enough votes on both sides of the body to get this done without other issues coming into play?” Bussmann asked. “Sounds a lot easier than it is, but this is another reason why if you put it to the voters, it becomes a cleaner process and ultimately puts the power in the hands of each legislator’s constituents. Last I checked, they should believe in them if they want to ultimately get reelected.” 

When sports wagering does become legal, will be the place to be for Georgia sportsbook promo codes.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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