Georgia Sports Betting: House Committee Expected To Consider Measures Monday

Georgia Sports Betting: House Committee Expected To Consider Measures Monday
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The days leading to the end of a state legislative session can sometimes be chaotic. That was certainly the case Thursday in Georgia, where proponents are hoping to get sports betting measures through the General Assembly before lawmakers adjourn for the year next Thursday, March 28.

There are just two legislative session days remaining, with the next one on Tuesday. However, the House Higher Education Committee is scheduled to meet Monday. The agenda includes both Senate Bill 386 and Senate Resolution 579, the two Georgia sports betting measures.

The committee was supposed to meet Thursday afternoon, the third-to-last legislative day, but a lengthy House floor session led to the 1 p.m. scheduled meeting being pushed back an hour. Then, it was pushed back to 4 p.m. before being canceled altogether.

Amendments Likely

Sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, SB 386 gives the Georgia Lottery Corporation oversight authority of Georgia sports betting apps. It allows the state’s five major professional sports teams, the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Augusta National Golf Course to partner with an operator. The lottery would also get a license and could award up to seven licenses for competitive bidding.

When the Senate approved SB 386 on Feb. 1, it amended it to require voters to approve a referendum making sports betting constitutional. On Feb. 27, senators passed SR 579, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens.

However, the measures need to be reconciled, and that can happen during Monday’s hearing through amendments to one or both measures. Other amendments could also be brought forward regarding the tax rate—currently set at 20% on operators but could be raised to 25%—and to codify in the referendum how the money would be used.

If both measures make it out of the committee on Monday, they will likely need to pass the House on Tuesday to give the Senate time to consider the amendments and decide whether to accept them.

It’s important to remember that SB 386 will need only a simple majority for passage, but SR 579 will require a two-thirds majority.



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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