Not So Peachy: Georgia Sports Betting Will Wait Another Year

Not So Peachy: Georgia Sports Betting Will Wait Another Year
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Georgia residents hoping to legally place wagers on sports will have to wait another year.

Multiple bills came through the Georgia General Assembly attempting to legalize sports betting in Georgia on Monday. That was “Crossover Day,” or the final day for a bill to pass either the state Senate or House to be considered by the opposite chamber for this year’s legislative session.

No sports betting bill made it through Monday at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, meaning any bills for sports betting will now have to wait until 2024.

What Happened on Monday

In Monday’s first vote regarding Georgia sports betting, SR 140 failed to advance in the Senate. There were 30 yay votes and 26 nays, but the measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass. All proposed amendments to SR 140, proposed by Senator Brandon Beach, also failed. After SR 140 failed, its companion bill, Senate Bill 172, was tabled.

That left a proposal in the Georgia House of Representatives, House Bill 380, as the last hope. But the measure was never brought up for a vote before Monday’s midnight deadline.

HB 380, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Wiedower, called for only mobile Georgia sports betting apps, with 16 mobile sports betting operators. It would be regulated by the Georgia Lottery Corporation with a 25% tax rate. That proposal did not include horse racing.

HB 380 would’ve tethered half of its sports betting licenses to Georgia’s sports teams and one to the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

Senate Measure Involved Constitutional Amendment

Georgia’s SR 140 (with companion SB 172) was aimed at passing a constitutional amendment to allow sports betting in Georgia. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly’s two chambers before the state’s voters get their say. In the case of SR 140/ SB 172, voters would have needed to approve them this November before sports betting would be legalized in 2024.

“Let the people decide,” Sen. Bill Cowsert, who sponsored SR 140, said before the vote. “Just give it your fair consideration. Is this something you believe the people of Georgia ought to be able to decide, do they want it? Unless you’re so morally, irrefutably opposed to it, give them a chance.”

Speaking on problem gaming, Cowsert said: “Allow them techniques to limit the amount they bet and control out-of-control betting so we don’t spend the grocery money, the mortgage payment and get back into financial-needy situations.”

This was the second bill in a matter of a few days to fail in the Georgia Senate.

On Thursday, Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hickman of Statesboro, failed in the Georgia Senate floor by a 37-19 vote.That proposal, the Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act, called for the regulation and taxation of sports betting (both retail and online) in the state and legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, 

After both Senate bills failed, the House bill seemed to have a better chance, with major national operators that would offer Georgia sports betting promotions for signing up. Unlike SB 140, the House version did not require a constitutional amendment.

However, it was left off the docket Monday, meaning Georgia will continue to be on the outside looking in when it comes to legalized, regulated sports betting. And advocates in The Peach State can only watch as tax dollars from wagering on sports roll in for neighboring Tennessee.



Shelby Dermer is a reporter & journalist for Shelby has been a sports reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer for the last five years and now lends his expertise to the emerging Georgia sports betting market.

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