Are residents of the state ready for Georgia sports betting? It is once again a popular topic with election day just one week away.
Democrat Stacey Abrams is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. Abrams has been an advocate for bringing sports betting to Georgia, with campaign ads throughout the college and NFL football season explaining how residents of the states are still placing bets, just outside of state lines in places like neighboring Tennessee.
According to the Tennessee Education Lottery, the state has brought in more than $73 million in tax dollars with more than $439 in total revenue since sports gaming launched in late 2020.
Alex Floyd, a campaign spokesman for Abrams, told NBC News in September that the ads are “meant to draw attention to what Georgians already know: Gaming is happening in our state, but right now we are missing out on millions in revenue that could fund expanded access to higher education.”
One ad released on Twitter by the Abrams campaign said, “Brian Kemp blocked sports betting in Georgia, letting tax dollars go to other states. So, when states like Georgia wins the bet, states like Tennessee get the tax money.”
Polling Shows State Is Split on Sports Wagering
However, the state might be further away from the dawn of Georgia sports betting apps, after all.
In a statewide poll that was commissioned by the Georgia News Collaborative and was released in October, only 45.6% of likely voters that were surveyed were in favor of being able to legally bet on professional sports online. In contrast, 42.6% opposed the matter while nearly 12% didn’t have an opinion on the issue.
When it comes to gambling in casinos, nearly 60% of likely voters voiced their support in the poll with less than 30% opposed.
In the same poll, Abrams earned just over 40% approval.
There were efforts to get a sports betting measure on the 2022 ballot in Georgia, but they were not successful. In order to get sports gambling on next year’s ballot, Georgia’s state constitution would need to be amended with support from two-thirds of each legislative chamber.
There has even been a push in the past from some of Atlanta’s professional sports franchises when the Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and Atlanta United (MLS) formed the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance, but those efforts came up empty, as well.
Abrams’ plan to bring sports betting to Georgia calls for a 20% tax rate for online sportsbooks, which is the same as Tennessee, along with licensing fees. Sports betting websites in the state would be monitored by the Georgia Lottery Commission.
However, that plan is in danger of never coming to fruition. According to FiveThirtyEight, which references a poll from Date For Progress, Abrams trails Kemp by 10 percentage points in October, a three-point increase from September numbers.
The voters will have their say next Tuesday.
BetGeorgia.com will be following developments on the road to sports betting in the state.