The Georgia State Legislative Session began on January 9th with the promise of domestic sports betting on the horizon. With 19 days until session concludes, it appears that domestic sportsbooks are poised for failure, with key deadlines already passed.
On Monday, lawmakers in the GA Senate rejected a proposal that would amend the state constitution to allow for sports betting if voters weigh in on it favorably at the ballot box. The resolution was 8 votes short of the required 38, failing by a final tally of 30-26.
A bill for legal sports betting in Georgia was in the works in the GA House that would usher in domestic books without an amendment, but it wasn’t considered.
Monday was the deadline for bills to move on from the chamber they originated from, so there’s no chance for any of these initiatives to make any further headway this year.
Peach State politicians can’t seem to get on the same page regarding any side of the issue. Some legislators place far more priority on building real-money casinos and putting sportsbooks on the back burner. The reason? Jobs.
“Sports betting creates five jobs. It’s all run through this mobile app, whereas horse racing and casinos create thousands of jobs, both in construction and long-term…”
Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach (Alpharetta – R)
There is also opposition due to moral reasons, with lawmakers in the heart of the bible-belt against the idea of all gambling due to its sinful nature. Most of those members fall on the Republican side of the aisle.
Is There Still Time In 2023?
Even though the clock appears to have run out for domestic sports gambling this year, some on Capitol Hill remain optimistic. House Speaker Jon Burns and several key GOP leaders indicated that there’s still time to make something happen before March 29th.
“We have a 40-day session last time I checked, and we’re going to have a 40-day session this year… We don’t close the door on anything. We’re going to continue to talk.”
Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns
There is a chance that the contents of a prior piece of sports betting legislation could become amended to an existing bill that has already passed the required number of committees.
While legal sports betting in Atlanta and other areas of the state continues to receive debate, there are options for wagering on pro and college games right now – offshore sportsbooks.
GA and federal law do not approve of international sportsbook sites. In fact, they don’t mention them at all. They have no ability to govern business operating overseas, which creates a loophole for sports bettors in GA who access them over the web.
These gambling websites are also able to offer Georgians the opportunity to casino games and real-money poker online. This status will remain in place even if domestic gambling on sports gets a pass.
If you’d like to know more about what these international sites can offer in GA, investigate the venues included in our list of online sportsbook reviews.