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State Lawmakers Are Debating Sports Betting In Georgia Again

the Georgia state legislature debating a sports betting bill

Peach State lawmakers are once again debating a bill regarding legal sports betting in Georgia. Yesterday, Senate Bill 386 was passed, and the next stop is the State House for further consideration.

What was also confirmed by the Senate is the need for a state constitutional amendment if these changes to gambling laws are to take place. This would require separate approval by the Senate with at least 38 yeas required to pass.

Last year, a similar proposal only received 30 positive votes in the Senate.

Proponents of SB 386, as currently written, suggest that domestic GA sportsbooks could fall under the authority of the Georgia Lottery. Because this governing entity is pre-existing, no consitutional amendment would be required.

Adversaries in the Senate believe that letting sports betting come in through a back door opened by the state lottery would be dishonest to GA voters.

“This issue is frustrating because so many of us generally agree about it, but year after year, we’ve seen it get stuck,”

Georgia Senator Jason Esteves (D – Atlanta)

This places the entire prospect of sports betting or any other type of gambling in doubt. Professional sports teams in Atlanta have united in their lobbying effort to legalize GA sports betting.

Sure, betting on sports draws more attention the the games, resulting in higher television ratings and elevated ticket sales. Even more important is that this latest piece of legislation grants each team the right to construct a retail sportsbook in their respective arenas.

If passed, locals can expect to see sportsbooks at the following venues in Georgia:

  • Truist Park – home of the Atlanta Braves
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium – home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC
  • State Farm Arena – home of the Atlanta Hawks
  • Gateway Center Arena – home of the Atlanta Dream
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway – location of NASCAR’s Quaker State 400 and Ambetter Health 400
  • Augusta National – home of The Masters PGA Tournament

Georgia is now connected to legal sports betting states to the north and south. Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee feature active sportsbooks that attract local gamblers and their betting dollars.

Alabama and South Carolina also appear to be headed toward becoming sportsbook-friendly regions. Within a year or two, Georgia will likely be completely surrounded by states that permit sports betting.

There is also the presence of offshore sports betting sites that allow Georgians to wager on pro and college games from within the Peach State using computers and mobile devices.

The combination of these outside factors has expedited the efforts of GA politicians, but technical squabbles could squash the momentum. They have until the 28th of March to figure it out.


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