Georgia Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill

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The Georgia Senate introduced Senate Bill 386 on January 24, 2024, to regulate online sports betting in the state, bringing with it the promise of exciting opportunities and potential revenue for the state.

However, there’s a twist – the bill requires a constitutional amendment for approval, adding an extra layer of complexity.

Continue reading to learn more about the path to regulated online sports betting in Georgia.

The Senate’s Decision

The Georgia Senate voted decisively in favor of Senate Bill 386, with a resounding 35-15 victory. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman and others, seeks to introduce regulated online sports betting in Georgia.

State of Georgia Senate logo

The goal is to align the state with its neighbors, as many surrounding states, such as North Carolina, have already embraced this popular entertainment.

While the Senate’s approval is a promising step, it comes with a twist. The bill also gained approval for an amendment that requires Georgia voters to participate in a constitutional amendment vote scheduled for November 2024.

This amendment must garner the support of at least 38 senators, making the road to legalization a challenging one.

Sen. Clint Dixon, a strong supporter of SB 386, highlighted the importance of responsible gambling, stating: “As our state evolves, it’s crucial to acknowledge the existing landscape with neighboring states already engaging in this activity.

Dixon emphasized the need for safeguards, such as prohibiting credit card use for betting and providing tools for self-limitation.

The Economic Impact

Regulated sports betting in Georgia offers exciting opportunities, not only in terms of entertainment but also for the state’s economy.

The American Gaming Association reports that the U.S. commercial gaming industry generates approximately $52.7 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments.

By regulating betting, Georgia stands to reclaim revenue currently lost to illicit wagering.

Sen. Jason Esteves emphasized that unregulated sports betting is already prevalent in Georgia, easily accessible to minors, and lacks responsible gaming safeguards.

The revenue generated through SB 386’s proposed 20% tax rate could help fund essential programs, including educational initiatives like the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs.

License Distribution and Costs

If SB 386 becomes law, Georgia could grant up to 16 licenses to operators. Nine of these licenses would be designated for partnerships with major professional sports teams and entities in the state, including iconic names like Augusta National Golf Course and the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Additionally, the Georgia Lottery would have the opportunity to launch its own standalone sports betting platform.

  Operator Licenses:
  • Application fee: $100,000
  • Annual Renewal fee: $1 million

What is important, the financial commitments of operators seeking licenses in the state of Georgia would ensure responsible and safe operations within the state’s regulated sports betting market.

What’s Next

While the Georgia Senate’s approval is a promising development, the bill now moves to the House for further consideration. In 2021, a similar piece of legislation proposed by Sen. Bill Cowsert made it through the Senate but was never heard in the House.

The path to regulated sports betting in Georgia still faces challenges, but it’s a journey worth following for those interested in the future of responsible gambling in the Peach State.

The state’s lawmakers and supporters are hopeful that this move will not only enhance entertainment options but also contribute to the growth of Georgia.

As the bill progresses through the legislative process, the people of Georgia eagerly await their opportunity to have their say in this exciting endeavor. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.

 

Georgia Senate Bill 386 aims to regulate online sports betting in the state.

Senate Bill 386 was introduced on January 24, 2024.

Sen. Billy Hickman and others sponsored Senate Bill 386.

A constitutional amendment is required to approve Senate Bill 386, adding complexity to the process.

The Georgia Senate voted 35-15 in favor of Senate Bill 386.

Regulated sports betting can generate significant revenue for Georgia, addressing funding needs for programs like the HOPE scholarship.

Georgia could grant up to 16 licenses to operators if Senate Bill 386 becomes law.

Senate Bill 386 proposes a 20% tax rate on adjusted gross income from online sports betting.

Liga Tarasova has a history of quality assurance and leading teams in an outsourcing company. Currently, she is working remotely as an Editor in Chief for Onlinegamblers.com. She stands for fair and safe gambling for people in the USA. Not long ago, she lived in Malta, the global iGaming hub, and worked at an iGaming company offering cloud-based product and platform services to B2B partners. Liga’s passion is visual arts and interior design.

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