Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – After many years of failed attempts— sports betting could soon be legalized in Georgia.

Senate Bill 386 passed through a Senate Committee earlier today eight to two. Which would award Georgia with 16 licenses for online sports betting operators.

If passed, the bill is proposing to tax sports betting revenue at 20 percent. 16 licenses will be awarded to Atlanta pro sports teams, PGA, The Augusta National Golf Club, the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the lottery corporation, and applications for sports betting operators.

“It’s a purely online sports betting bill. While you would have entity’s like the Atlanta Hawks that could get an online sports betting license, they would essentially then turn around and have an entity that’s more familiar with offering online sports betting to be the operator for them,” Geoff Zochodne, a sports betting analyst, said.

Georgia is one step closer to legalizing sports betting.(Source: WALB)

The bill would legalize sports betting without requiring a constitutional amendment. Whether that is legal or not— is what has held this bill back from passing for several years.

“Whether or not you can legalize sports betting in the state without a constitutional amendment is what SB 386 is proposing to do. By using the lottery— which is already legal in the state— to be the regulator and the licensing entity for online sports betting,” Zochodne, said.

Opponents characterize Gambling as legalized fraud. But Georgia State Representative Dexter Sharper says data shows people are already online sports betting in the state.

“If you look up the concentration of the density and how many people are playing in Georgia, honestly they’re going to play— so why let states and other places benefit off of our Georgians money? When we can get that money our self and put it towards different causes,” Georgia State Representative Dexter Sharper, said.

“The bill that we saw today is proposing to tax sports betting revenue now at 20%. Before it was originally 15% but there was a friendly amendment. There will also be licensing fees for as many as 16 online sports betting licenses. So yes— there is an opportunity for some revenue gains for the state when you go through this sports betting legalization process,” Zochodne, said.

If passed, 20 percent of the adjusted gross revenues would go towards Georgia HOPE Scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs.

Before this can be fully legalized, the legislation must go before the Senate Rules Committee. Who will then decide if this will go before the full senate.

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