With key markets joining sports betting in the last few months, the focus has now shifted to the SEC region of the nation. Legalization efforts in Georgia are continuing in 2023 as the state has a lot to offer in the sports betting sector.
What Happened in the Last Few Weeks?
The hope for legalizing sports betting in the Peach State keeps dwindling as multiple bills fail to move on to the next state chamber on crossover day. However, there is still momentum as numerous initiatives were pitched and brought up during the session.
House Speaker Jon Burns recently suggested that lawmakers might try to add sports betting language to another bill that passed on crossover day. After making his remarks, the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee replaced the language inscribed on the bill.
The writing for HB 237 revolved around designating an official soap box derby in the state that would legalize the operation. It made it out of the committee by a wide margin with a vote of eight to one. Currently, it could reach a floor vote by next week.
What’s Next On the Agenda?
According to recent reports, the committee was inclined to keep the language that was in the bill. However, Rep. Leesa Hagan, who originally sponsored the bill, had other plans for the measure, as she wasn’t a big fan of what was being said.
It was requested that her language be removed from the bill. She stated, “It’s hard for me to make a comment about a substitute I’ve never been shown,… I don’t even have a copy of it here. … I don’t want my soap box derby to be associated with sports betting.”
Under the bill, the Georgia Lottery would be in charge of regulating the sports betting operation, and how the generated revenue would be allocated to educational programs across the state.
According to the bill, the adjusted tax revenue would be set at 22 percent. In addition, the initiative doesn’t require a constitutional amendment. The process would be quicker than taking the other route that would require a referendum. If that were the case, it would appear on the ballot in the next election cycle, which would be in 2024.
The Georgia legislative session is scheduled to conclude on March 29. Due to the modifications to the bill, it will need to be approved by both the Senate and the House again. That is possible, but sports betting legislation recently failed to pass both the House and Senate chambers.
A Lot of Pressure Will Be on Georgia
Currently, the SEC region of the nation has been against sports betting these last few years. In regard to neighboring states, Tennessee is the major market in the region and only offers mobile sports betting to its residents and visitors.
If the Peach State joins the sports betting industry, many would cross over to place wagers throughout the year. The state would attract visitors from Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina.