Georgia could be a lucrative market as the Peach State is home to the many professional sports franchises and collegiate teams. Ron Stephens is one of the lawmakers leading the charge to legalize sports betting in Georgia.
Georgia Proposed Sports Betting Law
Rep. Stephens’s goal is to lead the charge to allow the Georgia Lottery to create a sports betting bill. He isn’t the only one who thinks the operation will gain traction in 2022 after numerous failed attempts in the previous year.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston met with reporters in early January to discuss the possibility of gambling legislation in the state. In the press release, he stated, “There is an appetite I haven’t seen before to do something.”
The legislative session began at the Gold Dome in Atlanta and will end on March 31st. Stephens is also the chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism committee. Like many other states in the sports betting industry, the revenue generated will be going towards education programs.
Many online sportsbook providers are publicly traded as earnings season occurs for the first quarter of 2022. The legislator also noted that bettors across the state would find other ways to place a wager if there were no legalized markets.
Residents will either cross state lines to neighboring states like Tennessee that offer mobile sports betting or place a wager through offshore sportsbooks or local bookies. A constitutional change could occur with a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate, and if the bills get public approval.
Why Georgia Could Benefit From Allowing Sports Betting
Any effort or hope for sports betting and other gambling-related expansion was easily halted; it failed to gain support from both legislative chambers in 2021. Numerous professional sports organizations like the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and the Atlanta United FC supported the venture.
With the ongoing pandemic, sports organizations believed that permitting sports betting would bring more fan engagement. The Peach State is one of the few states that does not host any commercial or tribal casinos.
There were a few bills that pushed for casinos and horse tracks to operate in the state. However, that was also pushed to the side.
Georgia could be a market that has untapped potential in the industry. It is the eighth-most populous state in the United States and is home to 11 million people. Teams in the Peach State have also seen major success in the last few months.
The Atlanta Braves, who were considered heavy underdogs in the postseason, defeated the Houston Astros to take home the World Series. The Georgia Bulldogs also defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship.
Anything related to the sports betting legislation and other gaming bills is expected to be opposed by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. The board’s public affairs representative told a local news station that gambling addiction is “in the same category as heroin, opioids, tobacco alcohol, and cocaine.”
Some believe that the state could take the parish approach like Louisiana. Giving jurisdictions the right to voice their opinions by voting on whether they want sports betting or other gambling-related ventures or not.