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Georgia Sports Betting Hits Big Roadblock

Bettors in Georgia were hopeful that sports betting would be legalized in 2021. However, this will not be the case because the House of Representatives adjourned on Thursday without voting on a pair of sports betting bills from the Senate.

If these bills had passed in the House of Representatives, the sports betting implementation process would have begun. Georgia sports betting is not going to be discussed again until the legislature reconvenes in January of 2022.

The End of the Legislative Session

A constitutional amendment would have allowed sports betting in Georgia if the House of Representatives voted before the 2021 session adjourned. The amendment was passed in the Senate earlier in the month.

The amendment was also accompanied by a bill that was passed in the Senate. The bill explained how legal sports betting would be run in the state if the House of Representatives passed the law. The House Rules Committee passed the bill, but there was not enough support in the House of Representatives.

The bill got the required 2/3 vote in the Senate, so the industry felt good about the state’s chances to legalize the form of gambling. The Senate voted 41-10 to bring sports betting to the state.

This was thanks in part to the three major professional sports teams in Georgia who have proclaimed support for sports betting. The sports betting bill died because of bipartisan politics.

Republicans and Democrats decided to disagree because of the controversial voting law. The MLB All-Star Game is not being played in Georgia now because of this piece of legislation.

When Will Georgia Sports Betting be Legalized?

The Georgia legislature is at a massive divide because of the state’s new voting law, so it could be hard to get bipartisan support for an extended period of time. It’s good that the legislative session has adjourned so Republican and Democratic legislators can take a break from each other.

The next sports betting vote will not occur until 2022. The legislature must get a constitutional amendment on the November Election Day ballot. If the voters approve the measure, sports betting could begin on January 1, 2023, at the earliest.

Most likely, sports betting would not be enacted until later in 2023.

The Potential Framework

The Senate bill approved six mobile sportsbooks in the state. However, the House disagreed with the entire Senate bill. The House did not want to bet on college sports throughout the country. The Senate wanted legal sports betting for all collegiate events outside of the state.

This is the standard framework in many states that offer sports betting. Additionally, the House only wanted online wagering, but the Senate wanted to install some betting kiosks throughout the state. This would have given professional sports venues the ability to open retail books.

The two legislative chambers also could not agree on the tax proceeds from online wagering. The groups that would benefit from sports betting are HOPE Scholarships, pre-K education, need-based scholarships, rural broadband development, mental health services.

The House and Senate argued about the percentages that would go towards each organization.

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