Discussion of Legalization of Sports Betting in Georgia Abruptly Ends

There were high hopes that sports betting would soon become legal in the state of Georgia. However, due to disagreements between lawmakers over how money raised through taxes would be spent, legal betting will not become a reality in this legislative session.

There were two proposals that would have legalized sports betting: Georgia Senate Bill 386 and Senate Resolution 579. While both had support from both the Republicans and Democrats, neither was able to secure the two-thirds majority in the Senate, and the House needed to advance.

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Bettors Turn to Neighboring States

The lack of agreement means that bettors in Georgia will have to visit nearby Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee if they want to place a bet. While many already do this, it is thought that a significant number also turn to unregulated online operators.

Republican Representative Marcus Wiedower is one of the supporters of legalizing sports betting. He has often spoken of the benefits of a regulated market, not just to the state in the form of taxes but also the better protections provided to bettors.

This allows us to get those people off an illegal market into a legal market, allows us to regulate it and tax it, and take care and protect Georgia citizens.

Marcus WiedowerRepublican Representative

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Disagreement on Betting Tax Spending

Sports betting is legal in close to 40 states, and in many of them, it is available at both retail sportsbooks and online. The activity raises a huge amount of tax revenue that is then used to fund various programs.

In Georgia, both Democrats and Republicans disagreed with the proposals’ texts. Some lawmakers wanted to dedicate more funds towards pre-K and the HOPE program while others argued for providing more financial support to college students.

At the same time, there were concerns about an increase in gambling addiction and many believe that more funding should go towards treating it. For the sake of sports bettors in Georgia, hopefully, a compromise can be reached in the next legislative session.


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