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Entain Lobbies for Legalized Gambling in Georgia

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In Georgia, Entain, the global gambling company that owns the prominent BetMGM online sports betting site in collaboration with MGM Resorts, has set its sights on a new objective. In Atlanta, the Entain Foundation US engaged in meaningful discussions with numerous state legislators on Tuesday, aiming to create a comprehensive strategy that will enable the successful passage of the gambling bill in 2024.

Georgia on Entain’s Mind

In the last couple of years, the Georgia Legislature has made multiple unsuccessful endeavors to legalize different forms of gambling, such as sports betting, horse racing, and casinos. These attempts have ranged from considering them individually to combining them into a single plan. The Legislature has exhaustively addressed various concerns associated with gambling addiction, distribution of funds and even determining which games should be permitted.

Related: Entain Revises Forecasts Following Poor Sports Results

Bill Pascrell, an Entain trustee and a partner of a lobbying firm, disclosed that numerous Georgia legislators have approached him seeking assistance. They want the company to urge their states to align with the 12 other states that have embraced legislation against engaging in unlawful online sports betting and various other forms of prohibited wagering.

According to Martin Lycka, Vice President of US Policy and Sports at Entain, Georgia stands to reap substantial gains. This would be possible not only through taxes generated by gambling, but also from the impact of corporate expenditure in various other sectors, thereby positively influencing the state.

In the course of the 2023 legislative session, multiple bills related to sports betting failed to gain traction in both chambers. These bills covered a wide range of activities, including online gambling and the installation of sports betting kiosks. Additionally, the bills sought to promote the opening of numerous racing competitions alongside these betting ventures.

2024 Will Be a New Year

State lawmakers have given their support for online sports betting and iGaming. However, primarily due to the substantial discord existing between the general public and the Legislature, land-based gambling and horse racing pari-mutuel betting remain divided topics.

Incorporating a novel element this year, a new dimension was introduced to the discussion. Certain statutes governing lotteries are founded on the viewpoint expressed by Harold Melton, a previous justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, who said the state's constitution doesn't require a formal public vote if the Georgia Lottery takes control of gambling.

State legislators have engaged in heated deliberations over recent suggestions to allocate a larger portion of the funds for targeted endeavors, like supporting HOPE Education or bolstering the state's lottery and preschool initiatives. The consensus seems to be forming amidst these debates.

Georgia is surrounded by several states that are embracing gambling, including Tennessee and North Carolina. Alabama is its only neighbor that has no legal gambling, except limited bingo halls, but lawmakers there plan on trying to change that next year.

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