Since the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA in 2018, the landscape of sports betting has seen significant growth across the country. Currently, 37 states and DC have embraced some form of legal sports wagering, reaping the benefits that come with it. However, there are still some states, such as Georgia, that are in the process of pushing for legislation to legalize sports betting.
Senator Brandon Beach has been a prominent advocate for the legalization of gambling in Georgia, emphasizing the potential financial gains the state could experience. During a meeting with the Joint Committees on Economic Development and Tourism in December, Sen. Beach projected that the state could generate up to $900 million in annual tax revenue through legal gambling. He proposed that these funds could be allocated to areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.
Sen. Beach also expressed his intention to introduce legislation that would allow Georgia residents to vote on a constitutional amendment, thereby opening the door to legal sports betting, pari-mutuel wagering, and casino gambling. With the commencement of the new legislative session, he plans to reignite efforts to push for gambling legalization.
Rep. Ron Stephens, another advocate for sports betting, echoed Sen. Beach’s sentiments, emphasizing the potential benefits for education in Georgia. He highlighted the opportunity for professional sports teams in the state, such as the Falcons and the Hawks, to engage in sports betting, ultimately contributing to funds for programs like HOPE and Pre-K.
During the previous legislative session, Rep. Stephens introduced House Bill 237, a proposal that sought to legalize wagering across the state and allow for the operation of up to 16 online sportsbooks under the supervision of the Georgia Lottery. Although the bill did not progress during the last session, Rep. Stephens intends to revive efforts to advance the legalization of sports betting during the new legislative session.