A new proposal for legal Georgia sports betting appears to borrow a few ideas from recently launched Ohio.
SB 57 is a bipartisan proposal with 10 sponsors that would authorize up to 18 online GA sportsbooks, nine of which are set aside for sports franchises in the state. Also authorized is limited in-person sports betting at restaurants and bars with liquor licenses through kiosks.
The bill was introduced Tuesday but was not read or assigned to a committee as of Wednesday. The bill is similar to SB 142 which failed in 2022.
Who would get GA sports betting license?
The bill specifically designates five online betting licenses for professional teams that play baseball, basketball, football and soccer:
- Atlanta Braves
- Atlanta Dream
- Atlanta Falcons
- Atlanta FC
- Atlanta Hawks
The other four licenses set aside are for the PGA Tour, Augusta National, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Michelin Raceway.
These nine entities have 60 days after the bill’s effective date of July 1 to express their interest in an online license. Failing to provide written notice would lead to “permanent disqualification and prohibition of such Type 1 entity from obtaining a Type 1 sports betting license.”
Remaining nine Georgia licenses would be competitively bid
The Georgia Lottery Corporation would be in charge of the public bidding process for the remaining nine licenses.
Whether licensed as a partner of one of the nine designated licensees or through the lottery, applicants would pay a $100,000 application fee and an annual license fee of $1 million. Industry suppliers will pay a $10,000 application fee and $100,000 annual fee.
Each online sports betting license is valid for 20 years. Operators would pay a 20% tax to offer sports betting, with no mention of whether promotional costs can be deducted. The proposal calls for the use of official league data for sports with US-based governing bodies.
Applications cannot be submitted until four months after the newly formed seven-person Georgia Gaming Corporation has all of its members and a CEO.
Kiosk sports betting limited like Ohio
Just like in Ohio, not all betting options found online will be available on the kiosks at liquor-licensed establishments. Those kiosks can offer five bet types:
- Money line
Retail distributors and platform operators would pay $10,000 to apply and $100,000 annually. Retailers would pay $500 to apply and $500 a year. There will be between five to 10 distributors licensed.
Georgia sports betting background
Sports betting bills are nothing new in Georgia, as proposals failed to cross the finish line the last three years.
In 2020, a last-minute “Hail Mary” failed to legalize online sports betting with a 10% tax rate. The effort in 2021 was affected by politicking. Democratic supporters dropped their interest after Republicans threw support behind proposals to limit voter rights.
Last year, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she would support a referendum to let Georgia’s voters decide on casinos and sports betting, but she was beaten by incumbent Brian Kemp.
According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll of 860 registered voters last month, 49% either strongly or somewhat support legalizing sports betting in Georgia. That is down from 57% support in 2020.
Opposition was 37% while were 15% unsure.