Despite multiple proposals in Georgia this year, legal sports betting must wait at least another year.
State legislators let GA sports betting die as the session expired early Thursday morning. The GA Senate adjourned sine die without voting on HB 237.
Even if the Senate passed the bill, the House also would have needed to approve the legislation before adjourning on the final day of the session. While Georgia legislators did not pass sports betting this year, the session provided plenty of intrigue around the issue.
What happened in Georgia
This session, there was a clear dividing line among Georgia sports betting proponents. The differences likely hampered any real shot sports betting had at legalization in 2023.
Some legislators believe an expansion of gaming in Georgia, including sports betting, requires an amendment to the state constitution. Other proponents believe sports betting could fit legally under the purview of the Georgia Lottery.
There were multiple proposals in both chambers that could have legalized sports betting. Before the next session, GA sports betting hopefuls will need to agree on the best and legal path forward.
Georgia sports betting rose from the grave
Sports betting bills failed to cross over from their chambers of origin by the deadline earlier this month. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, however, was behind the effort that gave the issue its second life. A source told LSR this week Jones was pushing the issue despite lacking votes on the Senate floor.
On March 16, legislators inserted sports betting language into a House bill that declared an official soap box derby. Sen. Mike Dugan claimed the backdoor move would set the sports betting industry back five years.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that the Republican caucus did not have the votes to pass the legislation on its own. Meanwhile, Democrats were digging in against the issue after the legislature passed a bill limiting health care treatments for transgender children. Similarly unrelated problems around voting rights derailed a previous effort in Georgia.
What GA sports betting could have looked like
The legislation alive at the end of the session would have created 16 online sports licenses in Georgia. Sponsors reserved nine licenses for specific entities, including the Georgia Lottery and professional sports franchises in the state.
The bill set the sports betting revenue tax rate at 22%.
The bill would have legalized sports betting without an amendment to the constitution.