Georgia didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to legalize sports betting early in 2020 but still could enter the game given pressure from Atlanta sports teams.
A bill to legalize online sports betting in Georgia failed to make it out of committee. However, the Georgia Senate revived the bill with a little more than a week remaining in the legislative session.
The future of Georgia sports betting
Legislators tried a push for GA sports betting at the end of the 2020 session, which provides some momentum entering 2021.
The budget issues from the coronavirus pandemic that prompted the push aren’t just going to go away in 2021.
Sports betting in Georgia also has strong support from a coalition of Atlanta professional sports teams. At a late-session hearing, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin called sports betting an important part of teams’ efforts to engage with fans during a difficult time in professional sports.
Still, gambling is a tough sell in Georgia. It is one of the few states that does not have commercial or tribal casinos. An effort to put the question of allowing casino gambling in front of voters in 2020 also failed.
When will online sports betting launch in Georgia?
With no casino properties, it is certain that if Georgia legalizes sports betting, it will focus on mobile and online wagering.
The bills considered in the legislature in 2020 were all built off the example set by neighboring Tennessee, which approved an online-only model. Georgia’s late-session language had no cap on the number of operators permitted.
If the momentum from 2020 carries over and Georgia passes a sports betting bill in 2021, the state would likely launch online sports betting sometime in 2022.
Recent Georgia sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Georgia
There are no legal betting options in Georgia.
Any websites that will take your bet in Georgia are illegal offshore websites that don’t hold a license from any US jurisdiction. Without state regulation, these offshore betting apps can’t be counted on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with people’s money.
The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the US is with a licensed operator.
Most popular sports to bet on in Georgia
Georgia has three major professional sports teams in Atlanta and a popular soccer club, but a college team reigns supreme in the state.
NCAA betting in Georgia
Georgia is in the middle of SEC country, where NCAA football is king.
The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t won a national title since 1980, but their 56 bowl victories are tied for the second-most of any college football program. They’ve won the SEC title 13 times and made it to the college football playoffs in 2017. Yet, their rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have actually won more national titles, four to two, and more recently tasted victory in 1990.
MLB betting in Georgia
The Atlanta Braves have had more success than the other Atlanta professional teams combined. Founded in 1871 as Boston Red Stockings, the Braves are one of the National League‘s two remaining charter franchises. Moving to Atlanta in 1966, the Braves are the only Major League Baseball team to win the World Series for three cities, winning in Atlanta in 1995.
The Braves are still exciting fans today, winning the NL East division in 2018 and 2019. Decades of having their games broadcast nationally on the cable network TBS gave the Braves a nationwide fanbase.
NFL betting in Georgia
In 2016, the Atlanta Falcons nearly brought the city its first Super Bowl championship since joining the NFL in 1966. The high-flying birds lost to the New England Patriots in the first-ever Super Bowl to go to overtime. Although the Falcons missed the playoffs the past two seasons, they still have the passing duo that led the Super Bowl run in QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones.
NBA betting in Georgia
The Hawks haven’t won an NBA championship since moving to city in 1968, but they’ve had their fair share of success, making the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2017. The Hawks have an exciting young player to build around in PG Trae Young.
MLS betting in Georgia
Atlanta United is the city’s newest team, joining MLS as an expansion team in 2017. But they immediately captured the love of Georgians, setting attendance records and winning the city’s first sports championship in 25 years with the MLS Cup in 2018 and adding the Campeones Cup.
Georgia and Daily Fantasy Sports
While daily fantasy sports are unregulated in Georgia, DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo Fantasy operate in the state.
Things have been quiet since, but no news appears to be good news as the state’s current leadership seems fine with allowing fantasy sports to continue.
Is horse racing legal in Georgia?
Horse racing is legal in Georgia, but there are no permanent racetracks and pari-mutuel wagering is illegal.
The Georgia Steeplechase and Hawkinsville Harness Festival are two annual horse racing events in the state.
Several legislative attempts have been made over recent hears to add horse betting. The Georgia Horse Racing Coalition seeks to bring racetracks and pari-mutuel wagering to the Peach State.
But they haven’t gotten off the ground. A 2020 bill that would have put the question of horse racing on the November ballot failed.
Georgia sports betting timeline
Georgia got off to a late start in making an effort to legalize sports wagering. Lawmakers didn’t take an interest in GA sports betting until neighboring Tennessee legalized the activity.
That bill died in committee, but facing an unforeseen budget crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers revived the proposal late in the session by amending the language on to a bill that was still alive.
Rep. Stephens followed suit by putting his H 378 into an unneeded Senate bill. His legislation would have put the question of legalizing sports betting, casinos and horse racing on the ballot to give voters the opportunity to amend the state constitution to allow the activities. But constitutional amendments require a difficult-to-reach two-thirds vote in the legislature.
Stephens believes that the gambling expansions would be widely approved by voters if only they could get on the ballot.
Georgia sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Georgia?
No. Right now, there are no legal options for sports betting in Georgia. That could change in the future, as state lawmakers made a late push for sports betting in 2020.
Who would oversee sports betting in Georgia?
The bill considered in 2020 put GA sports betting under the purview of the Georgia Lottery Corporation.
Will mobile GA sports betting be allowed?
Yes, with no casinos in the state, Georgia has been exploring the Tennessee model of having sport betting only take place online.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. There are currently no sportsbook operators licensed at the federal level. All US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. Any website suggesting it allows betting from anywhere in the US is a website that operators offshore. It’s not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens. They offer no protection to those who bet on them.