Georgia Fails to Pass Sports Betting Bill in 2024

Despite coming close this year to advancing a sports betting bill in Georgia, the state once again encountered a roadblock on Thursday, the final day of the legislative session, when it failed to secure approval.

While opponents of the bill celebrate this outcome, its supporters, including several Georgia residents, are left dismayed by the near miss.

The Senate Resolution (SR) 579 gained momentum in the Senate throughout the legislative session but encountered reluctance from the House of Representatives to move it forward. Its potential to offer Georgians a ballot measure in November for the legalization of sports betting in the Peach State remains unrealized.

Senate Bill 386 Accompanies Senate Resolution 579

Another bill that supports SR 579 is Senate Bill 386, which, upon approval, would have permitted 16 mobile betting apps in Georgia. Out of these nine, the licensee will be secured through partnerships with a pro team or an entity. A tax of 25% would have been imposed on operators, of which tax revenue would be used to sponsor education and responsible gambling initiatives.

Both legislations established a regulatory framework requiring operators to pay a $100,000 application fee upfront and an additional $1 million annually after their market access request is approved. Also, operators of fantasy sports were left out in both SB 386 and SR 579, although PrizePicks’ Director of Government Affairs, Stuart Wilkinson, endorsed the inclusion of fantasy sports in the bill.

GA Tax Revenue Responsible for Stalling

Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to find common ground on the allocation of funds generated from legal sports betting to various education programs.

As a consequence, there will be no revenue generated for any educational initiatives, despite the likelihood of significant sports betting activity within Georgia. However, this activity will likely take place through unregulated channels, with bettors turning to offshore, out-of-state, and illegal bookmakers instead of entities sanctioned and taxed by the state.

“I just hate to see it all fall apart over how the money is going to be divided. Because at the end of the day, I think it’s going to provide funds that aren’t being provided to education and in the long run will be better for all Georgians,” Republican Rep. Kasey Carpenter said during Wednesday’s meeting of the House’s Higher Education Committee.

The conflict regarding the allocation of funds from sports betting became apparent during the latest sessions of the House’s Higher Education Committee. Members of the committee made adjustments to the legislation pertaining to sports betting previously approved by the Senate. However, these modifications failed to garner the necessary political backing.

Now, Georgians will have to wait until next year to know if the state still has a shot at finally legalizing sports betting in the state. At the moment, 12 states, including neighboring states like Alabama and South Carolina, have yet to legalize gambling.

About the Author
Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe is a seasoned gambling writer with more than four years of experience. Armed with a Masters degree in philosophy, Egbe possesses a unique ability to dissect complex industry developments, distilling them into insightful narratives that captivate readers.

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