House Approval Brings Georgia Online Sports Betting One Step Closer

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Georgia’s House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted in favor of House Bill 86, the “Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act.” This seeks to amend current restrictions on sports betting in Georgia, the first step toward bringing legal online sportsbooks to the state.

The bill will now go to the full Georgia House for further debate, and a House-Senate conference committee will likely form as a result. That means the proposals throughout House Bill 86 are expected to change in significant ways as it moves forward.

Georgia Sports Betting Structure

As it stands, the bill would allow the Georgia Lottery to approve six sports betting licenses for online betting. The licensees would have to pay $900,000 per year to maintain the license plus a 14% revenue tax. Both the annual fee and the ongoing taxes would support things like HOPE Scholarships, child care subsidies, and beyond. 

Early estimates suggest that even a 10% revenue tax on online sportsbooks could bring as much as $42 million per year to these and related programs.

For Georgia sports bettors, the bill would restrict betting on college and high school sports. It would also require all participants to be at least 21 years old, three years above the Georgia Lottery’s age requirement of 18 and up.

Georgia today is where Virginia was in 2019, a state with no land-based casinos or retail sportsbooks. But, unlike in Virginia, the new Georgia sports betting legislation would not necessarily bring brick-and-mortar casinos to the state. 

Instead, the sportsbooks would be available without a partnership with a casino – and possibly without a retail sportsbook location either.

In Virginia, the legal online sports betting became available in January 2021, well over a year before the first brick-and-mortar casinos plan to open in the state. Anyone over 21 can join an online sports betting app or website and wager from anywhere within states lines. 

If this Georgia House bill were to become law unchanged, it would mean folks in the state could wager on professional sports without access to casino gaming or retail sportsbooks.

However, the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act is expected to change in a variety of ways. The most significant changes will be what you’re allowed to bet on, as states with sports betting usually accept bets for college sports. However, some areas restrict bets on in-state college teams as well as prop bets and in-game bets on all college sports.

Georgia House Representative Ron Stephens, one of the most vocal lawmakers in support of Georgia sports betting legalization, claims that sports bettors in the state already place billions in illegal bets. That means all those potential tax dollars are going to offshore sports betting sites or underground bookies, neither of which generate revenue for the state.

For now, Georgia sports bettors can only play the waiting game to see how things shape up. But Gaming Today will be on top of the state’s online sports betting developments every step of the way.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani is a Contributor and Editor at Gaming Today. As an online gambling expert, he specializes in bonus offers, how-to's, and reviews of betting sites to help you keep more of your money while having fun and staying safe.

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