Georgia Senate Gives First Hearing to Sports Betting Bill

On Tuesday, the Georgia House of Representatives conducted its inaugural hearing on a significant proposal concerning mobile sports betting in Georgia. This bill was initially passed by the Georgia Senate in early February.

During this time, Senate Bill 386 garnered a favorable vote of 35-15 in the Senate. Spearheaded by state Senator Clint Dixon (R-Burford), the bill aims to establish a framework for mobile sports betting across Georgia. If enacted, the legislation would authorize the issuance of up to 16 sports betting licenses, with a notable provision earmarking eight licenses to be tied to professional sports franchises or organizations within the state.

According to the bill, five licenses would be set aside specifically for Georgia’s professional sports franchises:

  • NFL’s Atlanta Falcons
  • MLB’s Atlanta Braves
  • NBA’s Atlanta Hawks
  • WNBA’s Atlanta Dream
  • MLS’ Atlanta United

In addition, the PGA of America, the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Augusta National Golf Club — which is known throughout the world for being the home of the Masters tournament — would all be qualified to receive retail and online sports betting licenses. Moreover, the Atlanta Lottery Corporation is prepared to manage sportsbook rights, guaranteeing a thorough strategy for sports wagering in the state.

Dixon addressed the committee, highlighting key provisions that emphasized the inclusion of college sports betting within the proposed legislation, specifying a tax rate of 20% on wagering.

Moreover, Dixon detailed the financial aspects of the bill, disclosing that the application fee for licenses would amount to $100,000. This fee is intended to cover administrative costs and ensure thorough vetting of applicants. Furthermore, he mentioned the imposition of a substantial $1 million annual renewal fee, reflecting ongoing operational expenses and regulatory oversight.

Fantasy Sports Remains a Core Subject in Sports Betting Bill

At the Tuesday meeting, Dixon spoke about the potential inclusion of daily fantasy sports in the bill. While representatives of faith-based and anti-gambling organizations expressed their concerns, representatives from a variety of daily fantasy firms argued in favor of including their competitions in the law.

PrizePicks’ Director of Government Affairs, Stuart Wilkinson, endorsed the inclusion of DFS in the bill. He stressed the significance of creating a framework that other states, in addition to Georgia, might use as a model. Wilkinson emphasized that legalizing and regulating fantasy sports betting might result in tax revenues that are higher than those anticipated from sports betting alone.

Like every other state, there is always a strong opposition party that will strike out the benefits of sports betting revenue generation over the cons of sports betting. Mike Griffin, serving as the public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, argues that legislative endeavors aimed at addressing problem gambling, such as SR 579, which mandates a portion of the tax benefits to be allocated towards problem gambling programs, are ineffective.

“There’s no amount of money that can be raised that will overcome the detriments of state-sponsored predatory gambling. The facts and data have already been given before the U.S. Congress that show for every dollar raised in tax revenue from gambling, it costs another three to five dollars in social costs to the government and the taxpayer,” Griffin said.


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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