Time Has (Maybe) Run Out for Georgia Sports Betting in 2023

Sports betting bills are dead for the rest of the 2023 Georgia legislative session. But legal sports betting’s chances might not be. 

There is a possibility that sports betting legislation that didn’t survive Monday’s crossover deadline – the last chance for legislation to make a first pass from one Georgia legislative chamber to the other – could be tacked onto a bill that did make it through to the other chamber by the deadline. 

Should lawmakers choose that route, sports betting provisions would likely be tacked onto another gambling or lottery bill. Both houses would have to approve the proposal, as they would with any sports betting bill. 

But it remains to be seen if sponsors of Georgia sports betting legislation this session will pursue other options before the current session ends on or around March 30.

Proposed Georgia Sports Betting Laws, Constitutional Amendments Lose Steam 

Two Georgia sports betting proposals died on Monday within hours – and in one case, minutes – before the crossover deadline passed at midnight on Monday.

One of the proposals was HB 380, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Wiedower, R-Watkinsville. The bill was expected to be called for a vote just minutes before midnight but was passed over by House leadership instead. 

HB 380 would have legalized up to 16 online sportsbooks by statute only – not by constitutional amendment. Sports betting would have been allowed on pro and college sports, auto racing, esports, and other events, all potentially in time for the 2024 Super Bowl

The other proposal to perish on Monday was a proposed constitutional amendment that would have put sports betting before Georgia voters in Nov. 2024, with a potential launch date sometime in 2025. That proposal (SR 140) died in the Senate Monday afternoon when it failed to get two-thirds Senate approval needed to crossover to the House.

The two proposals were the latest of a handful of sports betting bills to die this session. Others included SB 57 and HR 210. SB 57, which would have legalized retail and online sports betting as well as fixed-odds horse race betting, was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 19-37 on March 2. 

HR 210, another proposed constitutional amendment, never made it out of a House committee. 

What’s Next for Georgia Sports Betting? 

With fewer than 23 legislative days remaining in the current legislative session, the chances of Georgia sports betting riding to a win on the coattails of another bill is a big “if.” 

But it’s possible. Pro sports teams want legal sports betting in Georgia. So do sportsbook operators. 

DraftKings Government Affairs Counsel John Mohrmann testified in favor of HB 380 in a Georgia House committee on Feb. 21. Mohrmann represents the Sports Betting Alliance – a lobbying group backed by DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Fanatics, all of which want legal sports betting in the Peach State.

“This bill in its current form represents a compromise between many stakeholders, not the least of which is this very committee and the other members of the Georgia General Assembly,” Mohrmann said then of HB 380.

It’s up to Georgia state lawmakers what happens next.

photo by: Alexander Lukatskiy

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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