In Georgia, there are a plethora of professional and collegiate sports teams. The Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United FC, Dream, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and more. But, you cannot bet on sports in the state of Georgia.
Yet, that is.
In August, the future of sports betting in Georgia began to pick up steam after the Georgia Lottery was involved in two meetings that involved Atlanta’s pro sports teams, who are in favor of sports betting in Georgia.
The Senate has already discussed the potential legal ramifications of horse racing and sports betting in the state, and Georgians have expressed the want for legal sports betting after seeing many other US states add it to their offerings.
Georgia Sports Betting 2020?
Given the fact that three sports betting bills were introduced in the 2019 legislative session and recent news and discussion, it is very likely it will be re-introduced and/or discussed in the 2020 session as well.
The Senate Gaming and Parimutuel Wagering on Horse Racing and Growing Georgia’s Equine Industry Study Committee recently met to discuss these issues, and chairman and Senator Brandon Beach mentioned that the entire committee “really just [has] a lot of questions about how this industry works” according to TheCentreSquare.
The committee discussed the pros and cons of sports betting in the state, but it is nothing shocking. It adds a revenue stream to the state, but in a southern state it risks social issues, like always. In order for Georgia to have sports betting, it would likely need to amend the state’s constitution. The best way to do so is by referendum, which needs a two-thirds vote from congress in addition to a majority vote from state voters. This is not an easy or timely process.
WATCH the second meeting of the Georgia Senate Study Committee on Gaming and Pari-mutual Wagering on Horse Racing and Growing Georgia's Equine Industry. https://t.co/VfBGqF6mXe
— Rahul Bali (@rahulbali) October 8, 2019
Regional Sports Betting Competition
Georgia loses out to other states that are close by that have already legalized and/or offered sports betting, like Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Tennessee. The Peach State will not want to fall behind, as other states have in the northeast (like Maryland and some New England states) with bettors traveling over state lines to bet, and the state getting nothing from it.
In addition, neighboring states to Georgia like Florida and South Carolina are not near in terms of legalizing, so residents would surely travel to the state to bet if need be. Given the popularity of college football in this region, this is a certain benefit Georgia would take great advantage of.
Given the massive number of people in Georgia, the college football following in SEC country, and of course all of Atlanta’s pro teams, it would be highly beneficial for the state to gain taxes from sports betting.