Just recently, the Senate Special Judiciary Committee on a 5-2 vote, passed a statute to legalize mobile sports betting in Georgia. The state is currently in dire need of funds as a result of the pandemic. Currently, Georgia is looking for a revenue stream to fill up the $3.6 billion in budget cuts.
If the legislation passes, the Georgia Lottery Corporation will be in charge of supervising sports wagering in the state. Once legalized, well-known sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel will be able to operate in the peach state. Georgia’s sports betting bill is under House Bill 93.
What are the specifics of the bill?
Under this bill heralded by Sen. Bart Jones, mobile operators wishing to set up sports wagering in the state will have to abide by a few rules. For instance, the HB 93 bill requires all sportsbooks to pay a $50,000 application fee before they can begin operating in Georgia. They will also be required to part with $900,000 for the annual sports betting licensing fee.
Additionally, no punters under the age of 21 will be allowed to place bets, which is the same case in other legalized sports betting markets. The original bill proposed a 20 percent tax on sports betting companies. Legislators in Georgia believe that if sports wagering is legalized, it could potentially bring an additional $60 million in annual revenue.
This additional revenue will be used to help the HOPE scholarship fund, as well as ensure theta any pre-kindergarten programs are up and running. The HOPE scholarship fund allows eligible students that attend HOPE-eligible high schools to apply for scholarships that will enable them to attend any university in the state of Georgia.
Thanks to the coronavirus, the state is experiencing a multi-billion-dollar deficit, which is bound to affect such programs. If sports betting is permitted in the state, programs such as HOPE have a chance of surviving. This bill is supported by the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance, which is a federation of all the 4 major pro sports teams in Atlanta as they understand the powerful impact that sports wagering can bring to sports and the team in general.
So what’s next for Georgia?
Now that the sports betting bill has been passed, the state must wait until it goes to a full vote in the senate. Since legalized sports betting has received so much support in the last few months, the hurdles that are to be overcome are few at this stage.
To ensure success, both chambers must attain a two-thirds vote before the bill can move on to the next juncture. After, the House Bill 93 will then move on to the Governor’s office so that it can receive the approval needed for the public to vote it into law.
As for now, the people of Georgia should celebrate the small stuff. The Senate Committee’s momentous decision to approve the bill is a major move towards legalization. Though things are looking up, it is worth noting that this isn’t the first time that Georgia’s legislators have tried legalizing sports betting in the state.
Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the disastrous effects it has had on state revenue, legislators have been forced to seriously look into legalizing sports betting. Georgia and many other states all across the country are now turning to legal sports betting as a way of dealing with the budget deficit. So far, 20 states are already enjoying the benefits of legal sports betting.
Why should Georgia consider legalizing sports betting?
The sports betting industry will continue thriving
The sports betting industry is expected to keep thriving and growing, whether Georgia legalizes it or not. Sports betting in Georgia is still taking place, albeit illegally and it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Experts estimate that it can grow as high as $150 million.
However, now that the Supreme Court has legalized sports betting, states including Georgia ought to feel compelled to pass the legislation to legalize it so that people can continue betting in a regulated and fair environment.
Sports betting is good business
As mentioned earlier, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the economy. Legalizing sports betting is by far the best way for Georgia and other states to create the tax revenue needed to keep operations alive. Plus, legalizing sports betting will see an increase in job opportunities, which are needed more than ever during this tough period.
Which sportsbooks are scheduled to enter the Georgia sports betting market once it’s legalized?
Although it is definitely too early to determine whether sports betting will be legalized, Georgia is looking forward to welcoming some of the most popular sportsbooks in the state. In particular, FanDuel and DraftKings are already showing a lot of interest in the Georgia sports betting market. Both these sportsbooks are already operating in at least 6 states, including, as of two weeks ago, the state of Illinois, so you can expect that they will do everything possible to capitalize on the new Georgia market as soon as they can.
Before sportsbooks can set up shop, however, it is anticipated that mobile sports betting will take off first. This is great news for sportsbooks such as DraftKings as mobile betting falls right under their capability. Once the Peach State welcomes sports betting with open arms, people should expect FanDuel and DraftKings to be the first entrants.
Casino operators such as BetMGM will follow soon after, which will help sports betting to further grow in Georgia. The good news though is that the future looks bright for the legalized sports betting market in Georgia.
Georgia is considering legalizing online gambling, which is great news for lovers of sports and gambling enthusiasts in the state alike. Previously, sports betting was prohibited statewide except in 4 states- Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana.
A good number of Americans, including Georgians, already support the legalization of sports wagering. It also helps the President also owned a few casinos, which should propel Sports gambling’s case forward. For now, the only thing that punters in the state can do is hope and wait.