Sports betting in Georgia have a last minute chance to pop by 2021.
The House Committee on Rules Advanced GA sports betting legislation back on the floor of the house Wednesday Afternoon where they are now waiting for their action on the last day of the 2021 session.
Legalization efforts were summed up in a domestic political tug-of-war in March. Legislation was withdrawn from the House, reassigned to the Regulatory Committee on March 25, and deemed dead for the year.
The legislation would put sports betting on the 2022 ballot and give Georgian citizens the casting vote.
Wait a month in Georgia
The Senators approved two laws, SR 135 and SB 142, on March 5, and sent them to the House.
A House bill, HB 86, to legalize sports betting had also received support during the session. It was withdrawn in early March.
Legislators seemed to largely understand the movement of states across the country legalizing an activity that is likely already taking place in Georgia.
“We only record income from an ongoing activity,” said Rep. Ron Stephens during a March hearing.
Then Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that severely restricted voting rights in the state, which emerged as a problem in the Sports Betting Act’s journey at the start of that session.
Sports betting in Georgia hit politics
After efforts by Republicans to curtail electoral rights, Democrats abandoned support for sports betting.
While Georgia House has a 103-76 majority, the issue requires a constitutional amendment and with it one two thirds of the vote.
The Georgian NAACP spoke out on Wednesday in “full opposition” to all laws relating to Georgian sports betting. The organization cited the state’s COVID-19 response and its constitutional challenge to the electoral reform law.
Did the Republicans kick their toes?
It’s not just Democrats, however, as some Conservatives were decidedly against gambling.
“I don’t think we have to put our official stamp on it and say these are great things,” Republican MP Randy Nix said in a hearing before voting no. “We’re going to gloss it over and fund all of these things. I just don’t think this is a great idea. “
Legislation also stood for a time when Republicans disliked the NBA-led effort against the ballots during the Atlanta All-Star game, according to PlayGeorgia. Professional sports teams like the Atlanta Hawks are proponents of sports betting bills.
Sports betting income is also a problem
Democrats also ask where the funds would go.
Income from taxes on sports betting like the lottery would help the state education system. Most of the tax revenue would be used for performance-based scholarships.
Several representatives during the hearings expressed their desire to have more money for needs-based scholarships.
What is Georgia Sports Betting Legislation for?
Georgia Lottery Corporation would operate sports betting in the state. At least six online sports betting providers would be licensed under the law.
Operators would pay an annual license fee of $ 100,000. The state would tax the income from sports betting at 20%.
The House Committee stripped the Senate bill to allow college sports betting.