Lawmakers failed to approve Georgia gambling legalization for several years. Pay per head insiders do not expect it to pass through the General Assembly in 2024. However, some people are betting on sports betting to become legal faster than horse racing and casinos in the state.
In a legal opinion written during this year’s legislative session, former Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton stated that sports betting may become law in Georgia without altering the state’s constitution. Thus, it has an apparent head start on casinos and horse racing.
Since Melton considered sports betting a lottery game, it could be regulated by the Georgia Lottery Corp., which was previously written into the Georgia constitution by popular vote in 1992.
A few others disagreed. Some legislators advocated for a constitutional change to allow Georgians a say on the issue of sports betting. A competing sports betting constitutional amendment bill was submitted in the Senate. According to bookie pay per head reports, the Senate ultimately shot down both bills, delaying their implementation until 2024.
Georgia Gambling Legalization in Discussion
Jones, the Senate president, has stated that he anticipates the Senate will again be in the vanguard on sports betting when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce is expected to be a significant proponent of the initiative. Atlanta’s four major sports clubs have come together to support sports betting throughout recent legislative sessions, and the chamber works closely with them.
The chamber’s senior vice president, Marshall Guest, reported that 38 states had legalized sports betting after a 2018 Supreme Court decision allowed them to do so. Tennessee and North Carolina, both of which are close by, are included.
According to a political news forum, guests and others highlighted the potential tax income the state might make from sports betting. Most of the revenue will go to Georgia’s wildly popular HOPE Scholarships and Pre-Kindergarten programs under the different legislative plans that have been explored.
According to State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, a longstanding proponent of regulated gambling, sports betting’s revenue benefits are compelling for lawmakers to take the constitutional amendment route.
A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the state House of Representatives and Senate before it can go to the voters. It is a more onerous hurdle than measures that merely need a simple majority to succeed.