Georgia Senate Passes Online Sports Betting Bill With One Gigantic Catch

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Atlanta Braves logo connected immense baseball

The Georgia Senate passed a measure connected Thursday to legalize online sports betting, but an amendment could service arsenic a awesome obstacle. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Bipartisan support

The bully news for Georgians who would for illustration to wager a fewer bucks connected their favourite squad now and then: nan Georgia Senate passed a measure that would legalize online sports betting successful nan state. The bad news astir Senate Bill 386: nan Senate besides attached an amendment that would require a law amendment to make sports betting a reality. It is that amendment that puts nan authorities successful jeopardy.

up to 16 sports betting licenses

The bill, which passed easy successful a bipartisan 35-15 ballot connected Thursday, authorizes nan Georgia Lottery to rumor up to 16 sports betting licenses. Seven could spell to gaming companies specified arsenic BetMGM and FanDuel, 3 would beryllium fixed to nan PGA, Augusta National Golf Club, and Atlanta Motor Speedway, and 5 would spell to nan state’s awesome master sports teams: MLB’s Atlanta Braves, NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, and MLS’ Atlanta United.

The past licence would beryllium held by nan Georgia Lottery itself.

Gross gaming gross would beryllium taxed astatine 20%. The 7 licenses for nan independent companies would travel pinch a $100,000 exertion interest and a $1m yearly fee.

Constitution amendment is simply a immense obstacle

That nan Senate passed the bill is each good and good, but it besides passed Republican Sen. Bill Cowsert’s amendment that would require a law amendment earlier sports betting would go ineligible successful nan state. Constitutional amendments necessitate 38 votes successful nan Senate (two-thirds of nan chamber), much than nan measure received, and a statewide referendum voted upon by Georgia residents.

non-constitutional amendment rule could get changeable down successful court

A law amendment is intelligibly a much difficult way to passage, making galore fearfulness that sports betting is doomed to neglect erstwhile again successful Georgia. Cowsert pushed for nan amendment because he is acrophobic that because sports betting wasn’t included successful nan 1992 referendum that authorized nan lottery, a non-constitutional amendment rule could get changeable down successful tribunal if personification presented a ineligible challenge.

Other proponents of nan law amendment way judge it is only adjacent to let authorities voters to decide, since sports betting was not what they voted connected successful 1992.

Money for education

One of nan superior reasons lawmakers are eager to legalize sports betting is to money nationalist pre-K classes and nan HOPE Scholarship program. The HOPE Scholarship, which awards partial aliases afloat assemblage scholarships to students who execute astatine slightest a 3.0 GPA and enroll successful an in-state school, has been truthful celebrated since it was created successful 1993 that nan authorities coffers person had problem keeping up pinch demand.

sports betting could lend different $100m per year

Funds from nan Georgia Lottery spell toward these world programs, but lawmakers judge that sports betting could lend different $100m per year.

Some supporters of nan law amendment – Democrats, successful peculiar – favored it because it would let sports betting taxation gross to spell to different programs different than conscionable pre-K and nan HOPE Scholarship. Specifically important to immoderate are need-based scholarships; nan HOPE Scholarship is merit-based.

The measure now moves connected to nan Senate, where akin bills person gone to die successful erstwhile years, often because of fights astir unrelated issues. With nan law amendment a apt problem successful summation to nan accustomed bickering successful nan House, nan dream is that getting it complete location astir 2 months earlier nan March 28 extremity of nan legislative convention will springiness Representatives clip to inquire questions and hash retired their differences.

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