Georgia Sports Betting Bill Skips Constitutional Amendment

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Posted on: January 30, 2024, 03:01h. 

Last updated on: January 31, 2024, 11:40h.

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A authorities Senate committee overwhelmingly approved authorities to legalize sports betting successful Georgia. Senate Bill 386 passed nan Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee pinch an 8–2 ballot connected Tuesday.

Georgia State Senator Clint Dixon (R) has introduced authorities to legalize online sports betting successful nan Peach State. (Image: Chattanooga Times Free Press)

It’s the 2nd sports gambling measure filed successful nan enclosure this month. The first measure, SB 172, precocious earlier this month. The quality is that SB 386, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford), wouldn’t require a elector referendum to walk a law amendment to let sports betting.

Voters amended nan constitution to let a lottery successful 1992.

“There is nary law amendment required because each nan costs are going to nan lottery to money pre-K and HOPE,” said Dixon.

HOPE Scholarships are for students who execute astatine slightest a “B” mean successful precocious school.

We judge this measure has brought a triumph for Georgia.” Said Nick Fernandez of nan Metro Atlanta Chamber. The Chamber supports nan scheme on pinch Atlanta’s pro sports teams.

While nan measure does person immoderate bipartisan support, lawmakers stalled gaming description complete law amendment questions successful 2023.

The Senate Rules Committee must now determine whether to put nan authorities earlier nan afloat Senate.

Constitution Requirement Debate Heats

Opponents pass SB 386 could beryllium declared unconstitutional, saying voters successful 1992 apt ne'er believed they were authorizing sports betting erstwhile they approved nan lottery.

“I don’t judge this end-around is going to work,” said Mike Griffin, a lobbyist for Georgia’s Southern Baptist churches.

Georgia’s erstwhile Chief Justice Harold Melton issued an opinion successful 2023 that a law amendment isn’t needed to authorize gambling connected sports. As reported by, Melton concluded authorities lawmakers person nan ineligible authority to walk authorities that ends Georgia’s prohibition connected sports betting.

Supporters judge sports betting would bring economical benefits, while opponents disregard those claims pinch addiction concerns and oversized losses of individual money.

“The disastrous effects of problem gambling are well-known and well-documented,” said Mack Parnell, executive head of nan Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky were nan first 3 states successful nan Southeastern Conference (SEC) to legalize sports gambling.

What’s successful nan Bill

The bill, called nan “Georgia Lottery Game of Sports Betting Act,” is constricted to online wagering only. The measure would taxation gamblers’ winnings astatine 20%.

As galore arsenic 16 licenses would beryllium made available, and Georgia’s master sports teams, including nan Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks,  Dream, and Atlanta FC, would each clasp authorities to partner pinch operators. The PGA Tour, Augusta National Golf Course, and Atlanta Motor Speedway would besides beryllium eligible.

The authorities lottery would beryllium allowed to clasp a licence and would beryllium allowed to grant 7 sports betting licenses to operators done a nationalist procurement process.

Georgia sports betting would beryllium unfastened to adults 21 and older.

The measure requires wagering to statesman successful nan authorities nary later than Jan. 31, 2025.

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