Did Politics Stop Sports Betting in Georgia?
April 5, 2021
In recent weeks, there have been attempts by the Georgia state legislature to get some meaningful sports betting legislation on the table. The best of those efforts came with the Georgia House passing House Bill 86 and moving it on to the Senate. In combination with senate bills, SR 135 and SB 142, it looked like things were moving in the right direction for Georgia residents to be able to legally bet on sports by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, the Senate had issues with the House bill and sent it back to committee on March 25, 2021. That effectively killed any chances for sports betting legislation this year as the Georgia legislature went on recess on Apr1l 1, 2021.
After close scrutiny, it would seem the Democratic party decided to take a stand against this legislation as a form of payback to the Republican-controlled legislature for passing the new voters’ rights bill. The Democrats were against the passing of that bill because it requires voters to secure an ID in order to vote in coming elections. Apparently, they believe the purpose of requiring voter IDs is somehow tied to racism, though no one on the left can explain exactly why that is at this time.
The point is very clear. Georgia residents are being denied the right to bet on sports because two political parties are playing politics. Truth be known, the passing of gambling legislation should not get tied up in political disputes. Georgia residents have made it clear they want voter IDs, and they do want to be able to legally wager on sports.
What was in the Bill?
In a world of what might have been, what was in House Bill 86 is still of interest to Georgia residents and the gambling industry. While there is little to no chance a bill will get done in time to legalize sports betting in 2021, the hopes are high for 2022. There is enough agreement about what is in this bill from both political parties to serve as a great starting point when negotiations resume.
As for what was in the bill, the Georgia Lottery was going to be put in charge of sports betting operations. Since the state doesn't have licensed retail casinos to house sportsbooks, all of the state's sports betting would be handled through online sports betting websites or mobile apps.
There would have been at least six sports betting licenses to be allotted to applicants. Each approved licensee would have to pay an annual licensing fee of $100K along with paying taxes on net gambling revenue to the tune of 20%.
One of the most controversial parts of the bill was the elimination of collegiate sports betting completely. That figured to get a lot of heated press in a state where the Georgia Bulldogs And Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have such a huge following among sports fans and the corporate world.
When both parties get back to work later this year, it will be interesting to see where all of this sports betting legislation ends up.