Throughout the 2024 legislative session, the Georgia state senators unequivocally expressed their unwavering support for implementing sports wagering regulations within the state. As a result, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee voted 8:4 in favor of Senate Bill 172 with respect to this matter. Subsequently, the complete Senate shall be presented with this for additional deliberations and discussions.
SB 172, if fully implemented, would authorize sports wagering in Georgia through ratifying a constitutional amendment and establishing a gambling commission tasked with regulating the industry.
As per the bill’s sponsor, Bill Cowsert, specific constituents will propel the legislation forward. The current imperative for his decision is to reach a conclusion and proceed to the subsequent phase expeditiously.
Multiple measures aimed at regulating online and in-person sports gambling at sportsbook outlets failed to produce a beneficial outcome in 2023. The legislative meeting in 2024 is the sixth consecutive term with a single bill aimed at furthering gaming.
SB 172 does not regulate sports betting on its own. Legislators are required to draft a separate proposed constitutional amendment. Following that, a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate and approval from Georgia voters will be required.
Cowsert believes that there is a need for an amendment because Georgia voters committed to a lottery in 1992, at a time when sports bettors could lay their bets personally in Nevada casinos.
Gambling is now prohibited by Georgia’s constitution. Cowsert is well aware that legalizing sports betting through a constitutional amendment will reduce regulatory burdens.
As per betting news, Harold Melton, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, stated that an amendment to the Constitution is not required to regulate sports betting.
In light of the Chief Justice’s stance and the measures’ lack of support concerning sports wagering in 2023, every alternative approach to sports wagering regulation was under consideration.
One potential resolution entailed the Assembly permitting sports betting through a lottery system and granting the Georgia Lottery the authority to authorize online sportsbooks. The simple prerequisite for this is the support of an absolute majority in both the House and Senate.
State Senator Brandon Beach, in a December statement, declared his intention to introduce comparable legislation that would encompass three casino resorts, a race track, and a mobile sportsbook.
Divergent perspectives exist regarding the equitable distribution of profits generated from gambling. A significant proportion of Democrats advocate for its allocation to educational scholarships. Republicans, on the other hand, appear to be adamantly opposed to the idea of sports betting.
At this time, specific varieties of sports wagering are permitted in 38 states and the District of Columbia.