Georgia Sports Betting Bill Fails Once Again

Measure Never Gets Vote in State House

Another year, another year without sports betting in Georgia. To the surprise of few people, a Georgia sports betting bill fails to get a vote in the Georgia Legislature’s House. It was the same situation in 2022.

Political bickering has kept Georgia residents from being able to legally bet on sports for several years. It will happen once again, as some Democrats withdrew support in protest after the passage of a bill limiting healthcare treatments for transgender children.

There was also plenty of disagreement on how the state’s tax revenue would be spent. Both Republicans and Democrats were under the agreement most of the funds should be used for education. But Republicans wanted the funds for pre-K education.

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A number of Democrats wanted money used for college financial aid that didn’t require students to maintain certain grades, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Georgia sports betting bill fail once again.

A bill to legalize sports gambling passed the Senate but ran into trouble in front of the House Higher Education Committee. The committee changed the allotment of revenue from pre-K to include the HOPE scholarship.

Even though House Minority Whip Sam Park voted to advance Senate Resolution 579 and Senate Bill 386, he didn’t support the changes to the bill by the Higher Education Committee.

“It deviates from the bipartisan compromise in the state Senate that prioritized funding for voluntary pre-K,” he said.

Constitutional Amendment Hang-Up

One other sticking point was if sports betting needed to be implemented by a constitutional amendment. Some politicians thought it didn’t need one. Others, including bill sponsor Sen. Bill Cowsert, believes there should be one. That would allow Georgia voters the chance to weigh in on the matter.

“I think it’s the politically appropriate thing to do when we make this type of major policy shift in our state,” Cowsert said. “This is to give voters the opportunity to speak on the issue.”

There was also debate between members on both sides of the gambling issue. Some didn’t want to increase gambling in Georgia. Others said it’s already taking place in the state. Legalization would allow people to bet sports online in a regulated marketplace.

This allows us to get those people off an illegal market into a legal market, allows us to regulate it and tax it, and take care and protect Georgia citizens,” said Rep. Marcus Wiedower, a Republican sponsoring the measure in the House.

However, Clay Pirkle, a fellow Republican, said legalizing gambling will bring more people into it. He was pleased to see the Georgia sports betting bill fail to get enough support to pass.

“When it is sanctioned by the state, to me it provides a different level,” he said. “If the state says it’s OK, it becomes OK for a lot of people not doing this now.”

The betting trends are showing states with legalized sports gambling are making millions of dollars. That would have been the case in Georgia, but it will have to wait until next year.

For Gambling news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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