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Despite prior failed attempts by Georgia lawmakers to push sports betting bill through their state legislature, Peach State bettors are still hopeful that at some point in the near future they will be able to place legal sports wagers from anywhere in the state.
Earlier this week, Georgia Senator David Lucas and state Representative Robert Dickey spoke with 13WMAZ radio in Macon and from the sound of it, they are optimistic about another sports betting bill being debated in the upcoming legislative session.
Sen. Lucas does not believe the issue of Georgia residents placing legal sports bets should be divisive given that they are already engaging in those activities by using offshore sportsbooks, illegal bookies, and traveling to nearby states like Tennessee where it is already legal.
To the listeners of 13WMAZ, Sen. Lucas was clear on his legal sports betting stance:
It’s not controversial. People are doing it anyway. They’re doing it now. People make wagers all the time. People gamble all the time.
One sticking point in this ongoing debate, according to Rep. Dickey, is what Georgia would do with those additional funds once they are being generated by a legal sports betting market, saying:
I don’t think we’re all on one page even if you were to pass [a sports betting bill]… where to apply the extra revenue.
In that regard, there are plenty of possibilities being considered.
One of the suggestions made by Sen. Lucas for where to apply the additional tax revenue that a legal sports betting market would be to potentially help the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Other states, like neighboring Tennessee, have found plenty of worthy recipients for the money they now have flowing back via the 20% tax rate they charge sportsbooks, such as educational scholarships, roads and other infrastructure projects, and gambling addiction programs.
Regardless of where or how that tax revenue would be spent, the main point some Georgia lawmakers are arguing is that this is money that is already being spent illegally by gamblers in the state, so why not regulate and tax that revenue stream and have it benefit residents?
All those points and more will most likely be debated in Georgia’s upcoming legislative session.
Several bills in the past have already been put to the Georgia House but for various reasons, those pieces of legislature never made it to the Senate.
The hope now by state lawmakers like Lucas is that those state leaders now against this issue are beginning to see how legalizing, regulating, and taxing this existing revenue stream makes sense, especially for the residents who would benefit from the new money.
The next legislative session in Georgia is scheduled to start on January 10 and last until it adjourns on March 31, giving lawmakers over two and a half months to debate and create a workable bill, so check back for the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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