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A Recent Statewide Poll Finds Likely GA Voters Unsure About Legalizing Sports Betting
Sports Betting Already Occurs in Georgia via a “Black Market” of Offshore Sportsbooks
GA’s Neighbor Tennessee has Generated $80 Million in Sports Betting Tax Revenue
If you are looking for southern hospitality, Georgia is the place to go but not if you enjoy betting legally on sports, at least that is according to a recent statewide poll released earlier this month that revealed only 45.6% of those questioned are in favor of legalizing sports gambling there.
Of course, only 42.6% of likely voters polled said that they were opposed to the issue outright, and almost 12% of those asked didn’t have a clue, either way, a ‘meh’ response to joining a multi-billion dollar industry that has been growing and expanding in the U.S. since May 2018.
That’s when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA and gave each state the right to legalize, regulate, and tax their own sports betting market, and over thirty states have done so already with more on the way, though it does not look like Georgia will be joining them anytime soon.
One of those likely voters against the idea of legalizing sports wagering in Georgia told pollsters that activity “takes away from the game itself,” and is worried that “crime can come into…sports” when there is legal gambling going on, but those arguments ignore a simple fact of life:
Sports gambling is already happening in Georgia, it’s just not being regulated or taxed yet.
The U.S. has already figured out the hard way that drinkers will drink, and stoners will smoke up even if you make those activities illegal through prohibition, and now the same powers that be are learning that gamblers will gamble and have been for years, just illegally if they must.
That’s according to Bill Pascrell, III, Esq., Trustee at Entain Foundation U.S., and Partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group, who told WSN that betting on the outcomes of sporting events happens across the U.S. regardless of its legal status:
"Sports betting takes place in every state in the country- including those that don't have a legal, regulated framework in place. The gambling black market, which I guarantee is currently utilized by Georgia residents, offers no responsible gambling protocols to speak of, does not generate tax revenue, and is by nature unregulated.”
All that untaxed action goes straight to the unchecked offshore sportsbooks and illegal local bookies while problem gamblers fall through the cracks, whereas with suitable regulation Pascrell says, “Georgia could ensure proper precaution is taken to protect vulnerable populations.”
Not to mention it would staunch the outward flow of revenue.
Since its inception in 2018, the legal U.S. sports betting market has generated $157B in the handle and $11.6B in sportsbook revenue which has equated to $1.8B in tax revenue for all those states involved, and much of that money has been reinvested in projects that benefit residents.
Martin Lycka, Trustee at Entain Foundation U.S. and SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, tells WSN that Georgia’s neighbor Tennessee “has generated $80 million in sports betting tax revenue since 2020” which “funds education and mental health programs.”
Lycka explains that legalizing sports betting in Georgia would create social benefits that could affect everyone living there including non-gamblers:
“While there are many reasons to support legalizing sports betting beyond tax revenue generation, Georgia voters should consider the tremendous impact that legalization would have on education, key government services, and mental health in their state."
GA’s next legislative session convenes on Jan. 9, 2023, so chances are legal sports betting debate will be on the docket, but meanwhile, millions of dollars worth of sports gambling action will keep flowing elsewhere, an ironic version of the Peach State’s famous southern hospitality.
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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