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Georgia bettors knew chances were slim that their state congress would get legal sports betting passed this year, and as expected legislative time ran out on the House and Senate as their 2022 session ended and this contentious issue – sports gambling – gets pushed back again.
As we reported, Georgia’s congress had little time to debate the two upgraded bills being considered – SB 142, which would legalize online and retail sports betting, and SR 135, which would allow residents to vote this year on a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting.
That legislation would have established a 20% tax rate plus a $100,000 application fee and a $1 million license fee to operate in Georgia, so lawmakers have essentially just said no to all that potential revenue, funds that were earmarked for Hope Scholarships, and financial aid.
Now Peach State gamblers might have to wait another couple of years for their favorite pastime to be legalized.
The Georgia legislature’s 2022 session wrapped up on April 4 and they will not meet again until next year, so that means that even in the best possible scenario where sports betting legislation gets passed and signed into law, a legal market won’t be in place until 2024 at the earliest.
As other states have already discovered, it takes time to properly set up, test, and regulate the new sports betting market with so many moving parts including outside operators who must align their existing sportsbooks to fit with whatever platforms Georgia decides to implement.
Over thirty other states have already launched their legal sports betting markets and have been benefitting from the new tax revenue stream that has been created, and with Tennessee and North Carolina being two of them, northern Georgian bettors are not afraid to make the drive.
The pushback on this issue seems to come from a moral argument that is based on the fear that legalizing sports betting would lead to greater levels of addiction, but what that stance fails to consider is the fact that this activity is taking place regardless of that state’s black market.
Opponents of legalizing and regulating sports betting continue to stall the issue in Georgia by delaying and eventually avoiding a vote on those bills in either the House or Senate during the 2022 session.
In the meantime, unregulated offshore sportsbooks and local bookies will continue to take all the Empire State of the South action which means millions of dollars will be spent elsewhere without any of it being used to benefit Georgia residents.
This reality is not lost on industry insiders in Georgia like Atlanta Braves CEO Derek Schiller, who recently told the press:
It’s time that we take it out of the shadows, regulate it, and that Georgia benefits from it in the form of tax dollars.
Sports gambling is happening in Georgia whether it’s made legal or not, so lawmakers must decide if regulating and taxing that existing black market is worth the downsides that some opponents fear.
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing 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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