There is a New Push by Georgia Lawmakers to Consider Legalizing Sports Betting
Atlanta Chamber of Commerce VP: “Georgians Trust Lottery to Administer Program.”
Threat of Problem Gambling Serves as Major Pushback to Issue
As the year 2023 begins, over sixty percent of U.S. states have legalized sports betting in place and operational, but Georgia is not one of them, still a holdout despite watching its neighbors partake, though that might soon change according to Richard Elliot of WSB-TV Channel 2.
Thanks to recent polling done in the state of Georgia, it has been reportedly revealed that the majority of residents are in favor of legalizing sports betting there, with WSB talking to local business owners like Will Silvernagel who owns a Crispy Express restaurant and is all for it.
“I think they should do it. Hopefully, some of that goes back to the schools and the communities. I think it’s great.”
That’s a general idea – to create a legal sports betting business model in each state that regulates an activity that already happens illegally which gives the state a chance to tax the revenue that those legal wagers create and reinvest that money to serve the residents.
Georgia seems to be the perfect place for such a market, their love of sports made obvious by all the teams and leagues who make a home there, including Atlanta United (MLS), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Atlanta Falcons (NFL), and Atlanta Dream (WNBA), plus 29 NCAA schools.
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in Georgia, so it makes sense that leaders from that area are pushing this legal sports betting issue forward.
Legal sports betting in the U.S. has become a cash cow for the over thirty states who are already participating, so far that combined market having generated a $178.6 billion handle since its inception in May 2018 when the Supreme Court first overturned PASPA.
That’s allowed each state to legalize, regulate, and tax their own sports betting market, which has created $13.4 billion in profits which translates to $2.2 billion in tax revenue for those states, money that most reinvest in programs that fund infrastructure, education, sports, and addiction.
WSB-TV talked to Marshal Guest, the senior vice president for public policy at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, who told the news channel that they are pushing for this legislation along with every professional sports team in Atlanta.
“The lottery is really the entity that Georgians trust to administer this program … Of course, we trust [state lawmakers’] wisdom to do this the right way that benefits Georgia, so this is a win for Georgia, for Georgia residents and Georgia students, our future workforce.”
However, there is still strong pushback from a minority of concerned Georgians.
Some Peach State residents are not in favor of legalizing sports betting for residents because of their fear of fueling a rise of problem gambling, a take that WSB-TV heard from Faith and Freedom Coalition spokesperson Mack Parnell.
Parnell predicts a wide range of trouble that could erupt if sports betting were to be made legal there in Georgia, from bankruptcies to divorce, to mental health issues, all easily avoided by taking a pass on the “gambling business,” telling the news channel:
“When it comes to sports gambling, it’s a bad bet for Georgia. There are so many pressing issues that have a more direct impact, positive impact on Georgia families and hardworking Georgians than expanding gambling in any sense.”
Georgia’s 2023-2024 Biennium legislative session starts this week, so expect there to be some fresh debate on this issue and keep checking back for all 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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