There has been a lot of talk in recent times of pushing forward with sports betting legislation in Georgia but nothing much came of it.
Sports bettors in Georgia will be excited to know that things have taken a step in the right direction as HB 86 was filed last week in the 2021 legislative session.
Georgia is one of the more conservative states in America and has resisted the push in years past for expanded gambling.
However, state legislators are now a lot more open to considering expanded gambling options as the state budget is in urgent need of a financial boost.
One of the reasons for this is because of the coronavirus pandemic which has burned a hole in the state economy. State legislators are looking for new streams of revenue to boost the state economy and fund charity organizations in the state.
The new legislation is called the “Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act” and looks to legalize sports betting. The bill aims to impose a 16 percent betting tax on licensed sports betting operators. The funds collected from the legalized betting industry will be used to fund the HOPE education scholarship in the state.
HB 86 is pushing forward with only online sports betting and no retail sports betting as Georgia does not have a licensed brick and mortar casino industry. Should Georgia proceed to legalize sports betting, it will be the second state in America after Tennessee to have only legalized online sports betting.
HB 86 Receives Bipartisan Support
HB 86 was filed by Rep. Ron Stephens who is very confident that it will get the necessary approval it needs in 2021. While other gambling related bills have not gained a lot of support in the past, HB 86 has already received bipartisan support.
The bill has been co-sponsored by three democratic and three republican senators. Apart from Stephens, the bill is backed by Rep. Al Williams, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Rep. Shelly Hutchinson, Rep. Lee Hawkins and Rep. Matt Dollar.
One reason why this bill could move forward quickly is because it pushes for the state lottery to regulate the sports betting market. If the bill sought to have an agency apart from the state lottery to regulate the industry, it would require the state constitution to be amended. Since it pushes for the state lottery to regulate sports betting, no amend to the constitution is required.