Georgia is Expecting Legalization of Online Sports Betting

A Republican state lawmaker made an attempt to legalize sports betting in Georgia without the constitutional amends that gambling expansion usually requires.

Ron Stephens, House Tourism and Economic Development Chairman of Savannah filed a bill that authorizes the Georgia Lottery to manage an online sports wagering system. Some of the future earning of sports betting will go to HOPE scholars.

The regulation is forced by the fact that according to some sports supporters, illegal sports betting is worth of $1.5 billion. The legalization will bring the cash straight to the legal market.

Stephens expressed his anticipation that the regulation will bring “upward of $100 million in tax revenue,” He added: “In the big scheme of things, it’s not a lot, but its an additional game that the lottery would offer.”

According to some critics, the state earnings are exaggerated by supporters of the regulation.

Contribution to Good Causes

A lottery contributed $1.2 billion in 2020 to education programs like HOPE continuing to do so in 2021. According to the bill, 16% of tax income from sports betting companies will go to HOPE scholarship.

The new regulation policy will be supported by a coalition of four professional Atlanta sports franchises forming the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance – the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United.

According to Derek Schiller, Atlanta Braves President and CEO this policy is one of a kind for it manages to bring all four franchises together for the first time since 2019 when the alliance was established.

Schiller added that the alliance would not receive direct revenue. He stated that the new law was good for the fans but also for the whole state “because it drives new tax revenue to the state, especially in this unique time…”

Gambling supporters have been expecting the Legislation for years now. The first hope for change came in 2019 when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling opened the door for legal sports betting in the state.

Gambling supporters in Georgia are hopeful, since after a long waiting period, the state of Michigan will finally be launching online casino gaming and sports betting this month.

The legalization will require support from two-thirds in each chamber of the Legislature and a majority of Georgia voters. Which means that there is still a long way to go. But Stephen is very hopeful. He shared his plans to file legislation that would ask voters about their opinion in regards of the regulation.

First he filed the bill that would lead to legalization of sports betting, since it needs a big supports from each chamber’s member. He said that this was the path of least resistance and added: “Then, hopefully, it would build the momentum to get the other ones through.”

Source: “Backers begin another bid to legalize sports betting in Georgia”, Atlanta News Now, January 15, 2021

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