Georgia is one of the latest states to explore legalizing sports betting, and there is hope that it can happen by the summer of this year. A 37-page bill was filed on Thursday, and now the fight to gain support from other lawmakers has begun.
The bill was titled “Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Act” and was officially filed as HB 86. Representative Ron Stephens is the main sponsor of the legislation, but he has co-sponsors from both political parties.
This bill would allow for online-only sports betting in Georgia, with six operating licenses available. This number could change as the bill is amended, but this does provide a great starting point.
Under this proposal, the Georgia Lottery would oversee and regulate the sports betting industry, with a majority of the funds going to provide scholarships and run other educational programs in the state. Georgia is looking at a massive budget deficit for the current fiscal year, and sports betting could provide a new source of revenue.
Governor Could Veto
This is not the first time that a sports betting bill has been filed in Georgia, as an attempt was made in 2020 as well. That bill eventually stalled in the Senate, but there was plenty of discussion, which could provide some hope this time around.
Governor Brian Kemp is not a fan of expanded gambling in the state, and he could ultimately veto any sports betting bill that lands on his desk. Gaining enough bi-partisan support for HB 86 is the first step, but the potential revenue could play a key role in the bill being passed.
Plenty of Popular Teams
If Georgia were to legalize and launch online sports betting, there would be plenty of professional and collegiate teams to drive the industry. Atlanta is home to some very popular professional teams, including the Atlanta Falcons.
Football is the most popular sport to bet on in the United States, and college football could also bring plenty of revenue. The University of Georgia has a massive following, but the state is right in the heart of SEC football country.
Getting the industry launched will prove to be the most difficult challenge when it comes to sports betting, but posting massive handle and revenue figures won’t be difficult.
Tennessee Provides an Example
If Georgia lawmakers are looking for an example when trying to establish its sports betting industry, Tennessee would be a great place to look. In November 2020, Tennessee became the first online-only sports betting market in the US.
Some industry experts wondered about Tennessee’s potential, but that question was answered during the first month. During the first month, the total sports betting handle was over $130 million, which was the highest total ever recorded during the first full month.
These two states could compete for sports betting customers if Georgia can get a bill passed. Allowing remote registration and an online-only market is great for visitors of that region to place bets when they are within state borders.