New Bill Introduced to Legalize Online Sports Betting in Georgia
Lawmakers have filed a bill looking to legalize online sports betting in the state of Georgia.
The bill would modify the Official Code of Georgia and permit the act of online sports betting, with the Georgia Lottery Corporation managing the supervision.
State Representative Ron Stephens is sponsoring the bill and has stated that legalizing sports gambling can help improve the state budget.
He also revealed that the legislation would not need any amendments in the constitution because the plan is to run it through the Georgia Lottery Corporation and fund educational programs, such as the HOPE scholarship and preschool programs.
According to the proposal, there would be several licenses accessible to operators for a non-refundable fee of $50,000 and a further renewal charge of $900,000 annually to retain the license.
The bill also suggests taxing the gross sports betting revenue at 16%, which would be payable monthly.
Currently, Americans bet more than $150 billion on sports yearly through offshore sites. The state could benefit from additional revenue, especially taking into account a significant budget deficit that was brought on by the pandemic.
Those in Favour
Many professional sports teams believe that passing this bill could not only reduce black market gambling but also increase fan engagement, which is the main point of interest for the teams.
Past Attempts and Current Laws
Georgia has one of the strictest laws regarding gambling in America. According to state law, casinos are prohibited, and betting on races and sports events is illegal.
Past attempts to make sports betting legal in Georgia have not been fruitful. The state is known for taking a conservative stand in regards to gambling.
As of now, the only type of accessible lawful gambling is the state lottery, with profits in the first half of 2020 reaching a record-breaking $1.24bn.
The bill has also been facing opposition. There have been rising concerns regarding the lack of consumer protection. Some worry that passing the bill would inflict negative consequences on families and the psychological wellbeing of young people.
In response to that, two successful sports gambling companies, FanDuel and DraftKings, have stated that there are several protections that could be put in place. For example, deposit limits, time restrictions, and limitations on participation could be applied. And if necessary, the customer may have an option to never see the platform again.
Additionally, although the bill seeks to legalize betting on professional sports, it does not permit betting on college events.
If the bill passes into law, in order to legally bet on online sports, individuals will be required to be of age 21 or older.
Legal sports betting could start as early as July of this year if the bill will be signed during this session. The decision will, without a doubt, make a significant difference in the state revenue and the sports industry of Georgia.