A bill filed to the Senate of Georgia and supported by 10 senators would legalize sports betting under the remit of the Georgia Lottery Corporation.
SB 57 was filed by Senators Hickman, Dixon, Harbison, Beach, Sims, Anavitarte, Summers, Mallow, Albers, and Halpern and would allow 18 sports betting licenses to be awarded to both sports teams and commercial operators.
Despite failing to bring sports betting to the table in previous years, there is growing optimism that 2023 could be the year that sports fans in Georgia will see the legalization of sports betting. This bill could be the first step toward achieving that long-held goal.
What is in the latest Georgia sports betting bill?
The bill stipulates that the Georgia Lottery Corporation would be responsible for regulating and overseeing the process of introducing sports betting to Georgia. The lottery would also be in charge of issuing licenses.
There would also be the creation of a new regulatory body called the Georgia Gaming Corporation which would be defined as ‘an instrumentality of the state, and not a state agency and a public corporation’, located in Fulton County.
The Georgia Gaming Corporation would be governed by the Georgia Sports Betting Commission, an agency working underneath the lottery corporation responsible for regulating the sports betting market in the state.
SB57 proposes that there will be up to 18 online sports betting licenses up for grabs; nine of those would go towards professional sports teams or their preferred online sports betting provider and half would be untethered and would be competed for, with the lottery corp in charge of issuing.
Licensees would be liable to a $100,000 application fee and a $1m annual renewal fee to continue operating past the first year.
In terms of taxation, online sports betting adjusted gross income (AGR equivalent) would be taxed at 20%, payable by the sports betting provider.
The bill also proposes Type 2 retail licenses which would be offered to self-service or clerk-operated terminals at state race tracks.
Type 2 licensees would pay a $10,000 application fee and an annual license fee of $100,000.
What chance does the bill have?
Well, the fact that it has 10 senators on board appears to be a positive sign; this represents over 20% of the state senate, meaning there could be a high chance of the bill passing, particularly when some of the sponsors include Jason Anavitarte, Majority Caucus Chairman for the Republicans.
Whilst gaming options are limited in Georgia, there have been attempts to pass sports betting in the past. Last year, attempts failed when legislators ran out of time in the session to get any bills signed.
But there seems to be optimism for 2023. Speaking with SBC Americas at G2E last year, VP of Government Affairs of Fanatics, Brandt Iden, named Georgia as one of his top tips for legislation in 2023.
Whether SB57 has legs to pass is unclear, but it appears that momentum is swinging in favor with so many senators putting their names in the ring to sponsor it.