Georgia horse racing and sports betting bill defeated in Senate

Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum
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One of the many sports betting bills floating around the Georgia statehouse suffered a defeat in the Senate on Thursday. SB57, the sports betting and horse racing legislation sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman was defeated by a vote of 19-37.

During a committee hearing on the bill, many opposed the element of the bill which would bring regulated horse racing tracks to the state. Additionally, this is one sports betting bill that would legalize and regulate the venture without a constitutional amendment and a voter referendum.

The defeat is bad news for this particular proposition, but not the end of hopes for Georgia sports betting efforts in 2023. SB172, along with SR140, would establish is still alive in committee and could get a vote soon.

There is a ticking clock on bills to cross over to the other chamber by Monday, March 6.

Unlike SB57, which wanted to legalize sports betting without a constitutional amendment, SB172/SR140 would do so via voter referendum. The measure also includes nothing about horse racing, which might make it an easier sell for the Senate.

There are two measures still alive in the House as well. HB380 is the remaining piece of legislation trying to legalize sports betting without a constitutional amendment, while HR210 would use a constitutional amendment to bring not just sports betting but casinos and racetracks to the state.