PrizePicks encourages Georgia lawmakers to add DFS to betting bill

Georgia State Capitol
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Georgia lawmakers are already diving into the discussion when it comes to potentially legalizing sports betting in the state. On Tuesday, the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted 8-2 to advance SB386, a sports betting bill from Sen. Billy Hickman which would legalize the venture under the lottery and not require a constitutional amendment.

The committee did provide a friendly substitute for the bill to tweak some of the elements. The notable changes are a jump from a 15% to 20% tax rate and a provision that does not allow for credit card deposits.

Another draft could be forthcoming if PrizePicks can persuade lawmakers to include language that would codify and regulate fantasy sports in the state. While PrizePicks is headquartered in Georgia, it is a state with no formal rules on fantasy.

Per PrizePicks representative Stuart Wilkinson appeared during the hearing to both support the bill and express the company’s desire to tighten up the definition of fantasy sports in the state. Many other states are questioning whether or not operators who offer pick’em-style fantasy against the house are operating within the letter of the law largely because of how fantasy sports are defined. Since this bill includes a definition of fantasy sports, PrizePicks is trying to persuade lawmakers to settle on a definition that preserves that category.

Wilkinson also suggested the bill should look at regulating fantasy sports in addition to sports betting, suggesting it could bring in $35 million in additional tax revenue annually.

The bill did inevitably come with opponents. Representatives from both the Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board spoke briefly, objecting to the bill on moral grounds. Georgia Baptist Mission Board representative Mike Griffin also said he did not believe passing sports betting without a constitutional amendment was legal and had an opinion from a former state Attorney General saying as much.

Nonetheless, the bill did advance through committee, clearing the first hurdle in its 2024 attempt.