Senate committee passes Georgia sports betting amendment

Georgia State Capitol
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Senate leaders in Georgia have approved a constitutional amendment that proposes to authorize sports betting in the Peach State.

The Georgia Senate Regulated Industries Committee has unanimously passed a constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide the fate of sports betting in Georgia this November. Senate Resolution 579, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cowsert and Brandon Beach, proposes to establish a gaming commission to regulate wagering with oversight from the Georgia Lottery Corporation. SR 579, which has received backlash from religious leaders, will now head to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration.

“You can never go wrong letting the voters have a vote,” Beach told committee members.

Georgia lawmakers make sports betting push

SR 579 builds on other active sports betting measures in the Peach State.

In January, Senate Bill 386 was filed as a piece of legislation that would amend the existing Georgia Lottery for Education Act to include sports betting, which would be overseen by the lottery. SB 386 calls for sports betting revenue to be taxed at a 20% rate with a portion of proceeds allocated toward educational initiatives, including the HOPE scholarship.

SB 386, which allows the Georgia Lottery to offer up to 16 wagering licenses, passed in the Senate by a 35-15 vote earlier this month. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman, requires operators to pay a $100,00 application fee. SB 386 will now move to the House.

The same floor session SB 386 was passed lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment with a 34-7 vote.

Senate Bill 172 has also been introduced in Georgia. The measure, which was tabled on Jan. 12, would authorize online and retail wagering through a constitutional amendment.

SB 172, also sponsored by Cowsert, would create the Georgia Gaming Corporation, which would regulate sports betting under the Georgia Sports Betting Commission.

The measure also prohibits sports bettors in Georgia from wagering on college athletics.