Georgia Senate approves resolution to take sports betting to state voters

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Roughly a month after the Georgia Senate approved a framework for establishing sports betting in the state, the body approved the constitutional amendment that will be brought forward to state voters if it passes through the House.

SR587 is the corresponding bill to SB386, which the Senate passed on Feb. 1. This bill lays out what in the state constitution will change with regards to the laws around gambling. It also crafts the question that will be posed to voters if the initiative makes it on the ballot.

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for sports betting in this state and to provide for such proceeds to be used for educational funding for pre-kindergarten and HOPE scholarships, services for gambling addiction, and the advancement and promotion of sports in this state?”

The amended constitution would set aside 80% of gambling revenues would go towards funding pre-K and the existing HOPE Scholarship program, 15% would go towards a Responsible Gambling fund and the remaining 5% would be set aside for the Sports Promotion Fund.

During debate on the resolution, bill sponsor Sen. Bill Cowsert clarified that this promotion fund would allow the state to lobby for high-profile sporting events like the All-Star Game or the Olympics.

The Senate approved the measure by a 41-12 margin, which exceed the two-thirds majority necessary for a constitutional amendment.

Now both the framework and the accompanying resolution sit with the House. Last year, the Georgia Senate managed to pass sports betting only for it to falter in the House.