Since the United States Supreme Court abolished PASPA and lifted the federal ban on sports betting, several states have been working very hard to launch their own sports betting industries. Georgia, one of the states, has recently checked off an important milestone that brings it closer to a legal and regulated sports betting industry than ever before.
On Tuesday, February 2, the House committee in the state voted in favor of advancing a piece of legislation that seeks to bring state-regulated sportsbooks to Louisiana. Known as the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act (HB 86), the legislative bill is primarily sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens (Savannah-R), chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
Rep. Stephens has very high hopes for sports betting, something that has seen him pursue the issue for nearly a decade. According to him, the mobile sports betting vertical along could bring in up to a whopping $43 million. However, he maintained that the bill will need to “get through the House before we pull the big guns out.”
The bill’s chances of becoming law are very high especially considering how much support it is receiving. Its most notable backer is a collation of four of Atlanta’s pro sports teams. Falcons, Hawks, Braves, and Atlanta United, the four teams are hoping that sports betting will help them to reach out to their fans. This is very understandable especially considering all the trouble that they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgia’s government is also interested in the sports betting bill due to the prospects of new revenue streams from the taxation. The Georgia Lottery Corporation will oversee the sports betting operations, and it will be taxing the operators 14 percent on their adjusted gross income in addition to a $900,000 annual licensing fee. The state can use the revenue to provide more funding to the HOPE Scholarship and the K-12 education as well as other similar programs.
Well, the House does not have the final say on the sports betting bill. Still, the fact that the bill has passed that stage proves that there is indeed a lot of interest in the legalization of sports betting in Georgia. Now a competing version of the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act (HB 86) is headed to the state’s Senate. All we can do for now is wait and see how that turns out.