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Georgia Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Sports Betting Amendment

The Georgia Senate Regulated Industries Committee votes in favor of allowing Peach State voters to decide if sports betting should be legalized

EGR GLOBAL (February 15, 2024) – The Georgia Senate Regulated Industries Committee has voted unanimously to approve Senate Resolution 579 (SR579), a constitutional amendment allowing voters to decide at the ballot box in November whether sports betting will be legalized.

This amendment, which is sponsored by six Senators including Bill Cowsert and Brandon Beach, proposes the creation of a new regulator to oversee sports betting with oversight from the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

SR579 will now head to the Senate Rules Committee for further review.

The amendment comes after two previous bills have been tabled in the Peach State.

Firstly, Senate Bill 386 was filed to amend the existing Georgia Lottery for Education Act to legalize sports betting, which the lottery would oversee.

SB386 would also see sports betting revenue taxed at a rate of 20% with a proportion of that tax being allocated toward educational initiatives such as the HOPE Scholarship.

This bill also required licensees to pay a $100,000 application fee and a $1 million annual renewal fee.

That legislation was formally advanced by the Senate on Feb. 1, with the caveat of requiring voters to approve the constitutional amendment when they go to the polls in November.

The other bill that has been introduced in the Peach State is Senate Bill 172. This bill, introduced on Jan. 12, would create the Georgia Gaming Corporation, which would regulate sports betting under the Georgia Sports Betting Commission.

This measure would also prevent collegiate sports betting.

The sports betting legislation must now pass through the Rules Committee and the Senate floor for a vote. If the legislation passes with a two-thirds majority, then it will go over to the House for consideration.

The legislation of sports betting in Georgia has come under strong criticism from prominent religious leaders in the state.

Mike Griffin, public affairs representative for Georgia Baptist Mission Board, compared the legalization of sports betting to the legalization of recreational drugs debate that took place a couple of years ago.

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