The Legalization of Georgia Sports Betting is on the Table in 2024

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
The Legalization of Georgia Sports Betting is on the Table in 2024

Initially, it looked like Georgia sports betting would not be a primary focus when the state legislature set up shop in early 2024. But that speculation has apparently proven premature. 

Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach has confirmed that he’s the driving force behind a bill that would materially expand gaming laws throughout The Peach State.

And yes, the legalization of sports betting in Georgia is part of his plan.

Of course, The Peach State is no stranger to sports gambling initiatives. Legislation has been proposed regularly ever since the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act back in 2018. Some of these bills have even gained serious traction. A few have enjoyed the outspoken support of key public officials as well.

Yet, every single Georgia sports betting bill to come through the state legislature has ultimately failed. Will Beach’s be any different? What does his proposal look like? How does he plan on selling to opponents of Georgia sports betting when the state legislature convenes in just a few weeks? 

This could be a pivotal moment in the future of sports gambling throughout The Peach State. Or it could be just another false flag. Let’s go ahead and see what’s what.

Senator Brandon Beach Says Georgia Sports Betting Initiative Could be Worth Nearly $1 Billion Per Year

It seems Senator Beach is taking the “Look how much money the state stands to make” route while pitching his Georgia sports betting measure. Here’s T.A. DeFeo from The Center Square with the full scoop:

“A state senator plans to introduce legislation allowing Georgians to decide on a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling, sports betting, and pari-mutuel wagering. During a Wednesday Joint Committees on Economic Development and Tourism, state Sen. Brandon Beach said the initiative could bring in $900 million per year to the state, and half of the money would go into a freight and logistics fund for road, bridge and rail projects. The remaining money would go toward a rural healthcare fund (20%), a mental healthcare and gambling addiction fund (20%) and historically Black colleges and universities (10%). ‘I’m all for sports betting, but I will tell you from an economic development [and] job creation standpoint, sports betting is done through this,’ Beach, R-Alpharetta, said during the committee hearing, noting that 38 states nationwide allow sports betting.

"‘From a job creation standpoint, if we would have three destination resort casinos and one pari-mutuel track or maybe two, we would create a lot of jobs.' Beach said he does not want a Las Vegas-style strip. Rather, the destination resort would have a hotel, shopping and shows, which could also lead to additional non-gaming revenue. ‘One of the things we do lack here in the metro Atlanta area is any nighttime activity,’ Beach added. ‘So, we’ve got to figure out how we do that.’”

This is one of the more comprehensive Georgia sports betting plans. But will there be enough support behind it?

Are There Any Additional Details Behind the Latest Georgia Sports Betting Proposal? 

Among the other details of Senator Beach’s sports betting proposal: The formation of a Georgia State Gaming Commission that would operate under the state lottery’s umbrella. This is standard practice for states looking to implement sports betting. In fact, when you don’t already have a state lottery, the formation of one is viewed as critical to the sports betting agenda.

Aside from the revenue distribution breakdown, there doesn’t appear to be many other details floating around. How many Georgia sports betting licenses will be given out? Will every casino be eligible to have a sportsbook? We know where the revenue will go, but how much will these wagers be taxed? 

These are just a few of the questions still on the table. And then there’s the matter of online sports betting in Georgia. Would it be part of this legalization process? It isn’t immediately clear. But based on how Senator Beach emphasizes the tourism element of his proposal, it sounds like online sportsbooks in the United States would not be allowed to independently enter the market. 

Whether this is a turnoff for members of the Georgia state legislature remains to be seen. The bigger issue: How might Georgia voters respond to a sports betting bill on the 2024 electoral ballot?

Would Georgia Voters Approve a Sports Betting Bill on the 2024 Electoral Ballot?

There is no exact answer to this question. Some polls have shown that Georgia voters seem open to some form of sports betting. But those surveys are not necessarily representative of the entire population.

Still, the interest among state officials might speak for itself. Mr. Beach is far from the first Georgia Senator to try spearheading the legalization of sports betting. If this bill appears before the state legislature when they convene in early January 2024, it will be the sixth consecutive time a sports gambling initiative has hit the agenda. Georgia wouldn’t discuss the subject this often if there wasn’t an interest among officials and constituents.

To that end, if the measure can make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, it may stand a great chance of gaining voter approval. Because 2024 is a presidential election, the voting population will be out in full force. Those opportunities are seen as the best times to get major initiatives pushed through. And if the data says Georgians want sports betting, putting on a ballot that’s bound to draw out voters goes a long way.

However, the 2024 Georgia sports betting initiative must first get through the House and Senate. That may prove to be the bigger challenge. After all, a Georgia sports betting measure has already failed inside at least one of those branches for five consecutive attempts.

Time will tell whether next year is the year for the legalization of Georgia sports gambling. But personally, given the state’s track record, we’ll believe it appears on the ballot when we actually see it.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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