Lawmakers look to legalize sports betting in Georgia
Last year, Representative Ron Stephens led a push to legalize sports betting. The bill failed, but this year the Republican from Savannah has hope.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -Right now, sports betting in Georgia is only available through offshore websites. The Sports Betting Alliance says that’s unsafe. They’re one of the advocate groups that includes BetMGM, DraftKings, Fan Duel, and Fanatics.
“We look forward to working with the legislature to establish a safe and responsible online sports betting market in Georgia. In over half the country, legal online sports betting platforms are providing fans with a safe and responsible way to place bets -- all while generating significant revenue for state and local priorities. Currently, Georgians can only place bets with illegal offshore sports betting websites -- unsafe and illicit enterprises that offer consumer protections and provide no benefit to Georgia communities. Georgia residents deserve a safe, responsible, and legal sports betting market,’ said a spokesperson.
Last year, Rep. Ron Stephens led a push to legalize sports betting. The bill failed, but this year the Republican from Savannah has hope.
“Every time we bring it up there’s less opposition. You work on it until it falls into place,” said Stephens.
Incoming Lt. Gov. Burt Jones has expressed his support.
“I’ve been consistent about the positive return and revenues that safe, secure, and legal sports betting could generate for our state—so I will continue to support that effort. I look forward to seeing what legislative initiatives the Georgia General Assembly proposes to address this issue during the upcoming session,” said Jones in a statement to Atlanta News First.
Lawmakers have differed on what should be done with the revenue. Stephens wants the money to fund the HOPE scholarship.
“3.6 million families have been touched by hope, it’s a sacred cow if you will.” said, Stephens.
Stephens said gaming legislation will require two bills before Georgia voters would get a final say. One bill would require a constitutional amendment and the second to lay out exactly how the revenue will be spent.
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