All bets off: Georgia lawmakers nix legal sports betting
The state Senate on Monday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed voters to decide whether to legalize sports gambling, while the state House never even took up the issue.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia lawmakers are again spurning plans to legalize sports betting, rejecting an effort that had been pushed by Atlanta’s sports teams and business leaders.
The state Senate on Monday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed voters to decide whether to legalize sports gambling, while the state House never took up a bill that would have authorized sports gambling without such an amendment.
The failure of the bills Monday, the deadline for bills to pass out of their original chamber and “cross over” to a new chamber, means it’s unlikely that any sports gambling measure will pass this year.
Some Georgia lawmakers typically attempt to expand gambling every year, but none of the efforts have succeeded since voters approved a state lottery in 1992. Momentum had appeared to be building behind this year’s effort, after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp had voiced openness to signing a bill. But efforts to assemble a winning coalition failed in both houses.
FULL COVERAGE OF SPORTS BETTING IN GEORGIA FROM ATLANTA NEWS FIRST
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- Georgia lawmakers introduce online sports betting bill
- Lawmakers look to legalize sports betting in Georgia
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Sports betting is already legal in 34 states, although only some allow in-person gambling.
Senators voted 30-26 in favor of Senate Resolution 140, but failed to reach the required two-thirds majority of 38.
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“I don’t get why it’s wrong to let the people vote on this issue. We’re not all petty dictators up here,” said Sen. Bill Cowsert, an Athens Republican who sponsored the measure.
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