The Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee has flip-flopped on the proposed tax rate for Georgia sports betting. After previously approving a bill that would tax bookmakers’ profits at 14%, the panel approved a revised version of House Bill 86 that would mandate payment of sports betting taxes at 20% of profits.
Committee chairman Ron Stephens, a Republican from Savannah, estimates that Georgia sports betting could bring in more than $30M per year to the state. That amount would greatly increase the funds for the HOPE college scholarships and increase subsidies for pre-kindergarten classes and child care.
House Bill 86
House Bill 86 or the Georgia sports betting bill mandates the Georgia Lottery Corporation to issue at least six licenses to companies who wish to offer sports betting activities in the state. These companies would be required to pay a licensing fee of $900,000 per year. After paying out bettors’ winnings, these sportsbooks would be taxed at a percentage of the remaining profits. The tax rate was previously set at 14% but the lawmakers now want to push it up to 20%.
The bill will also allow online sports wagering statewide with remote registration. Sports betting will be limited to professional sports while the state’s professional sports teams will be allowed to partner with sports betting operators. These operators will be mandated to purchase official sports data.
Legislative Deadline Nearing
Georgia’s General Assembly will be in session until April 2 and Bill 86 has a legislative deadline of the 28th session day to pass out of the chamber with Monday’s session being the 21st session already. The bill will now be directed to the Rules Committee and if it is passed there, it will go to the House Floor for a vote.
A Senate version of the Georgia Sports Bill had a hearing with the Committee on Regulated Industries Utilities last week. The difference between the two bills is that Senate bill 142 provides for a 10% tax rate and that wagering using credit cards and debits cards will be allowed.