Legal Georgia Sports Betting Dies on House Floor

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
Legal Georgia Sports Betting died at the House Floor on Wednesday, after failing to make it through the state General Assembly.

The legislation would have legalized betting on the 2022 ballot, allowing Georgia residents the deciding votes. However, because of the controversial election reform bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, state democrats blocked a number of bills, including the two sports betting bills in protest of the election one.

Two Pieces of Legislation

Georgia senators approved two pieces of legislation, SB 135 and SB 142 last March 5th and sent both to the house. SB 135 proposed a change to the state constitution to legalize mobile sports betting. Such constitutional change needed a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers and public approval in a statewide vote.

SB 142 meanwhile, would have placed the Georgia Lottery Corporation in charge of regulating legal Georgia sports betting. At least six mobile sports betting operators would’ve received licenses under the legislation with each one paying a $100,000 annual licensing fee and remitting 20% of their revenues to the state.

Politics Ended the Legal Georgia Sports Betting Bill

Originally, the legal Georgia sports betting bill had bi-partisan support. But after Gov. Kemp signed a bill that reduced voter rights in the state, the Democrats withdrew their support for the legal Georgia sports betting bill. And despite the majority controlling the Georgia House 103-76, the matter requires a constitutional amendment, which needs a two-thirds vote.

While the legal Georgia sports betting bill died without action, the legislature ended its 2021 session spending the final parts of the day discussing the state budget. Among the bills that made it through were the rewrite of the citizen’s arrest law, a human trafficking bill that allows victims or state officials to file civil case against illegal traffickers, and the controversial election reform bill that added a new restriction to mail voting. As for the legal Georgia sports betting bill, it will have to wait to be revived in 2022 during the second-year of the General Assembly’s cycle.