Georgia Sports Betting Bills Miss Legislative Deadline

  • Two bills failed to cross from one house to the other before Crossover Day deadline
  • Contents of either bill can be added to a live bill later in this year’s session
  • One bill proposed mobile sports betting, the other called for wide-ranging gambling expansion
Georgia state map
House Resolution 378 and Senate Bill 403 have died after failing to cross from one house to the other before March 12, which marked Crossover Day in Georgia’s current legislative session. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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Two bills that would have legalized certain forms of sports betting in Georgia have expired after failing to make enough progress before the state’s legislative deadline.

House Resolution 378 and Senate Bill 403 would have amended the state’s constitution to legalize sports betting in the state. However, the bills failed to make enough progress to pass into the opposite legislative house by March 12, which marked Crossover Day in the current legislative session.

failed to make enough progress to pass into the opposite legislative house by March 12

As per tradition in Georgia, if a proposal to change the state constitution does not receive sufficient passage by Crossover Day, it will be inactive until the following year’s legislative session. 

The contents of the bills can be altered and added to a live bill at a later date during the 2020 legislative session. Therefore, there is still a slim chance that sports betting could be legalized in Georgia at some point in 2020.

Push for legal sports betting

Senate Bill 403 was introduced to the Senate in February. It called for the legalization of mobile sports betting. The Georgia Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Commission would have been established to oversee the sector, acting as part of the Georgia Lottery Corporation. 

A 10% tax rate on the adjusted gross income generated by sportsbooks was proposed. This would have been payable each month. This bill failed to secure passage to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Commission.

House Resolution 378 called for betting, gambling, raffles, and bingo to be legalized in Georgia. The bill was first proposed by Rep. Ron Stephens at the beginning of the last legislative session in January 2019.

House Resolution 378 did not push for legal online gambling. However, it did propose allowing each county in Georgia to hold its own referendum on whether or not they wanted to allow gambling activities in their jurisdiction.

Traditionally conservative state

Georgia is known for being one of the more restrictive states in the country when it comes to gambling. The only way to legally gamble in the state is through the state lottery. However, there has been growing interest among lawmakers to introduce some form of gambling expansion, such as legal sports betting. 

It was in April 2019 that a study was commissioned to look into what potential opportunities exist if the likes of horse racing, gaming, and betting were regulated in the state.