Kansas, Georgia Sports Betting Legalization Efforts Build Momentum

  • The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in Kansas will focus on betting
  • Georgia Rep. Stephens plans to lead a betting constitutional amendment proposal
  • The main proposals in Kansas would allow both online and retail sports betting
  • Georgia’s four professional sports teams support legalizing sports betting
Three men celebrating in a bar
Georgia and Kansas lawmakers are optimistic about the chances of sports betting legislation in their respective states this year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Looking to get in on the action

Lawmakers in Kansas and Georgia are making a big push to legalize sports betting this year.

Senator Robert Olson is the chairperson for the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in Kansas which typically deals with gambling-related proposals. He has confirmed the committee is targeting the legalization of wagering this year.

legal betting would generate valuable revenue for the state

Meanwhile, Georgia Representative Ron Stephens recently revealed plans to lead a constitutional amendment effort relating to sports betting legalization. Stephens, chairman of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee, believes legal betting would generate valuable revenue for the state.

Proposals in Kansas

There are currently multiple ideas for sports betting in Kansas. To avoid any constitutional issues, the main proposals would see wagering technically operate through the Kansas Lottery. One would pave the way for sports betting licenses tethered to the four state-sponsored casinos. This would allow for both retail and online sports betting.

Kansas currently has four state-sponsored casinos and seven tribal gaming facilities, as well as a state lottery.

The other main proposal would see retail sports betting widely available in lottery retailers, as well as the addition of online sports betting. Both would allow sportsbooks to open at professional sports venues across the state.

Those in favor of wagering legalization in Kansas argue that the state is losing out on millions of dollars through illegal betting. According to research from the American Gaming Association and Oxford Economics, Kansans wager about $1.3bn illegally per year.

Gambling expansion efforts in Georgia

Georgia is typically a conservative state when it comes to gambling expansion. The main forms of legal gambling in Georgia are the state lottery and charitable raffles. However, this year lawmakers are gearing up to expand the state’s gambling laws to include sports betting.

would allow the Georgia Lottery to create a betting bill

Representative Ron Stephens has been a long-time proponent of legalizing sports betting in Georgia, and he believes the vertical may soon come to the state. In the first full week of the 2022 Georgia General Assembly, Stephens confirmed plans to spearhead a constitutional amendment that would allow the Georgia Lottery to create a betting bill.

The lawmaker would like to see the proceeds from sports betting go towards helping fund educational programs. House Speaker David Ralston has described “an appetite” for Georgia betting among the state’s lawmakers in 2022. The state’s four professional sports teams have also publicly supported the idea.

Last year, the Georgia Senate did approve a resolution that would begin the process to make a constitutional amendment for sports betting. Such an amendment would need to get two-thirds approval in both the Senate and House before proceeding to a public vote.