Not all gambling is created equal
A new poll shows that there is strong support in Georgia to legalize casino gambling, but feelings about online sports betting are decidedly mixed. In a statewide poll, 60% of likely voters said they were in favor of allowing casino gambling in the state and 29% were opposed to the idea. That contrasts with 46% of likely voters favoring the legalization of online sports betting with 43% against.
a state constitutional amendment is necessary
In order to legalize new forms of gambling in Georgia, a state constitutional amendment is necessary. That would require two-thirds approval from both legislative chambers to put the issue to a public vote.
For and against expansion
Many US states have benefitted greatly over the years from casino gambling and/or online sports betting. Currently, the main form of legal gambling in Georgia, historically a very conservative state when it comes to gambling, is the state lottery.
Those in favor of expanding gambling in Georgia believe that the revenues the state would generate would be significant and that many people already find ways to gamble elsewhere, thus sending potential tax revenue across state lines. For example, the bordering state of Tennessee has had legal online sports betting since November 2020 and has generated more than $80m in tax revenue.
point to the risk of gambling addiction and knock-on problems
Those that oppose gambling expansion in any form point to the risk of gambling addiction and knock-on problems such as drug and alcohol addiction. There are also concerns that organized crime groups could be able to influence young athletes and jeopardize the integrity of sports.
Not much success to date
Professional sports teams in Georgia have already expressed their support for expanding gambling. The Atlanta Braves, Hawks, United, and Falcons believe that legal sports betting would generate more interest among fans, creating more of an emotional attachment.
Attempts to legalize sports betting in recent years have been unsuccessful. Numerous bills have failed to get over the line for one reason or another. There still appears to be support from certain political circles to expand gambling in order to create a new revenue generator for the state.