Georgia Won’t Legalize Sports Betting in 2024 Due to Disagreements Over Tax Money

  • A House vote did not take place on the final day of the legislative session
  • Democrats wanted to have more flexibility in the use of the tax money
  • The bill would have imposed a 25% tax rate on sportsbook revenue
Rotten peaches
Legal sports betting will not come to Georgia this year after lawmakers failed to agree on the destination of tax revenue. [Image:]

Not enough progress

Residents of Georgia will have to wait another year for lawmakers to legalize sports betting. Attempts to push through legislation during the 2024 session ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, with the main issue being the destination of the tax revenue.

a full House vote ultimately never took place

Despite the Georgia House Committee on Higher Education approving Senate Resolution 579 (SR579) and Senate Bill 386 on Thursday morning, a full House vote ultimately never took place on the matter. The former was a resolution to legalize sports betting with a constitutional amendment and the latter would have permitted online wagering. March 28 was the final day of the current legislative session.

Differing views

The goal was to secure a two-thirds majority to get through the House after receiving Senate approval in February. If the proposal got sufficient support in both chambers, the measure would have gone to a public vote in November.

The bill that the Senate approved would have directed 85% of tax revenue to pre-kindergarten programs, the HOPE Scholarship, education training, and various forms of capital improvements. The rest of the money would have gone toward a fund to help treat problem gambling.

The House committee on Thursday morning altered SR579 to change the disbursements of the tax money. Democrats wanted more flexibility in the use of the funds, including giving money to students based on need rather than merit.

Perks of legalization

Those in favor of legalizing sports betting in Georgia argue that a lot of people are already wagering illegally through black market platforms. By regulating the activity, the state would benefit from the resulting tax revenue and also be able to better protect consumers.

38 US states currently offer some form of sports betting, including Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee, which border Georgia.

The latest version of the proposal in Georgia was looking to take a 25% cut of sportsbook operator’s revenue, which is about the middle of the pack when compared to tax rates in other states. A total of 16 licenses would have been available and they would have carried a $1m annual renewal fee.

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