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Georgia Bulldogs fans cheer on the team during the second half against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Sanford Stadium as we look at legal sports betting in Georgia.
Georgia Bulldogs fans cheer on the team during the second half against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Sanford Stadium. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP.

The efforts to legalize Georgia sports betting apps and online casinos continues to gain momentum, and there's hope the best sportsbooks will one day come to the state.

Late last week the Georgia Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee passed Senate Resolution 538, which would bring a widespread legal gambling platform to the eighth-largest state in America.

There is a competing Bill that leaves out a more lucrative online casino option for the state. Like SR 538, the more restrictive sports-betting only Bill SB 386 will require a constitutional amendment and ultimate voter say on the November election ballot for betting sites to move forward.

SR 538, and its desire to support casinos alongside Georgia sports betting apps looks like it will have more traction going forward.

“The economic impact of sports betting probably is not going to be that great, guys. Maybe $80 million, $100 million," Senator Carden Summers said. "The economic impact of casinos will be in the billions.”

What is SR 538?

Senate Resolution 538 is a tad short on details about just how the legal sports betting wing of the proposed platform would work, although there's been some clarity about the online casino sector.

Five casinos would be licensed under the proposal and be taxed at 13% of adjusted gross revenues. Unlike the casino provisions, there still hasn't been a firm decision on the number of sportsbooks or the best sports betting apps that would be licensed, and just what the tax rate would be for Georgia sports betting apps under SR 538.

Taxes under SR 538 would earmark 50% of revenue for the state's freight and logistics Fund, which will benefit roads and transportation infrastructure in the Peach State. 20% would go to mental health and health care programs in Georgia, 20% would go toward Georgia's Child Care Fund, and 10% of taxation would benefit the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Time is ticking

The current Georgia legislative session is quickly running out of time. It ends March 28, with the deadline for any new Bills in the state to be introduced coming Thursday. 

The issue with the timeframe is the lack of agreement among legislators about just what a legal gambling platform should look like. Consensus is key, and neither legislators nor the voting public have reached that point as we head closer to the end of the current legislative session.

Momentum is certainly picking up for Georgia sports betting. The only question seems to be whether it will be a standalone sports wagering platform or an all-encompassing one that includes casinos. The legislation could go before voters in November.

Looking ahead

The debate over legal sports betting in Georgia will continue for the next month until the end of the current session. Nobody is quite sure if the idea will get across the finish line.

The pressure is certainly on for the possibility of Georgia sports betting apps. If 2024 or 2025 are to become a reality for the launch of legal sports betting in the Peach State, legislators need to get on the same page and have something concrete for voters. And it has to happen soon!