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Brock Bowers of the Georgia Bulldogs scores a touchdown and reacts with Carson Beck as we look at the latest resolution passed by the Georgia Senate regarding sports betting.
Brock Bowers of the Georgia Bulldogs scores a touchdown and reacts with Carson Beck against the UAB Blazers in Athens, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images via AFP.

Georgia voters could finally get their chance to weigh in on the viability of Georgia sports betting in November after a key measure passed this week.

After years of legislative wrangling, the Georgia Senate finally approved a resolution to allow for a necessary constitutional amendment that could pave the way for the best sports betting sites to operate legally in the Peach State. 

It also brought some much needed consensus on what the state legislators' strategy is to bring about a legal sports betting platform to Georgia. There are competing bills in the state that threaten to muddy the conversation around the matter, but voters could finally have a chance to settle the issue of sports betting later this year.

Georgia Senate paves way for sports betting

On Tuesday, by a vote of 41-12, the Georgia Senate approved Senate Resolution 579. Now, it remains up to the House to pass it - along with corresponding Senate Bill 386, which was passed in the Senate earlier this month by a 35-15 vote - before the matter arrives on the Nov. 5 election ballot for voters to decide.

“This is to give the voters an opportunity to speak on the issue," Sen. Bill Cowsert, author and sponsor of the bill, said after news of the Senate passing the resolution.

We now have the language that will be used on the ballot around the possibility of a legal sports betting platform for the Peach State. Pointed language hits straight at the heart of the matter with little ambiguity.

According to the adopted Senate Resolution, voters in Georgia will be asked on the November 5 General Election Ballot:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for sports betting in this state and to provide for such proceeds to be used for educational funding for pre-kindergarten and HOPE scholarships, services for gambling addiction, and the advancement and promotion of sports in this state?”

What's at stake in Georgia

Sixteen legal sports betting licenses would be up for grabs in Georgia if proponents of such a platform get a majority on the November election ballot. 

All of the state's professional sports teams and venues - which include the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta FC, Atlanta Dream, Augusta National, the PGA Tour, and Atlanta Motor Speedway - would become eligible for a coveted legal sports wagering license. Seven other untethered licenses would also become available, as well as one set aside for the Georgia Lottery.

Operators would pay a $100,000 application fee and would be charged $1 million per year for renewal. A 20% tax rate on gross income would also be put into place.

If passed, 80% of tax revenues would be earmarked for the Educational Opportunity Fund to support pre-kindergarten programs in the state. The HOPE scholarships would take a cut of the 80%, as well, while 15% of taxes would flow to a responsible gaming fund. The remaining 5% would go to a Sports Promotion Fund to attract major sporting events to the state.

What happens next?

The legal sports betting bill still has to make it through the Georgia House of Representatives, which could pose a typical roadblock. The usual challenges will be thrown out by opponents of legal sports betting for the Peach State, but it doesn't take away from what was accomplished by the state's Senate on Tuesday.

All eyes will now be on the Georgia House, whose current legislative session ends March 28. 

Assuming the House passes the sports betting bill by March 28th - which remains a big assumption - and voters do approve the legal sports betting initiative in November, it still leaves 2025 as likely the earliest Georgia residents would be able to bet on their favorite sports team or player.