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Georgia House Panel Aims to Bring Mobile Sports Betting to the State

While numerous sports franchises and many residents have been interested in sports betting for a long time, no bills have been passed so far. However, under a measure that passed this week, voters across the Peach State will have the opportunity to decide whether or not mobile sports betting should be legalized.

Georgia Technically Offers Daily Fantasy Sports to its Residents

Daily fantasy sports may not be explicitly legal in the state; there is no push to make them illegal in the state. Reputable sportsbook companies like DraftKings and FanDuel also offer DFS competitions to those who reside in Georgia as they await a sports betting launch.

On Monday, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved Senate Bill 142, which permits placing mobile wagers on professional and college sports. This initiative will be on the November election for voters across the state to vote on.

The Committee also approved Senate Resolution 135, which would remove the state’s constitutional ban on gaming the current Georgia Lottery. This also would be on the ballot for the people to decide.

Just like other states that are looking to establish some type of sports betting market in their state, the legislative session is running out of time in Georgia. These proposals still need support from both chambers, which includes the House and the Senate.

Georgia has very restrictive sports betting laws for now; however, there is no doubt that bettors across the state are placing wagers on offshore sportsbooks or local bookies. Bettors are also crossing state lines to place bets in Tennessee.

No matter how one looks at the situation, the Peach State is losing revenue and tax dollars that could help those that reside in the state.

Residents in Georgia Are Going to Tennessee to Place Bets

The bills to bring sports betting to Georgia were sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, who is the chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. After being a member of the Legislature for 22 years, he will not be seeking reelection.

Tennessee is a state that only offers mobile sports betting, and the senator’s North Georgia district is near Chattanooga. Bettors who have the opportunity to cross state lines to place bets can just use a mobile device to do so.

Those who oppose sports betting and other types of gaming believe that launching a market in the industry will create gambling issues as they believe people will become compulsive bettors.

Constitutional Amendment Faces an Uphill Battle

The proposed constitutional amendment to remove these heavy restrictions requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, which is far more difficult than just winning a majority of the vote.

The Senate already rejected a constitutional amendment that would bring horse racing to the state. Approval of Senate Resolution 135 would bring horse racing, casinos, and gaming expansion to the state without the need for a constitution amendment every time something like this arises.

Professional sports organizations like the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and the Atlanta United FC support sports betting. The state is also the eighth-most populous state in the country which is home to approximately 11 million people.

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