Attempts last year to introduce sports betting in Georgia did not succeed, but legislators continue to push ahead. Six Representatives recently introduced House Bill 86 which seeks to amend the Official Code of Georgia. The changes will see the addition of sports betting in the Code.
Some of the highlights of the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act proposal:
- The bill calls for six mobile sports betting licenses to be made available.
- The sportsbooks will be online only, and registration will be remote.
- The state Lottery Corporation will oversee the market, including the issuance and management of licenses.
- Players will need to be 21 years of age or older to place legal sports bets.
- Wagering will be allowed across all professional sporting competitions, including esports. Betting on collegiate events will not be permitted.
- License applicants will need to pay a $50K non-refundable fee, followed by a $900,000 annual charge.
- A tax rate of 16% on adjusted gross sports wagering income will be paid by licensees on a monthly basis.
- Tax income from the sports betting industry will be funneled into education, including pre-school programs and the state’s HOPE educational scholarship initiative.
- Sportsbooks will be required to use official league data to settle in-play bets.
Legalizing sports betting in Georgia will most likely draw traffic from the region which has been mostly left out of the sports betting legalization frenzy. The Peach State could attract players from Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.
The initiative to introduce legal sports betting in Georgia has the backing of many stakeholders, including all four of the state’s professional sports teams – The Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks and United .
The teams created the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance in 2020, where they stated: “The question isn’t if Georgians are going to wager on sports, it’s whether they will wager in an illegal market or in a fully regulated environment that protects both consumers and the integrity of games.”