Georgia legislature may expand gambling in the state via a constitutional amendment. Following a House session on Wednesday, lawmakers proposed a resolution asking Georgia residents to decide on gambling expansion to include pari-mutuel betting, casino gambling, and sports wagering.
Georgia’s Gambling Legalization Still en Route
After in 2018 the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) it left lawmakers in each state to decide on gambling legalization and expansion. Since then, more than a dozen states have already legalized some form of sports betting or casino gambling. Additionally, a dozen more states are in the process of legalizing sports betting. Georgia is a part of the latter group.
Despite many attempts over the years, the state is yet to legalize sports wagering. Even if a bill passes by two-thirds of representatives of the House, it would also need to win in Senate. After that, Georgians would need to vote for or against the expansion on a referendum.
Although previous attempts have failed, this legal hurdle may be coming to its end. According to Henry Herald, on Wednesday this week, lawmakers from the General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment that would ask Georgians to decide on gambling expansion in the state.
As a result of the decision of the lawmakers, Georgians may be able to vote on pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, sports wagering as well as casino gambling expansion in the state. Considering that there is still plenty of work for the legislators, it is likely for such a referendum to take place next year in November.
Will Gambling Expansion Bring Benefits for the Peach State?
The constitutional amendment’s initial version proposed casino gambling only and was introduced in January. Now, the lawmakers expanded the resolution to include pari-mutuel betting as well as sports wagering.
Such gambling expansion is undoubtedly going to bring benefits for the state. The current version of the resolution proposes tax revenue from sports betting to fund scholarships. On the other hand, casino and pari-mutuel betting taxes are to help health care in Georgia.
Considering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, such expansion may also result in creating new workplaces. Furthermore, if the state regulates its gambling market, it would be able to also implement methods for player protection. This will result in less money flowing toward the black market and offshore operators.