2020 started with a bang for the gambling and sports betting industry in the USA, with many states pushing up bills to legalize different forms of accepting wagers, in an attempt to fill their empty state government budget coffers.
Passing legislation in Georgia complicated
Though the trend among the states is towards legalization, there are still some that pause and reconsider the issue from all possible angles, and especially in light with the gambling industry implications on certain societal groups and societal moral values, as these prove to be decisive in some of the cases, such as the veto imposed on the passed bill by Maine Governor.
Others states like Georgia are still debating the issue, as whether to legalize casinos, horse racing and sports betting has been an ongoing saga in the state for years, due to the fact that passing a simple bill would not do the job but a constitutional amendment through the General Assembly with 120 out of 180 votes from the state representatives plus 37 out of 56 senator votes are needed, followed by a public referendum approval.
Debate still going on
Obviously, both pro and against camps are becoming vocal to try and sway the public opinion into their direction, as the supporters camp believe that any expansion of the gambling industry would result into thousands of extra jobs created and would pump extra funds to be used towards the Lottery-funded Hope scholarship program, while conservative opinions based mainly around religious beliefs point out the immoral side of any form of gambling and the possible addictive habit that may be developed and its correlation to crime.
A recently conveyed survey of the public opinion by the major local newspaper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows mouth-watering numbers for the gambling industry operators, with 64% of voters surveyed expressing their opinion in favor of allowing casino gambling in the state, and 57% of the votes supporting legalization of sports betting on professional sports events, both numbers raising hopes that, together with the overall state financial environment marred by significant budget cuts, 2020 could finally turn out to be their year in Georgia and bring success to their attempts for legal breakthrough in the state.
Public has the last call
These poll numbers, however, put legislators between a rock and a hard place as, from one side they insist of keeping the state on the “straight-and-narrow”, while they have a desire to get re-elected, on the other.
Moreover, during the upcoming Georgia legislature sessions they will need to consider sources of funds to compensate for the looming fiscal budget deficits for 2020 and the year after and the revenue from the gambling industry cannot be ignored, especially if the other option to fill the gaps is raising taxes to the public, but ultimately, the final verdict will be up to the voters.