January 31, 2024 3 min read


Push for Sports Betting in Georgia Gains Momentum Despite Opposition

A major issue with the bill is its legality, as some question if Georgia can allow online sports betting without a constitutional amendment

A Georgia Senate committee has greenlit a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state without necessitating a constitutional amendment. 

Georgia Senate Committee Endorses Senate Bill 386

The proposal, Senate Bill 386, garnered an 8-2 vote in favor within the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee on January 30, setting the stage for further deliberations in the full Senate.

The legislation, if passed, would authorize the establishment of 16 sports betting licenses, marking a pivotal moment in the state’s gambling landscape, reported the Associated Press. Advocates of the bill, including representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Atlanta’s professional sports franchises, emphasized the potential benefits for Georgia.

Nick Fernandez of the Metro Atlanta Chamber remarked during the committee session that they believed the license structure included in the bill offered an opportunity for license holders to either apply through an open application process or choose to tether or partner with a team. He also expressed the organization’s belief that this aspect was beneficial for Georgia.

However, the bill faces staunch opposition from some quarters, particularly among certain Republican lawmakers and religious groups. Mike Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board condemned the proposed legislation, labeling it as “state-sponsored predatory gambling” and warned of its detrimental effects.

Griffin further asserted that he believed gambling amounted to legalized fraud. He explained that in his view, since gambling inherently involves a situation where the players must lose for the industry to win, it meant that winning was essentially impossible.

One of the contentious points surrounding the bill is its legality, with doubts raised about the authority of the Georgia General Assembly to sanction online sports betting without a constitutional amendment. Some legislators argue that such a significant policy change should be subject to approval by voters in a statewide referendum.

Notably, Bill 386 proposes to allocate 20% of earnings as taxes, following the disbursement of prizes to bettors. Tax rates across the nation vary, ranging from 6.75% in Iowa to as high as 51% in Rhode Island and New York. 

This development in Georgia comes amid a broader trend of states in the region, including Florida and North Carolina, moving towards or enacting measures to legalize online sports gambling. 

North Carolina, for instance, is poised to launch online sports betting operations in March, underscoring the evolving landscape of gambling legislation in the Southeast.

As the debate over the bill intensifies, both proponents and opponents are gearing up for what promises to be a contentious and closely watched legislative battle in the days ahead.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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