Currently, 30 US states as well as the District of Columbia have launched legal sports betting operations. Another three states have legalized the activity but are yet to launch it. Meanwhile, lawmakers in nine states have not filed legislation this year. Georgia and six other states are currently in the process of filing legislation to legalize the activity. According to State Representative Ron Stephens, a Republican, sports betting may soon be coming to the state.
State Rep. Supports Sports Betting Legalization in Georgia
In the first full week of the 2022 Georgia General Assembly, lawmakers discussed multiple topics, some of which were left from 2021. Sports betting bill that would legalize the activity was a part of the broached topics. In a statement, released by Bryan County News, Stephens, who has been an active supporter of sports betting and gambling expansion, reaffirmed that he remains committed to pushing the legislation forward.
“With the rising popularity of sports gaming, especially with the rising popularity of the National Football League, many states have legalized the practice.”State Representative Ron Stephens
He explained that he plans to spearhead a constitutional amendment that would allow “the Georgia Lottery to create a sports gaming bill.” Stephens outlined that the popularity of sports betting continues to grow, but so does the popularity of the NFL. He pointed out that many states have legalized the activity already.
Will Sports Betting Legalization Bring Only Benefits?
Stephens revealed that since 1993, the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship has helped more than 2 million Georgians advance their college careers and education. Moreover, he explained that 1.6 million families have received pre K head starts. According to Stephens, sports betting will be a topic that will be discussed “in the days to come to close the gap with HOPE and pre k.”
Once legalized, sports betting would bring valuable revenue for the state’s coffers, just like in any other state. Moreover, if lawmakers legalize sports betting, the share of the black market or offshore operators would be decreased. But not everyone agrees that legalizing the activity would necessary bring positive change for Georgians.
“Studies have shown, for example from Stock Predatory Gambling, a national organization, that for every dollar we spend to promote not gambling, they’ll spend $250. I’m just saying, it will not be a fair fight.”Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative at Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Mike Griffin, a Public Affairs Representative at Georgia Baptist Mission Board, recently spoke to WJCL and outlined that, talks about gambling legalization have been “more intense here lately.” For nearly 10 years he has been a strong opponent of gambling expansion. Citing a recent webinar he participated, Griffin said that the addiction toward casino gambling and sports betting was placed under the same category as illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine and opioids.
Additionally, citing a study, he pointed out that gambling companies are willing to invest a lot of money in gambling advertising. In fact, Griffin said that gambling companies are willing to spend $250 for every dollar that goes to promote against gambling activities.