Georgia state Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) proposed new sports wagering legislation that provides for online and in-person betting in the state.
Wiedower’s House Bill 380 (HB 380) is the first floated in Georgia that provides for retail wagering as previous efforts to bring regulated sports betting to the state focused solely on internet and mobile betting. His legislation, introduced earlier this month, garnered immediate support from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
This legislation would legalize responsible sports betting in Georgia and generate additional revenue for education under the Georgia Lottery,” said Marshall Guest, the chamber’s senior vice president of public policy and public affairs, to local media outlets. “We look forward to working with Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, House Speaker Jon Burns, and the Georgia General Assembly to secure this huge win for education investment in our state.”
Recent polling data indicate Georgia voters favor the addition of mobile sports betting. Currently, the state’s only form of regulated wagering is a lottery.
Important Details in Wiedower Georgia Sports Betting Bill
Under HB 380, 16 Type 1 sports betting permits would be awarded to online operators while providing for Type 2 licenses issued to businesses offering in-person betting. The legislation also tasks the Georgia Lottery with overseeing sports wagering in the state.
“Type 2 sports betting platform licensee’ means a sports betting platform operator licensed or authorized by the corporation to offer retail sports betting on behalf of the corporation at a Type 2 sports betting retail licensee’s place of business through Type 2 sports betting machines owned by a Type 2 sports betting distributor licensee,” according to the bill.
Assuming HB 380 is signed into law, it would allow for seven permits to be awarded to traditional online sports betting operators while the other licenses could go to Georgia’s professional sports teams and venues such as Atlanta Motor Speedway and Augusta National Country Club — home of the prestigious Masters golf tournament.
Parties interested in pursuing Georgia sports betting permits would be subject to an application fee of $100K, an annual levy of $1 million, and a 15% tax rate.
Momentum Building for Georgia Sports Betting
As is the case in some other states that have long opposed gaming expansion, the political tides appear to be turning in favor of sports betting in Georgia. That’s coming by way of elected Republicans in the state softening their views on sports wagering, not Democrats wresting control of the legislature or the governor’s office.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA), who previously opposed sports wagering, is now open to working with lawmakers on related legislation. Likewise, new Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones sponsored a sports betting bill when he was a state senator.
The caveat some Georgia elected Republicans are emphasizing is that while they’re willing to work on a sports betting package, they don’t favor the addition of casino gaming or horse racing in the state.
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