The top casino operators in America have been keen to get casino legislation and sports betting legislation passed. Georgia has a very lucrative gaming market but operators are unable to do anything since casino gambling and sports betting are currently banned.
There have been multiple attempts in the past by legislators to get the conservative state to change its stance on casino gambling. However, none of those efforts proved to be fruitful as there is a very strong anti-gambling sentiment in Georgia which is backed by a number of high profile groups.
Georgia has been rocked by COVID-19 and the state government is keen to get its economy up and running again in 2021. The government is looking at different ways to do this and one way is to legalize casino gambling and sports betting.
The push to do this started in 2020 as Georgia wanted to legalize casino gambling, sports betting and horse racing. A resolution was passed by the House panel in this regard towards the end of 2020 but it did not proceed further.
Alan Powell, chairman for House Regulated Industries said that the market could generate $1 billion a year in receipts. This would generate millions of dollars in betting taxes for the government and make a big difference towards the HOPE scholarship which is funded by the state lottery.
State legislators are going to have their work cut out moving forward as anti-gambling groups are keen on keeping Georgia free from the evils of gambling. They say that while the betting and casino market will generate revenue for the government, some of the numbers being dished out are inflated. They warn that the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to casino gambling and betting legislation in the state.
New Bill Not New Amendment
Ron Stephens, chairman for the House Tourism and Economic Development said that if state legislators were to look at making an amendment to the state constitution, it would take a lot longer for Georgia to move forward with sports betting, horse racing and casino gambling legislation.
This is because a constitution amendment will need two-thirds of support from every chamber to make it past the General Assembly. On the other hand, if legislators pass a new bill, it only needs half of each chamber to approve it and clear it. We will have to wait and see how state legislators proceed in the coming months.