Georgia lawmakers have long toyed with greenlighting an expansion of the state’s betting laws, and one expert thinks this is the year it will happen.
Bennett Conlin, the senior sports betting reporter for Sportshandle.com, has identified Georgia as one of the four states that will legalize sports betting this year.
“There are some legislators that believe it can happen and will happen eventually,” Conlin told The Center Square. “You’ve got professional sports teams in the state that want legal sports betting to happen in Georgia. There’s certainly a push for it.
“You’ve also got a significant chunk of legislators [and] I think people in Georgia with some moral objections to gambling in general, which makes it interesting,” Conlin said.
Conlin said he sees a scenario where some legislators might be more willing to give the thumbs up to sports betting now that other states have successfully done so.
“Sports betting has become something that’s pretty much accepted across much of the U.S. at this point,” Conlin said. “So, I think it’s one where I could see some legislators who are on the fence, being more willing to do it now that a bunch of other states have done it and had some success generating tax revenue and regulating the market.”
Last year, a PlayUSA report found that Georgia, one of the largest markets without legalized sports betting, could generate $600 million of revenue annually. The Empire State of the South could rival states like Michigan or Virginia if it legalized sports betting.
Georgia lawmakers have considered legalizing sports betting and casino gambling in the past. Last year, the Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee signed off on versions of bills that could have opened the door to sports betting, but both measures died.
A spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, previously told The Center Square that state lawmakers and Georgia voters would have to vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in The Peach State.