Georgia Lawmakers to Open Legal Gambling Debate in 2022

| October 14, 2021 12:44 pm PDT

In January 2022, Georgia lawmakers will open discussions on the possibility of legalizing gambling in the state.

The legislative session will open debate on whether the likes of casinos and sports betting should be available for players residing within state lines.

In March 2021, the Peach State looked set to push ahead with plans to put the wheels in motion for change. But no satisfactory progress was made to further campaigners’ cause.

When Will Gambling in Georgia be Legalized?

As things stand, legal online gambling in Georgia has been a contentious topic.

Until gambling is totally legalized in the state, only lotteries are available to bettors offline.

Sports betting within state lines will be up for debate again in 2022, with many optimistic about proposals to legalize gambling in Georgia being successful.

Over the past decade, several bills have been proposed but have ultimately failed to win the support required to legalize betting.

A constitutional amendment passed by the Senate in March pushing for a referendum to make sports betting legal in Georgia. But Senate Resolution 135 ultimately failed to make it to the Georgia House of Representatives.

However, it set a precedent for being the first time such a bill had navigated through one of the chambers.

Although there is no telling when bettors will be allowed to place wagers with in-state operators, there are encouraging signs.

Legalizing Gambling in Georgia an “Easy Sell”

Many Georgians would love to legally bet on Atlanta-based sports teams like the Braves, the Falcons, the Hawks, and MLS outfit, Atlanta United.

But as things stand, cutting through the red tape is the major obstacle to overcome.

Encouragingly, Georgia House Rep. Ron Stephens, the most senior lawmaker in the wider Savannah area, told “The Commute” podcast that there is widespread hope that things will be changed sooner rather than later.

“Georgians are spending $4.8 billion a year sports betting offshore. So, it’s an easy argument to say, ‘Why don’t we keep that revenue here for the HOPE scholarship?’ if Georgians are sports wagering anyway, let’s just make it another lottery game? The pro sports teams are behind it. They’ve all come together and said they need this for fan engagement. They get none of the tax revenue. So, it’s a pretty easy sale.”

There is opposition to the state of Georgia legalizing gambling, however.

For example, a spokesperson for Georgia’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) argued that “Medicaid Expansion and the Earned Income Tax Credit” should be issues that take precedent over bills to lift the ban on betting in the state.

What Happens Next?

Everything rests on the power of campaigners’ respective arguments in the next legislative season that kicks off in January.

The State Senate should be behind the pro-gambling side but whether it will win over the House is another story altogether.

Cooperation between the State and the House is required before any bill can be successful, which means that Republicans and Democrats must find common ground.

Despite major breakthroughs in 2020 for the Dems, such as winning the presidential vote, Republicans still wield the bigger sword in the state.

If both parties can work together, the future of gambling in Georgia will be bright. But it’s going to take conscious effort from those involved to put things into action.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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