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Georgia House committee approves sports betting bill


The Georgia House Committee on Economic Development & Tourism has passed  the state’s Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act (House Bill 86), which would permit both retail and online sports betting.

The bill allows for the Georgia Lottery Corporation and its board of directors to provide oversight for sports wagering in the state, while also allowing for the regulation of wagers and the provision of certain requirements for bettors.

It proposes an amendment to Chapter 27 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lottery for education, in order to include sports wagering within it.

Restrictions to be put in place include that bettors will be given the opportunity to restrict themselves from placing certain wagers, and resources for those suffering gambling-related harm will be provided.

The legislation will also provide for the collection and disposition of taxes, and of violations and penalties, and aims to repeal any conflicting laws to allow sports wagering to become legal.

HB86 was approved by the committee by a 20-6 majority and will now be discussed on the floor of the House in its third reading.

Last year saw Georgia’s Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee fail to ratify Senate Bill 403, which was introduced in February in an attempt to legalize mobile sports wagering in the state.

At Bill 403’s introduction, it was proposed that a non-refundable application fee of $50,000 would be payable, followed by an annual renewal payment of $900,000 for operators to secure a permit.

License holders would then be taxed at a rate of 10% on adjusted gross income from sports betting activities in the state.

In March, Senate Bill 403, alongside House Resolution 378, which also sought to permit sports betting in the state, failed to cross over from one house to the other by the 28th day of the legislative session, known as Crossover day, and the bills therefore became inactive.

In June, an amendment brought forward to House Bill 903, which had initially dealt with traffic citations, saw the Senate Judiciary Committee attempt again to amend the definition of lottery games in the state to include sports wagering. HB903 then failed to progress through the senate.

House Bill 86 was introduced in January 2021, sponsored by six Representatives. It also calls for a $50,000 application fee and a $900,000 annual charge for licensees, but proposes an increased tax rate of 16% on adjusted gross sports wagering income.