Georgia’s Senate Judiciary Committee has resurrected the prospect of legal sports betting in the state by amending a bill to include a framework for legal wagering.
House Bill 903 – which had initially dealt with traffic citations – was amended to become a sports betting bill instead, a practice common in the final days of a legislative session in order to get a bill over the line.
The bill, which would amend the definition of a lottery in the state to include sports betting, now faces a vote on the Senate floor.
HB 903 would allow for online and mobile sports wagering, with all licensees taxed at 20% of gross income and taxes going towards education in the state. Betting will be regulated by the Georgia Lottery Corporation.
The bill also calls for a non-refundable $50,000 initial license application fee and an annual $900,000 license fee.
In-play wagering would be permitted, but official league data must be used if the event’s governing body requests its use.
It would not permit bets on penalties or individual prop bets for collegiate games. The bill would also require licensees to issue time limits for time spent betting, but did not set this limit.
Senate Bill 403 and House Resolution 378 had previously sought to amend the state’s Constitution in order to permit sports betting in Georgia. However, both died after they failed to progress in time to meet a legislative deadline in the state.
In October 2019, Georgia’s deputy legislative counsel, D. Stuart Morelli stated that – as Georgia’s constitution only permits lotteries – a constitutional amendment to legalise sports betting in the state may not be required, but would be preferable due to the ambiguity of the current situation.