ATLANTA (WJBF) — State lawmakers have just seven legislative days left before this session ends, and have to ratify a state budget, but several issues have resurfaced, including sports betting and gambling.
It’s a topic that’s come up for several years under the gold dome: Sports betting.
“When we talk about sports betting what I think about is the kind of sports betting that we have all seen a lot of commercials for every time we watch a major sporting event on television,” Rep. Teri Anulewicz (D) Smyrna said. “We’re talking about things that are app-based we’d typically be doing on our phones while we’re watching a game.”
But just like in years past, casino gambling, horse racing, and online sports betting did not get the green light this session.
“With sports betting, we know this is activity happening perhaps under the table and is also happening in other states and they are getting the tax revenue,” Rep. Marvin Lim (D) Atlanta said.
State lawmakers say collecting tax revenue from sports betting will prevent that money from going to other states.
“All you have to do is to drive through Florida and see the opportunities out there,” Rep. Ron Stephens (R) Savannah said.
“So if we can bring that revenue here in a way that mitigates as much possible the harms, the way to do that is going to do those disenfranchised communities and that can be a win,” said Lim.
Stephens said, “Horse raising they ought to be able to locally decide that without us throwing a roadblock.
There are rural areas all over the state. Who am I in savannah to tell folks in SW Georgia that they cannot a big and thriving industry.”
Lawmakers say sports betting could help fund education, and rural healthcare.
Teri Anulewicz said, “Sports betting will help support education in Georgia, ideally it will help further support education just like lottery sales help hope scholarship. The goal is that sports betting will help needs based hope.”
State lawmakers did not have any bills passed, on sports betting or casino gambling, which would allow Georgia voters to decide on the issue, but lawmakers say many bills that did not make it this year, could come back with tweaks in the 2023 session.