After previous losses, Georgia Senate reinstates sports betting

After the failure of legislation that would have permitted sports wagering in the state, involving horse racing, the official legalization of sports wagering is up for a vote again Thursday in the Georgia senate.

However, this time the main focus of the legislation is to allow sports wagering in the state without legalizing horse racing betting.

Sports wagering added to a separate bill:

Senators revisited the act by attaching it to a separate soapbox derby bill, then quickly enacted it in the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee on an 8-1 vote.

Moreover, a new rewritten bill, House Bill 237, could soon be voted on by the full Senate.

On that note, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who brought the bill back to the Senate’s attention, stated: “We’ll either put it to rest so we don’t have to continue to discuss it anymore or we’ll pass it and it’ll be like buying $75 million on the street.”

The House Bill 380, which does not require a constitutional amendment, was defeated in the Senate. Burt Jones added:

“The new revenue would help bolster the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship and allow Georgia to join 36 other states that allow sports betting.”

Prediction that the sports wagering proposal will fail again:

However, other senators expect the newest sports wagering proposal to fail again, after its addition to a two-page bill primarily aimed to define the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby as Georgia’s official soap box derby.Commenting on that, Georgia Senator Mike Dugan, Republican from Carrollton, said:

“When you hijack a soap box derby (bill) and put sports betting on the back of it, every person that was on the fence in the state of Georgia has just now picked a side of the fence.”

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Purpose of the act:

Under the legislation, sports wagering would be permitted under the state Lottery without changing the state Constitution, which would require a two-thirds vote of members in the state House and Senate and the support of Georgia voters in a referendum.This latest sports betting bill could become law if it receives majority validation from the state House, state Senate and Gov. Brian Kemp.

However, Kemp and Jones have backed sports wagering in the 2022 campaign.

In this regard, Senator Billy Hickman, said:

“I like the odds of sports betting passing on its third try.”

He added:

“I think its chances are great. It is a way to bring in additional money to Georgia from other states. “I use a Tennessee person to play sports, and a Florida person to race my horses. So this is a great bill for Georgia.”

Opinions are divided:The act cannot move forward amid debate over whether it should move forward as a constitutional amendment and decide how the new profit it would raise should be spent.

“It’s immoral, addictive and breeds crime,”

according to opponents of gambling.

In this regard, Jon Burns, House Speaker, said:

“I prefer the legalization of sports betting over a broader expansion of gambling.”On the other hand, Jeanne Seaver, a Savannah Republican activist who runs Moms Against Gambling, said:

“The bill is a disgrace.“Georgians don’t want any expansion of gambling, and the legislative leaders are just not listening” after previous bills didn’t pass.”

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