Georgia Senate Advances Sports Betting Bill to the State House

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • Georgia is one of three adjacent (and 12 total) states that do not allow sports betting 
  • The resolution aims to direct 80% of sports betting tax to the state’s HOPE foundation
  • The House could look to combine the DFS bill with the sports betting resolution

Georgia sports betting might have fallen at every previous hurdle, but it’s approaching the barrier with previously-unseen force.

State Senators on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide the fate of sports betting at the November ballot. That came just one week after the Georgia Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee advanced it in hopes of bringing sports betting to the eighth-most populated state. 

While the progress is tangible, the bill still needs to meet a two-thirds vote in the House before it can appear on the ballot.

Taking a step forward 

The Senate voted 41-12 in favor of Senate Resolution 579 to officially advance it to the House.

According to the details of the proposition, 80% of the tax revenue generated from sports betting (if legalized) will fund the state’s HOPE foundation, which awards scholarships to students in public high schools that average at least a “B.” 

An additional 15% would help combat those afflicted with problem gambling behaviors, and 5% would fund local sports.

Earlier this year, the Senate passed a bill that established how sports betting would work in the state if it became legal. As it stands, the only legal forms of gambling are the lottery, bingo games, and raffles. So sports betting, casinos, and online casinos are off the table. 

There have been debates over the best way to add Georgia to the list of 38 USA legal sports betting states. However, after years of shortcomings, many believed that the easiest way would be to put the idea before the very people it would affect. 

“I think it’s the politically appropriate thing to do when we make this type of major policy shift in our state,” Cowsert said. “This is to give voters the opportunity to speak on the issue.” 

One Senator claimed that the bill, if approved by the House and voters, would lead to potentially $100 million in annual tax funding. However, there are still many who oppose the idea. 

“We have the money,” said Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) said. “We have the No. 1 state to do business in. We have a state that is prosperous.”

All eyes on the House 

Every state on the East Coast as far south as South Carolina already legalized either retail and/or online sports betting. But despite that trend, Georgia and neighbors Alabama and South Carolina, have not.

Sports betting is also absent from many states with prominent SEC schools, such as the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Missouri, and more.

Now that the SEC is the conference in power in college sports, having the ability to capitalize on a burgeoning market could prove to be very lucrative for the states. However, that cannot be confirmed until legislation is passed.

Two other sports betting bills were also recently proposed in the Senate. SB 386, similar to the one just advanced to the House, deals strictly with sports betting and would require a majority vote during the general election. SB 172 aims to have sports betting regulated by the Georgia Gaming Corporation and would prohibit betting on in-state colleges and universities, such as UGA. 

Last Wednesday, the House took a swing at deciding the future of Daily Fantasy Sports in the Peach State. Rep. Ron Stephens submitted HB 1329, which would regulate DFS platforms such as PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy. 

There’s a chance the DFS bill could be combined with the sports betting resolution as a compromise between both chambers.