Sports Betting Picking Up Momentum in Georgia Ahead of 2024 Session

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • Georgia failed to pass sports betting bills from either chamber
  • Lawmakers are seeking guidance on how to fast-track bills to legalization
  • Nearby Tennessee has claimed more than $73 million in online sports betting tax since late 2020

Pressure is mounting on Georgia lawmakers to legalize sports betting in the next legislative cycle.

Representatives of Entain Foundation U.S., part of FanDuel’s’s parent company Entain Plc, met with state lawmakers in Atlanta on Tuesday to discuss a path to legalization of Georgia sports betting next year. The topic of gaming has been broached in Congress in the last few years but has failed to materialize into anything concrete.

However, there is internal motivation to get the changes done soon. Georgia is the eighth-most-populated state and the fourth-highest of states without legal sports betting.

Building off previous efforts

Bill Pascrell, a partner at lobby group PPAG and Entain representative, said that several Georgia lawmakers asked for assistance plotting a path to getting sports betting and other forms of gambling over the existing legal hurdles.

Nearby Florida is also moving towards sports betting legalization, though it is caught in the tangles of an ongoing legal saga and could be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Georgia, as you can imagine, has, politically, a lot of issues, including the Trump indictment, so there’s a little bit of a distraction at the moment,” Pascrell said. “But I feel pretty positive Georgia is going to move [betting] on next year along with a few other states.”

Several sports betting bills were proposed in the 2023 legislative session but failed to advance out of either chamber. Stumbling blocks included combination efforts to advance other forms of gambling, the increase in problem gambling, revenue shares, regulatory bodies, and more.

Judging by the 2023 debates, sports betting’s best path to legalization is as an individual. Lawmakers remain divided over the topics of parimutuel horse race betting and casinos.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp previously indicated that he would support a sports betting bill if one goes before his desk. He also said that he won’t block constitutional amendments that allow for casinos.

Georgia lawmakers have the ability to “gut and replace” old bills and reintroduce them as fresh ideas. Earlier this year, a group of sports betting backers did that with House Bill 237 (which dealt with a soap box derby) and made it a platform for sports wagering.

The decision caused a stir of controversy, with Sen. Mike Dugan saying it “just set sports betting back five years.”

What could be?

If Georgia adopts a new sports betting plan, the prevailing opinion is that a majority of the tax revenue will be used for the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs.

According to estimates, Georgia stands to gain somewhere around $46 million annually even with a humble 10% tax rate on sportsbook revenues.

Martin Lycka, senior vice president for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain said the state would benefit significantly from the increased cash flow not only from sports betting, but in the local economy due to the influx of advertising and job openings.

There’s also the issue that underground gambling is already happening. Georgia is missing out on tax earnings from those transactions and also allowing crime to fester in its communities.

But not everyone is on board with sports betting. Lobbyist Mike Griffin said sports betting’s accessibility with online sportsbooks makes it “one of the most dangerous forms of gambling” and “just because somebody is doing something illegal does not mean that it should be made legal.”

Georgia figures to be a major player if it garners enough support to legalize sports betting. Aside from the population density, it is a popular city for out-of-towners to visit. It also has great local attractions in the form of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Georgia Bulldogs, and more.

One of Georgia’s neighbors, Tennessee, has reported $73.7 million in tax funding since online sports betting was legalized in November 2020. South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama are all without sports betting.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.