Sports betting won’t be coming to Georgia during this legislative session as bills both chambers of the legislature adjourned without passing bills that could legalize the activity in the Peach State.
SR 135 would have given the final say to Georgia voters on the issue. If the resolution passed, sports betting becomes a ballot initiative this November and voters would be able to vote on whether the state’s constitution should be amended to allow it.
According to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the legislation was scheduled for a full debate on the House floor, but it was pulled from the calendar to make small changes to the proposal. It was never spoken about again as most Democrats were against the measure and Republicans didn’t back it strong enough to get it back to the floor.
The bill is dead for this year, but since the General Assembly operates in two-year cycles, the same bills can be reviewed during the 2022 session. It makes 2023 the best-case scenario for Georgians to be allowed to bet on sporting events.
Initially, 2021 looked like it was going to be another banner year for gambling as several states looked primed to expand gambling. But after a bright outlook, many states have failed in passing legislation that would legalize sports betting or other forms of gambling.
Georgia Rep. Ron Stephens filed multiple gambling bills, including his own sports betting bill and a separate proposal that would bring brick-and-mortar casinos to his state. Neither made it out of the legislature and onto the governor’s desk.
New York already legalized sports betting at its upstate casinos, but after pressure from lawmakers, it seemed like Gov. Andrew Cuomo would switch his position and allow for mobile and online sports betting statewide. Earlier this week, it became clear that change wasn’t happening this year and those citizens living in or near the city would still be forced to head to New Jersey to place a bet.
Arizona and Kansas also made progress with sports betting legislation but are still fighting to get it out of the legislature and to the governor.