Georgia’s Senate has voted against SB 57 by 37 votes to 19 dealing a significant blow to those hoping for legalization of sports betting in Georgia.

SB57 would have approved up to 18 online sports betting licenses, and businesses holding liquor licenses in Georgia would also have been able to host retail sports betting kiosks.

What was bill SB57?

SB57 was unique, and perhaps the more optimistic of the two sports betting bills that are being considered in Georgia legislature.

The bill sought to legalize sports betting in Georgia, both retail and online, to be regulated by Georgia lottery and thus require no amendment to the state constitution.

The bill would have seen a division and hires made within 60 days of the bill passing within the Georgia Lottery Corporation and everything built from there. The application fee would have stood at a non-refundable $100,000 with an annual licensing fee of $1,000,000.

The tax rate for sports betting adjusted gross revenue would have been 20 percent.

What does Georgia Bill HB380 say?

Monday 6th March will see the Georgia House of Representatives consider HB380. The bill, put forward by Republican Rep. Marcus Wiedower of 121st District would only permit online sports betting, dropping the kiosk component proposed in SB57. HB380 also does not include mention of horse racing. The entities eligible should HB380 eventually pass are:

  1. Any professional sports team, or its designee;
  2. A professional sports governing body that holds one or more sanctioned annual golf tournaments on a national tour of professional golf in this state and has held one or more of the same or different sanctioned annual golf tournaments on a national tour of professional golf in this state for at least 30 years;
  3. The owner of a facility in this state that has held an annual invitational golf tournament for professional and amateur golfers for at least 30 years;
  4. The owner of a facility located in this state that hosts automobile races on a national association for stock car racing national tour or a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of the owner of such a facility, if the owner is a not-for-profit corporation or organization;
  5. The Georgia Lottery Corporation

The tax rate in HB380 is also set higher at 25 percent of the adjusted gross income derived from online sports betting. Applicants listed above would face a nonrefundable application fee of $100,000 and an annual licensing fee of $1,500,000.

If shared with an online operator it would be $750,000 per year. It is worth noting that both SB172 and SB140 are still floating in the Senate, and if picked up before the end of legislature may well offer another route for sports betting legalization in Georgia.

How does the state compare?

Although Georgia is the 8th most populous state in the United States. The Ohio sports betting launch has been heralded as extraordinary and Ohio has only 700,000 more citizens.

Georgia is a key market for commercial operators, although the most optimistic will have a keen eye on the Lone Star state, as Texas sports betting or Florida sports betting would undoubtedly be the largest and best results for commercial operators.