Despite a glimmer of hope earlier this year, the Georgia House of Representatives did not bring up a sports betting bill for a vote before adjourning its 2021 legislative session Thursday evening. Georgia residents will not have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to allow for legalized sports betting until 2022 at the earliest.

The house adjourned sine die, putting an end to its 2021 legislative session and the hopes of state gamblers who believed they would have a vote on a referendum legalizing sport betting in the state. Another referendum could be passed in 2022 with a chance to legalize sports betting by 2023.

The next legislative session opens in January 2022.


A Lost Revenue Stream

Senate Bill 142, a bill amending chapter 27 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, would allow for Georgia online sports betting to be regulated by the Georgia Lottery Corporation. The bill was moved to the Georgia General Assembly prior to the final session of the evening by the House Rules Committee.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R), chairman of Economic Development & Tourism, presented the bill.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are doing this right now in the state to the tune of $2.3 billion,” Stephens said, citing illegal betting in the state of Georgia.

It was passed by the Georgia Senate 34-17 earlier this month.

A separate resolution, Senate Resolution 135, proposing a constitutional amendment to provide for sports betting in the state was passed by the Georgia Senate in a 41-10 bipartisan vote earlier this month. The amendment outlines where money from sports betting will be appropriated, with at least 50% of the proceeds marked for need-based scholarships, grants or loans to citizens attending University Systems of Georgia, branches of the Technical College System of Georgia or eligible private colleges and universities, according to the resolution.