Georgia sports betting hopes dead for 2023
There will be no Georgia sports betting legalization in 2023, as the House of Representatives did not take a vote on a proposed sports betting bill during a marathon 13-hour day.
Neither Georgia chamber approved sports betting legislation during the state’s crossover day, meaning no sports betting bills will be considered again in the 2023 legislative session.
Georgia sports betting legalization hopes are dead until 2024 at least.
House does not vote on HB 380
Sports betting hopes in Georgia died tonight as the House did not take a vote on HB 380, killing the bill that attempted to legalize online sports betting without a constitutional amendment.
The bill was never even called to the House floor. Rep. Richard H. Smith (R-134) warned members of the chamber as they prepared for a dinner break that not all bills would be considered before the midnight deadline.
“Not everyone’s bill will be heard. It’s not personal,” he said.
As HB 380 did not pass through the House, it can no longer be considered this year. There are no more sports betting bills that either the House or Senate can consider in 2023.
Georgia Rep. Marcus Wiedower’s (R-119) bill would have legalized online sports betting for Georgia professional sports teams and PGA Tour golf courses, such as Augusta National, through 16 online sports betting licenses.
It was a unique bill, as many other previous attempts to legalize Georgia sports tried to do so by amending the state’s constitution.
Senate voted down sports betting bill earlier today
Earlier in the day the Georgia Senate voted down SR 140, a resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to approve Georgia sports betting, by a vote of 30-26. While the majority approved the resolution, it required a two-thirds majority to pass.
SR 140, and its companion bill SB 172, hoped to approve Georgia sports betting through a constitutional amendment approved by state voters in November. Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-46) urged his fellow senators to approve the resolution to put sports betting to a vote in the general election in November.
“I don’t get why it’s wrong to let the people of Georgia vote on this issue,” he said during discussion of the resolution.
Cowsert tabled discussion on SB 172 after SR 140 did not pass. These were the last Senate-introduced sports betting bills available for consideration.
What’s next for Georgia sports betting?
It has to be a frustrating time for Georgia sports betting hopefuls, as a bevy of bills were discussed and ultimately defeated this session.
A Senate bill to legalize sports betting through a constitutional amendment? It received a majority approval, but not the necessary two-thirds majority for an amendment.
A House bill to legalize sports betting without a constitutional amendment? It reached the House but never received a floor vote.
The next step for sports betting hopefuls in the Peach State is to wait again for the 2024 legislative session to see if more support can be drummed up for sports betting legalization.
It remains to be seen what tact lawmakers will take in 2024 if sports betting legalization is taken up again. Will a constitutional amendment be necessary? If so, voters would have the final say on Georgia sports betting in the November 2024 general election, meaning sports betting would not launch until 2025 at the earliest.
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The disappointment at SDS is palpable.