Five Georgia senators introduced a resolution Wednesday, SR 394, that would create the “Senate Study Committee on the Creation of a Robust Wagering Ecosystem in the State of Georgia.”
There’s currently a bill, HB 237, in the Senate to legalize sports betting in Georgia. The introduction of SR 394 indicates there’s a sizable chunk of senators who don’t support that bill but would rather take a closer look at how to bring expanded gambling to Georgia.
NEW: 5 Georgia state senators have introduced a resolution calling for the formation of a “Senate Study Committee on the Creation of a Robust Wagering Ecosystem in the State of Georgia.” Alternative title: “How Not To Pass A Sports Betting Bill in 2023.” https://t.co/ytbT2KEFXz
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) March 23, 2023
If the study committee is created, it would include 10 members:
- President pro tempore of the Senate
- Majority leader of the Senate
- Majority whip of the Senate
- Majority caucus chairperson of the Senate
- Chairperson of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee
- Chairperson of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
- Four members of the Senate appointed by Senate president
The resolution mentions debate exists over whether a constitutional amendment is needed to legalize sports betting in the state. Legislators have disagreed on the constitutional amendment topic throughout the legislative session, and the 10-member committee would review the topic in greater detail.
The study committee would also look at the volume of Georgians leaving the state to wager elsewhere, in addition to potential tax revenue that could be generated by legalized gambling.
The committee would last until Dec. 1 and be expected to provide a report to help guide lawmakers’ decisions in 2024.
Georgia’s legislative session ends next Wednesday, giving lawmakers less than a week to act on sports betting legalization in 2023. HB 237, if approved, could bring legalized mobile sports betting to Georgia as soon as next year’s Super Bowl.
SR 394 would postpone any potential start date in Georgia, as the resolution would only create a study instead of legislative action. Some of the topics in the study — the need for a constitutional amendment and potential tax revenue creation, for example — have already been analyzed by industry experts. Information regarding the industry’s potential benefits and drawbacks has also been widely discussed and can be researched currently by individual legislators.