Georgia’s Lawmakers Look To Legalize Gambling In 2022

  • Georgia’s lawmakers are looking to revive the debate over online gambling.
  • Online sports betting nearly made it to the ballot in 2021, making it through the State Senate.
  • In 2022, there are going to be several proposals for regulating sports betting in the Peach State.

ATLANTA - Georgia’s lawmakers have been hinting at renewed debate over online gambling in GA as the 2022 legislative session draws closer. In 2021, the Georgia State Senate passed a constitutional amendment that called for a referendum on legalizing sports betting.

However, that resolution failed to reach the floor in the House of Representatives - although simply getting through the Senate was a landmark accomplishment.

The debate will be renewed and one wonders if this could be the year for Georgia in terms of online gambling.

Will Georgia Include All Gambling?

There have been various proposals to get sports betting and other forms of online gambling on the ballot in Georgia, as gambling would have to be approved at a constitutional level, meaning the voters of Georgia must pass it.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) brought a sports betting bill to the floor in 2021, but now favors a more open approach to all gambling.

“Let the people decide: Do we want to gamble or do we not?” said Stephens. “That’s the cleanest way to do it.”

In this, Stephens is referencing his plans to bring a law that would put sports betting as well as horse race gambling and casino legalization on the same ballot line. Doing so would prevent multiple gambling measures from being on the ballot simultaneously, which could be dangerous for all of them.

Will Georgia Sportsbooks Be Online?

In the context of sports betting specifically, the plan seems to be similar to a plan that has been a wild success in Tennessee - online sportsbooks.

There is some debate over this, however. Rep Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), a supporter of gambling in Georgia, has reservations.

“There are no jobs created,” Powell said, referring to online sports betting. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.”

Powell’s concern is that an online-only approach, while successful in terms of revenue in Tennessee, would not create jobs the way a retail approach would. This debate will continue into next year, when the legislative session in Georgia will take place.