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The Status of Legal Sports Betting In Georgia in 2021

Hasan Nabulsi
Atlanta Falcons

Sports betting in Georgia is on the cusp of being passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Brian Kemp.

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Two bills have been passed by the state Senate and have been sent to the state House for approval before being sent to the Governor. The rules included in those bills is still subject to change before then. 

The current bills would call for online sportsbooks only and would require local voters to approve sports betting on the 2022 November ballot. If the issue does go on the ballot, it’s expected to pass given how surveys and polls have shown that GA residents want to bet on sports.

Where To Bet On Sports In Georgia

At this time there is nowhere to bet on sports in Georgia. Current bills in the state legislature are also not looking to legalize retail locations for people to bet on sports in GA. 

There are no casinos or racetracks in Georgia and that is typically where sportsbooks in the US have been legalized. Instead, sports betting would be an online-only affair, similar to neighboring state Tennessee.

There is still time for lawmakers to add provisions for retail sportsbooks before they pass any bills, however, it is unlikely they will in 2021. 

For now, those looking to bet on sports in Georgia will have to go across state lines to Tennessee and use their online sportsbooks.

Georgia Sports Betting Sites And Apps

The types of Georgia sports betting sites and apps to operate in the Peach State have yet to be figured out. 

However, online sports bettors should remain hopeful since the bill making the most headway in the state legislature would legalize a minimum of six online sportsbooks with no cap on the maximum amount of sportsbooks. 

Each sportsbook brand would have to partner with the state lottery similar to how the framework is set up in Tennessee. 

Sports bettors can expect brands such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and others to launch once given approval. 

Georgia Sports Betting FAQs

What Is The Legal Age To Bet On Sports In Georgia?

The legal age to bet on sports in Georgia would be 21 and up if current bills in the state legislature pass. 

Can I Bet On College Teams Based In Georgia?

According to the bills currently circulating with the state legislature, no. Betting on the Georgia Bulldogs or Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets would not be allowed. That rule could be amended before it is signed into law. 

What is The GA Sports Betting Tax Rate?

There are two bills in the state House, one with a tax rate of 16% and one with a tax rate of 20%. This tax rate would be put on Georgia sportsbooks’ gross gaming revenue and not on the individual bettor. Bettors will have to report their winnings on their taxes, however. 

When Will Georgia Sports Betting Be Legalized?

The bill that’s made the most headway in the state legislature would put GA sports betting on the November 2022 ballot. Lawmakers argue that a constitutional amendment would need to be made before that activity could become officially legal. 

Georgia Sports Betting Timeline

Lawmakers have been trying to legalize sports betting in Georgia for years. However, it isn’t until now that talks of sports betting have been taken very seriously. 

The combination of the budget hits set by COVID-19 along with the early success of the Tennessee market has put pressure on state legislators to find some way to generate additional tax revenue.

2019 – A new Sports Betting Bill is Introduced

The year began with lawmakers introducing HR 380. The bill set to legalize land-based sports betting venues but was very vague in nature. The bill didn’t get any traction within the state legislature, having died without even being assigned to a committee. 

Instead, in April of that year, the Senate Study Committee on Gaming and Pari-mutuel Wagering on Horse Racing and Growing Georgia’s Equine Industry was formed and discussed sports betting throughout the year. 

The House of Representatives formed the Economic Development Committee to explore legalizing casinos, horse racing, and sports betting. 

Both held hearings throughout the year and met with various industry stakeholders in order to advise lawmakers in the coming year.

2020 – COVID comes along and no bills are passed

In February of 2020, SB 403 was introduced in the state legislature. The goal of the bill was to legalize online sportsbooks only and have online sports betting in Georgia be an extension of the games offered by the lottery.

This method was thought to prevent legislators from having to go the route of a constitutional amendment. 

Other bills were also introduced in the spring, however, the COVID-19 pandemic threw everything out of whack.

None of the bills managed to pass the cross-over day for bills in the House to be passed in the Senate. That happened around the same time as the coronavirus shutdowns across the country. By the time the legislature came back together, sports betting was the last thing lawmakers were interested in. 

2021 – Betting Bills are back on the table

The year began with lawmakers again presenting a bill to legalize online sportsbooks in GA through the lottery. House Bill 570 was the bill originally presented, but the bills to make the most headway have been Senate Bill 142 and Senate Resolution 135.

Senate Bill 142 would set up the framework of the Georgia sports betting market while Senate Resolution 135 would put the issue on the November 2022 ballot in the form of a constitutional amendment. Both bills have passed the Senate and have been sent to the House.

If the bills are passed and voters pass sports betting on the next ballot, it would open the door for a minimum of six online sportsbooks to operate in GA.

Sportsbooks would still have to partner with the Georgia Lottery, but the constitutional amendment would ensure the legality of the activity and prevent the state from any lawsuits.