Senate Bill 57, legislation that would authorize and provide for the regulation and taxation of sports betting in the State of Georgia, failed to pass in the Georgia State Senate by a 37-19 margin Thursday afternoon. The bill would call for Georgia Lottery Corporation to create a Georgia Sports Betting Commission which would oversee all betting operations.
Because Senate Bill 57 did not pass today, it cannot be taken up by the House of Representatives for final passage ahead of Monday’s crossover day.
The major hangup with the measure was the provision that would allow individuals to bet on horse racing.
It is the fifth straight year that Georgia lawmakers are attempting to legalize sports betting. But today’s vote continues to highlight the consternation most legislators continue to have regarding sports betting, on both sides of the aisle.
“Gambling is also addictive and demeaning,” said Georgia State Senator Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone. “Gambling is a disorder that is defined by an unusual uncontrollable urge to keep their gambling despite its total takes on your life. Gambling means that you will best be willing to risk something you value and hopefully getting something even greater. Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system. Much like drugs and alcohol, it leads to addiction.”
State Rep. Marcus Wiedower, R-Watkinsville, has a bill (House Bill 380) that is expected to be taken up for a floor vote on Monday. Additionally, House Minority Leader Rep. James Beverly also has a piece of legislation, House Resolution 210, which is designed to deliver sports betting proceeds to various areas like tourism, economic development and cultural and performing arts.