Is Sports Betting Legal in Georgia?
It will be extremely interesting to see how states in the southeast embrace, or choose not to embrace, sports betting. Georgia is one of those states. With an enormous population center in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs, but with a lot of rural life, and a ton of religious influence in politics and day-to-day affairs, the Peach State is one of the more compelling when it comes to the long-term likelihood of legalized wagering with state borders.
Georgia is currently one of a handful of states without casino gambling. That issue has been gaining traction and could end up being something of a hot-button issue with the gubernatorial race in the state heading into the November elections. Georgia has a lottery with significant financial kickbacks into the state’s education system, much like neighboring South Carolina. That is virtually the only gambling done legally in the state.
It would certainly seem that getting over the casino hurdle would be a prelude to getting over the sports betting hurdle, though it also seems like the two things could be tied together with future legislation and in the governor race. Unfortunately, Georgia’s primary elections were held on May 22, which was too late for sports betting to be a topic this year.
The Bible Belt states are all interesting when it comes to the topic of sports betting and of casino gambling as a whole. South Carolina also doesn’t have casinos, but Mississippi is at the forefront of the legalized betting push and is expected to be ready to take bets by football season. Georgia seems to be caught right in the middle.
Recent News Stories About Betting
13WMAZ’s Randall Savage gave a pretty good overview of the current social constructs in Georgia as it pertains to both gambling and betting.
Charlie Harper of Savannah Now spoke of the upcoming gubernatorial race and its potential impact on the hot issues of gambling and betting.
A very good synopsis of how the state legislature could look at gambling came from James Swift of the Daily Tribune News.
The state legislature meets again in January and Gordon Jackson of The Brunswick News solicited opinions on if sports betting will be a topic.
This is a tough one. In sports betting terms, it is likely a pick ‘em as both sides currently have about a 50/50 shot. A framework around education, akin to the state lottery, might work, but this is also a state without casinos, so gambling hasn’t been a high priority. We could be looking at a rather long and drawn out debate in Georgia and it’s hard to tell which way it will go.