Georgia Senate To Study Legalized Gambling's Viability In State
Georgia Sen. Brandon Beach said that a state Senate study committee on legalized gambling, which is holding its first meeting next Tuesday, will "spend part of its time exploring the feasibility of legalizing sports betting" in the state, according to Williams & Jackson of the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE. Georgia is "among 18 states where bills legalizing sports betting have been introduced but not acted upon." A proposed constitutional amendment "calls for a statewide referendum on sports betting as early as November of next year." It was "introduced into the Georgia House of Representatives last March and is up for consideration during this winter’s General Assembly session." State Rep. Ron Stephens said, "We’re going to make a very compelling argument when the session starts." The Georgia legislation "calls for tax revenue from sports betting to go toward education." Supporters of legalized gambling in the state have "used the same argument to try to sway support for casinos and horse racing throughout this decade." However, they "haven’t been able to overcome the influence of religious conservatives who oppose gambling on moral grounds." But sports betting "could be different because it enjoys the backing of the pro sports industry." Beach said that Braves President & CEO Derek Schiller, Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay and Hawks CEO Steve Koonin are "scheduled to appear before the Senate study committee at one of its early meetings" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/23).