The Georgia Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would legalize online sports betting in the Peach State, but with the added requirement of a voter-approved constitutional amendment.
Last week, Senate Bill 386 was filed, which aims to regulate online sports betting in Georgia. The motion was quickly passed by the Senate and approved yesterday by a vote of 35-15.
However, this did not happen before senators added the amendment, which requires the support of 38 senators for the bill to pass. The change allows weather proceeds to be used for other purposes, including need-based scholarships.
Following Senate approval, the sports betting bill now heads to the Georgia House of Representatives for further discussion.
What’s in Georgia’s Sports Betting Law?
Key language in SB386 includes that the bill would cover online sports betting. Players must be at least 21 years old to bet and physically located in Georgia.
The Georgia Lottery Corporation would assume responsibility for regulating the market. This also includes the granting of licenses for online betting, which should run for five years.
Several types of licenses would be made available, the main one being a Type 1 license for online betting. Operators would have to pay $100,000 (£78,445/€91,925) and an annual renewal fee of $1.0 million to apply.
Type 1 license holders could work with an approved service provider. These providers would be required to secure a service license, which would cost $10,000 and incur an annual renewal fee of $100,000.
An additional vendor license would be offered for $2,000, plus a $20.00 renewal fee.
A total of 16 Type 1 licenses would be made available in Georgia, eight of which would be tied to professional sports organizations. In addition to a Georgia Lottery-affiliated license, an additional seven stand-alone licenses would be offered.
As for taxes, Type 1 license holders would pay a tax rate of 20% of adjusted gross income from online sports betting in Georgia. This tax would be paid monthly.
The bill would take effect once signed by the state’s governor.
What else is happening in the Peach State?
SB 386 isn’t the only online sports betting bill coming this year. Another bill was reintroduced to the Senate last month.
Senate Bill 172 was filed in Georgia in February last year by State Senator Bill Cowsert, but ultimately failed. The bill has since returned and remains largely unchanged, although its goal is still to legalize sports betting.
The bill differs from SB386 in that it would allow online and retail betting. The number of licenses offered is not limited, several license types are suggested.
There is no specific information about the tax rate. However, the bill requires an annual privilege tax to be imposed on adjusted gross revenue from online sports betting.
This consists of 25% of the adjusted gross income from combination bets, proposition bets and live bets and 20% of the adjusted gross income from all other sports bets.
If passed, the bill would come into force on January 1, 2025. However, unlike SB386, it still has to go through the Senate phase.