Georgia Lawmakers May Introduce Bill to Legalize Casinos, Sports Betting, and Racetracks

Lawmakers in Georgia are considering allowing voters to decide whether to legalize casinos, racetracks, and mobile sports betting in the state. State Sen. Brandon Beach plans to introduce a bill in January that would place a gambling measure on the state ballot next year.

Beach is proposing to bring three casino resorts, a pari-mutuel race track, and mobile sportsbooks to the Peach State. He estimates that the new gambling options could generate $900 million in revenue for the state. The proposed legislation would ask voters whether they want to amend the Georgia constitution to authorize the new games. Beach argues that legalizing sports betting and casinos could prevent Georgia from losing out on tourism and economic development opportunities to neighboring states where these activities are already legal.

The legislation would also dictate how the proceeds from gambling activities would be allocated. According to Beach, half of the revenue would go to a Freight and Logistics Fund to improve infrastructure around the Port of Savannah, with the rest split between healthcare, education, rural healthcare, and state Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Beach also discussed the possibility of using some of the gambling proceeds to establish a fund to attract major events, such as the Super Bowl or Final Four, to Georgia.

If voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, the legislature would pass legislation to establish a new gaming commission to regulate the activity. The Georgia legislature is expected to consider the bill when the regular session convenes on January 8, as a special session is currently in place to address electoral maps and other specific issues.

There is optimism that sports betting could see success in Georgia in 2024, but the fate of casinos and pari-mutuels is uncertain. While similar efforts have stalled in previous sessions, Georgia is seen as a promising candidate for an expansion of sports betting.

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