Georgia state rep confident of sports betting vote this year

Some lawmakers are optimistic about the possibility of legalising sports betting this year.
Some lawmakers are optimistic about the possibility of legalising sports betting this year.

Georgia representative Ron Stephens has said that sports betting legislation will be discussed this year.

US.- The Georgia General Assembly is reported to be bringing back to the table a bill that would legalise sports betting in the state. Representative Ron Stephens wrote a guest column in the Bryan County News affirming that he remains committed to pushing the legislation forward.

“With the rising popularity of sports gaming, especially with the rising popularity of the National Football League, many states have legalized the practice,” Stephens pointed out. 

He explained that he plans to spearhead a constitutional amendment that would allow the Georgia Lottery to create a sports gaming bill.

Stephens told WJCL that he feels hopeful that lawmakers will get a bill passed this session to get sports betting on the ballot. However there’s still lots of resistance regarding gambling legislation.

Stephens has been a vocal supporter of bringing casino resorts and sports betting to the state for years. He wants to see proceeds from gaming used to provide more funding for college scholarships.

“With this being the 30th anniversary of the lottery vote creating the HOPE Scholarship, more than 2 million Georgians have lifted themselves up thru a higher education and technical college careers,” Stephens wrote. “More than 1.6 million families received pre-K head starts. We will take up sports gaming in the days to come to close the gap with HOPE and pre-K. Bottom line, this will be another lottery game.”

The state Senate passed a constitutional amendment last March calling for a statewide referendum on the legalisation of sports betting. While Senate Resolution 135 failed to reach the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives, it marked the first time a gambling bill had made it through either legislative chamber.

Professional sports teams in Atlanta have announced their support. Some of them include Atlanta United, the Braves, Falcons, and Hawks. They have said that sports betting would boost fan engagement and make sporting events more enjoyable for viewers.

Georgia is one of only six states that does not have commercial or tribal casinos, or legal sports betting. The others are Hawaii, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont.

See also: Georgia lawmakers to renew debate on legalised gambling

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