With only 4 days remaining in the current legislative session, the General Assembly of Georgia has finally seen the attempt for legalized gambling emerge.
At the beginning of the week, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee gave the green light to a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow state voters to decide whether to make sports betting and other forms of gambling, such as casino gambling and pari-mutuel betting on horse races, legal in Georgia. The comprehensive legislative proposal, called Senate Resolution 135, has followed years of unsuccessful attempts to make various forms of gambling legal separately.
In 2021, those efforts have finally reached a peak point, at the time when the state Senate gave the nod to a constitutional amendment seeking to legalize placing sports wagers online. Although that legislative measure faced some difficulties in the House at the end of the last year’s session, it remained alive, so it could be taken into further consideration in 2022.
During this year’s legislative session a Senate committee gave its approval to another proposed constitutional amendment that only sought to allow betting on horse races. However, the measure did not manage to reach the Senate floor before the deadline bills are given to clear at least one chamber in Georgia Legislature to stay alive.
Additional Proceeds for Education and Social Programmes Recognized as the Greatest Advantage of Gambling Expansion
The bill that was passed by the Georgia House committee at the beginning of the week has brought a new life to the constitutional amendment proposed in 2021, but casino gambling and horse racing we added to the piece of legislation.
The expected tax revenue that is set to be brought by the new forms of gambling, in case they are added to the legal gambling landscape of the state, has been considered a major selling point in the efforts to expand the Georgian legal gambling industry over the years. The additional funds that are expected to be generated by the new forms of gambling would be redirected to various education programs and other services in the state.
Under the provisions of Senate Resolution 135, all the tax proceeds that would be gathered from sports betting would be used for funding education programs. About 50% of that money would be redirected toward the HOPE Scholarships program, while the other 50% would be redirected toward college scholarships and tuition grants. Furthermore, 50% of the proceeds generated by horse racing and casino gambling services would be redirected to health care services, while 20% of the money would be spent on further economic development of Georgia’s disadvantaged areas. The remaining 30% are set to be evenly split between HOPE and need-based scholarships and grants.
Since both horse racing and casino gambling would require specialized facilities hosted in specific locations, a referendum would have to be held for both a racetrack or a casino to be established in local communities.
The proposed bill is expected to reach the state’s House by the end of the upcoming week.