(The Center Square) – Georgia voters soon could decide whether to allow sports wagering and casino gambling.
The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee signed off this week on versions of Senate Resolution 135 and Senate Bill 142. If approved, voters could decide on the measures as soon as November.
Legalizing sports wagering and casino gambling in The Peach State has been an on-again-off-again proposition for years. The passage of the most-recent legislation could face long odds as the state Legislature is in its final days.
“Those of you … that may know you can do sports betting today. It’s on your phone. It’s an app, but keep in mind that money is going offshore to Antigua and some of these other places,” The Associated Press quoted state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, a long-time advocate of expanding gambling in the state. “You’re taxing and regulating, and that’s all, because you’re already doing this particular sports betting.”
Under the measures, proceeds from wagering primarily would benefit education and health care in Georgia.
“It’s basically a gambling everywhere bill that’s going to give the Georgia General Assembly a blank check going forward on gambling,” Mike Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board said in a video posted to Facebook.
The state Senate failed to advance Senate Bill 212 earlier this month to allow Georgians to decide whether to legalize pari-mutuel horse race wagering.