Georgia Sports Betting Discussion to Start Up Soon, Lawmaker Says

Published: February 5, 2022, 08:41 PM.

Last update: February 5, 2022, 08:41 AM.

A leading proponent of expanding gaming in Georgia said in a recent opinion piece that lawmakers will take action on sports betting soon.

Georgia Representative Ron Stephens
Georgia Representative Ron Stevens, seen here speaking during a 2018 political rally, said in a recent opinion piece that he plans to pick up legislation regarding a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in the state. (Photo: Representative Stephens/Facebook)

State Representative Ron Stevens, R. Savannah, wrote a guest column for the newspaper Bryan County News On Thursday regarding what happened in the General Assembly. The chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee has said he plans to make a constitutional amendment that would allow the Georgia Lottery to oversee sports betting.

Stevens has been a staunch advocate of bringing casino resorts and legalizing sports betting in the state for years. He wants to see gaming proceeds used to provide more funding for college scholarships.

As this is the 30th anniversary of voting in the lottery that created the Hope Scholarship, more than two million Georgians have advanced themselves through higher education and technical university careers,” Stephens Books. “Over 1.6 million families have had their Pre-K beginnings. We will be taking up sports in the coming days to bridge the gap with HOPE and Pre-K. Bottom line, this is going to be another lottery game.”

Last year, the state Senate approved a resolution that would initiate a constitutional amendment process on sports betting.

Opponents prepare to fight

Expanded Games face a tough challenge in Georgia, where social conservatives are leading the fight.

Mike Griffin, a spokesperson for the Georgia Baptist Mission Council, said: WJCL TV In Savannah on Friday, the gaming debate has gotten “more intense” lately. There are also concerns about addiction, he said, noting that gaming addiction is “in the same category as heroin, opiates, tobacco, alcohol and cocaine.”

He added, “I think an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

This year is also an election year for top political positions in Georgia. One Republican candidate for deputy governor said the state needs to block efforts to legalize the games. The lieutenant governor plays a key legislative role as the president of the Senate and can cast equivalent votes.

Jane Seaver said the others running for the GOP nomination in the race are “pawns from commercial gaming lobbyists” and have sponsored bills to expand gaming.

“If sports betting is successful, it will open the door to further expansion of gambling,” Seaver tweeted on her campaign account on Saturday. “We need strong leaders to stand up against all gambling and keep our country free from this predatory industry!”

Georgia is one of the seven with the sports betting bill

Sports betting is active or legal in 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia. According to the American Gaming Association, Georgia is one of seven other states with active legislation that would legalize it.

With a population of 11 million, Georgia is also one of the largest states in the country that has not allowed it in some way. Only California, where one or more sports betting measures may be rolled out before voters in November, and Texas are the only states with larger populations that have not yet taken action on sports betting.

Neighboring state Florida took sports betting when it signed a revised gaming agreement with the Seminole tribe. However, a federal judge invalidated that agreement. Tribal leaders and the federal government appealed this decision.

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