After SB 142 and SR 135 failed in the Georgia Legislature, it meant yet another year without legalized sports gambling in GA. Other states have adopted pro-gambling stances and enacted laws that reflect that.
Peach State, again, fails to act
When elected officials fail to act on the public’s wishes, it’s time to elect folks who do. About 64% of Georgians support legalized casino gambling, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Thankfully, the legislative session that postponed sports betting in Georgia took place in an election year. Georgians can utilize the ballot box to bring in legislators that support their aims for the state.
One head-scratching aspect of the failure of SB 142 and SR 135 is that neither would legalize gambling outright. The bill and resolution would have simply created a ballot referendum. So then residents could decide if they would like gambling in the state to exist.
It’s one thing to legislate based on your morals, but to not even allow constituents a voice? That’s flagrantly undemocratic. Georgians will wait another year before any similar legislative measures are called for debate.
Midterms are a chance to counter gambling inaction
Georgians must get involved in the democratic process this year. The midterms are in November and the primary election is May 24, Some of the following state senators may not be up for re-election this year, but some are.
Remember who voted “YEA” on SB 142, which at least allowed the bill to be tabled to the next legislative session.
Indeed, some of the senators who voted to table the motion were also supportive of the legislation. However, it’s another example of politicking trumping policy-making. That kind of accepted stagnation is why Georgia continues to lag behind other states on sports gambling.
Unfortunately, sports betting isn’t as much of a marquee issue in Georgia as in others. Therefore, many candidates will not include their stance in their platform. Follow the votes and follow the debates.
What to know before heading to the polls
In the 2020 general election, both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena operated as polling locations. It’s not been decided whether they’ll host voters in the 2022 midterms.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 202 into law last March. It’s important to know the changes that have been made. There are some additional requirements to cast ballots in the upcoming primary and general elections.
The hallmark races will be the governorship, cabinet seats and a handful of congressional districts. The most important moves on sports gambling will take place at the statehouse.
The governor is important as well. Kemp has previously voiced his opposition to legalized sports gambling but would support a voter-backed amendment. Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams remains “open to the topic” if tax money goes to education.
Legalized sports gambling in Georgia may not steal the headlines like other issues, but it’s still one that generates spirited debate amongst Georgians. When heading to the polling stations this election year, consider the downrange impact of your choice if legalized sports gambling is one of your top priorities.
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