When it comes to pushing its chips to the center of the table on legal gambling, the state of Georgia has a boatload to gain — and a ton to lose.
According to a recent report generated by sister outlet PlayUSA, legal Georgia sports betting could potentially net up to $600 million in annual revenue.
Well-positioned for revenue growth from gambling
That windfall could go an extremely long way for the state’s residents and provide a budgetary influx to initiates that have been deferred or delayed due to a lack of available funding. Georgia’s neighbor to the north, Tennessee, enjoys the revenue spark provided by mobile and online sports gambling. With a population that exceeds Tennessee’s by nearly 4 million, Georgia is better positioned to best the $35.5 million in revenue Tennessee raked in during its first year of legal online gambling.
That’s if the Georgia House, Senate and the governor decide to get on board.
2023 Georgia legislative session will be critical
This will be a transitional session for both chambers.
Longtime House Speaker David Ralston passed away last month, leaving the position open for the coming term. Ralston, one of the vocal supporters of last year’s legalized gambling measures, wielded strong influence over his caucus as the longest-serving speaker in the country. He’s likely to be succeeded by House Majority Leader and ally Jon Burns, who was nominated by Republican colleagues. He should ascend to the position as the House’s first order of business.
The Senate will also be electing new leadership, as Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan decided to forego a second term. Beyond coming selections for leaders for respective chambers, the potential agenda for the 2023 legislative session is unclear.
After coming extremely close to landing on Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk in 2022, however, it’s highly likely that legalized gambling measures are revived.
Should lawmakers again attempt to fashion legislation that paves the way for legal gambling in Georgia, the $600 million figure cited in PlayUSA’s analysis is one that should catch many a legislator’s eyes.
With election season finally firmly in the rearview, all eyes will now turn to January and the coming legislative session to see if headway can be made on legal gambling or if legislators will again leave that money on the table.