The Georgia Lottery is breaking records and seeing massive interest in its games.
While exact statistics have not been shared, the reported numbers are staggering. Billions of dollars have been contributed to education in the last few years. It is clear Georgians like to gamble in hopes of striking it rich, and the taxes generated from doing so are helping the state.
As bills to expand gambling remain held up in a divided Georgia Legislature, many are wondering just how much more money the state could generate with legal sports betting and regulated casinos.
Lottery gives education at least $1B for 8th straight year
Georgia Lottery players have an advantage over most lottery players in the US. Georgia online lottery tickets can be purchased through the Lottery’s app or on its website. Only a few states allow online lottery sales.
In the 2023 fiscal year, the Georgia Lottery contributed over $1.5 billion to education. It was the eighth year in a row that the Georgia Lottery has contributed at least $1 billion to education. This year it was because scratch ticket games and iLottery sales reached record highs. At the same time, Mega Millions and Powerball saw four of their 10 biggest jackpots in history.
“With all Georgia Lottery profits benefitting HOPE and Pre-K, these strong results ensure that Georgia’s students and families in every county remain our biggest winners.”Gretchen Corbin, Georgia Lottery president and CEO
The Georgia Lottery has contributed $26.8 billion to education programs in the 30 years since the lottery began.
Part of that money has been used to give more than 2.1 million students HOPE scholarships. It also paid for over 2 million 4-year-olds to attend pre-kindergarten classes.
How much money could sports betting and casinos add?
It is clear Georgia has an appetite for expanded gambling. Georgia sports betting, and a casino marketplace in The Peach State, could thrive.
It is impossible to say exactly how much money Georgia is missing out on by not expanding gambling. For comparison’s sake, let’s look at Virginia’s gambling market.
Virginia sports betting generated more than $6.2 million in May 2023 tax dollars despite being a fairly young market. There was also nearly $8.2 million in tax dollars generated from casino gambling in the same month. That is with two of the three active casinos in the state operating out of temporary facilities.
If those numbers are extrapolated over a year, that is $172.8 million in tax dollars generated from one of the smaller gambling markets in the country.
The story is similar in other markets. In Arizona in March, $3.7 million in tax dollars were collected from sports wagering. In Colorado in May, the state received $2.2 million in tax money from retail and mobile sports betting. Maryland online sports betting led to over $2.7 million in tax contributions to the state.
Regardless of how a sports betting or casino bill would be written, the truth is the same. Georgia is leaving tens of millions of tax dollars on the table by not expanding gambling in The Peach State.