Legislative Workaround Could Be Shortcut To Legalize Georgia Gambling

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Legislative Workaround Could Be Shortcut To Legalize Georgia Gambling

While the legislative text has not been submitted, state politicians are weighing a creative workaround to pass legal Georgia gambling.

To legalize Georgia casinos and sportsbooks, a two-thirds majority of legislators and the governor would need to approve a ballot measure to amend the state constitution. The voters then need to decide on the measure to establish casinos and racebooks.

A clever interpretation of the legalese has some in the House and Senate believing that sports betting could be legalized without amending the constitution. In turn, a bill could be fast-tracked with just the approval of each chamber. The key would be to focus solely on sports gambling and to tether it to the Georgia Lottery.

The legal loophole? Georgia Lottery

Some lawmakers feel permitting the Georgia Lottery Commission to run sports gambling operations could clear legal barriers without a constitutional amendment.

Should that interpretation of Georgia law ring true, it potentially puts sports gambling on a much quicker — and cleaner — trajectory during this year’s General Assembly.

Sports teams support legalized Georgia sports betting

The state’s major sports teams have all come around to publicly support the topic of Georgia sports betting.

Three years ago, the Braves, Falcons, Hawks and United teamed up to spearhead a public relations push to nudge lawmakers onto the side of legal sports betting. With corporations buoying the effort, the thought was it was a foregone conclusion that Georgia would join the legal gambling fray in 2022.

A pair of bills to do just that failed in the House and Senate, respectively. However, each would tread the arduous path of amending the constitution.

With the potential for a legislative workaround, Georgia could see legalized sports betting even sooner than anticipated.