The ‘political football’ is a little more literal this election cycle. Georgia sports gambling is playing a prominent role in the midterm elections.
Both gubernatorial candidates Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams have staked out inverse positions, with the latter making gambling legalization a pillar of her economics pitch to Georgians. Meanwhile the former is opposed to the measure but stated he would not stand in the way of a push for a constitutional amendment.
It’s a hot-button issue on the campaign stump. And a hot topic for Georgians seeking to finally be able to place a legal bet in the state. In a high-profile race in the seat for Georgia’s governor, sports gambling has proven a potent social and economic issue. One that may sway voters at the ballot box.
Mayor Andre Dickens is open-minded on legal sports gambling in Georgia
Abrams, who dragged Governor Kemp in September for his stonewalling of sports gambling in a state that features the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, recently received some reinforcement from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who while not providing full-throated support, maintains that he’s open to sports gambling in Georgia:
“It’s something that I’m looking at as it progresses and goes through the state legislature. I’ll be sober and open-minded about it. I understand we do have great operators in this city such as FanDuel and others, that are doing it online and they provide jobs in our community. If there is more sports betting that can happen in our city in an organized fashion, we also need the social safety nets surrounding it“.WALB.com
With the general election on Nov. 8 creeping ever closer, it’s a tepid cosign for Stacey Abrams on an issue where she and Brian Kemp share little middle ground. And with the decisive day looming, a candidate will take any support they can get for their policy position.
That policy position, that expanding local tax revenue opportunities via legal sports gambling and casinos would be a boon for Georgia economically is not really one that’s up for debate. The data supports the notion that legalizing gambling provides a relative windfall — just ask Tennessee.
It’s also been supported by all of the major sports teams in town. They are bullish on what sports betting will bring to the table. What’s somewhat different for Georgians is their views of the venues in which they legally place their wagers.
Poll reveals Georgians split on online sports gambling and casinos
A recent poll commissioned by The Georgia Collaborative showed that while a plurality of the state’s residents supports casinos, they are much more divided on the legalization of online sportsbooks.
That poll surveyed 1,030 likely voters in the state, showing that 59.7% support the legal establishment of casinos. Meanwhile, only 45.6% were in favor of online casinos and sportsbooks.
While clearly there’s support, there are also definite caveats.
Early voting began Oct. 17 in Georgia, with voters shattering records since the polls opened. On Nov. 8 or a few days thereafter, if the past is prologue, we’ll see if the issue of legalized gambling played a role in the final outcome.
Photo by Shutterstock/PlayGeorgia