Sports Betting Lights Go Out In Georgia on Crossover Day


Sports Betting Lights Go Out In Georgia on Crossover Day

All legal sports betting legislation in both Chambers of the Georgia Legislature have failed this session.

The Georgia Senate Monday did not pass Senate Resolution 140, a constitutional amendment that would have legalized online sports betting in Georgia.

With a 30-26 vote, SR 140 received a majority vote but not the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

As well, the Georgia House did not address House Bill 380 on the floor Monday night, signaling its failure to advance before the end of Crossover Day. It was the only remaining piece of sports betting legislation active this session.

Spirited Senate debate over “poison pill” amendments

A group of proposed amendments led to a spirited debate on the Senate floor over Sen. Bill Cowsert’s sports betting resolution. One amendment would have added pari-mutuel horse racing and casinos to SR 140. Another would have removed needs-based scholarship language from the bill text and replaced it with merit-based language, essentially changing the scope of the beneficiaries of SR 140.

Sen. Brandon Beach, who proposed three amendments to the resolution, including the aforementioned two, spoke in support of the education-funding amendment and cited upholding achievement standards in education for removing needs-based language from the bill.

“No one in this chamber can argue the HOPE scholarship has been wildly successful,” Beach said. “By fully funding hope, there will be no reason for a new category of needs-based scholarships. If you have a B average, you will get your education paid for. “

Cowsert supported only one amendment that would have funded the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, referring to all other amendments as “poison pills” designed to sink the legislation. Beach’s three amendments failed.

Cowsert appealed to Georgia senators to “have a heart” and let people have the opportunity to vote on the issue.

While the Senate agreed to add the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame amendment to SR 140, lawmakers could not find enough votes to reach the two-thirds majority threshold, and SR 140 died on the Senate floor.

House bill never reaches the floor

SJR 140 was the second piece of sports betting legislation that failed in the Georgia Senate. Senate Bill 57 was defeated last week. After the failures of both pieces of Senate legislation, Georgians who supported sports betting hung their hats on House Bill 380, which would have bypassed the need for a constitutional amendment, similar to SB 57. Unlike SB 57, though, HB 380 did not allow for fixed-odds horse racing.

By midnight on Crossover Day, however, HB 380 never made it to the House floor for debate, signaling the end of Georgia’s sports betting push this legislative session.