Georgia Gambling Legislation A Possibility In 2023


Georgia Gambling Legislation A Possibility In 2023

With the general election somewhat in the rearview mirror, a question remains: Will 2023 be when the legislature paves the way to legalize Georgia sports betting? The House and Senate came up short with their efforts in the 2022’s session, failing to enact legislation that would have established a framework for legal wagers in the Peach State.

Gambling supporter Abrams falls to Kemp

With Stacey Abrams’ loss in the gubernatorial race, the state lost its most vocal advocate for Georgia gambling legalization.

Abrams made the topic a pillar of her economic plan for the state. Georgians will have a more tepid governor in Brian Kemp, who is against sports gambling. However, Kemp has stated that he will not stand in the way should legislation land on his desk.

So, what does it all mean for the prospect of gambling in Georgia? It comes down to the 2023 legislative session and the House and Senate’s respective priorities.

The 2023 legislative session will convene on Jan. 9, and run through March 30. This is where the sausage gets made, so to speak. The items on the agenda will prove determinative in whether citizens will have the opportunity to place legal bets online in Georiga.

New leadership for the 2023 legislative session

The upcoming legislative session will have an important order of business prior to the politicking that takes place: Electing a new Speaker of the House, as long-time Speaker David Ralston passed away earlier in the month after resigning due to health reasons. Ralston was the longest-serving speaker of any state legislature in the country, having assumed the post in 2010. He was also instrumental in the push for legalized gambling during the last legislative session, having publicly supported it.

Along with presiding over the chamber, the Georgia Speaker of the House traditionally delivers the party agenda. So, whoever the Republicans elect will also influence whether the legislature pursues another path to legal sports gambling.

On Monday, Republicans nominated Jon Burns of Newington, GA, to succeed Ralston. The nomination of Burns — a close ally of the former speaker — could be a net positive for the legislative trajectory of legal sports betting. He would be expected to build upon the work of the longtime speaker.

A revival of Georgia gambling?

Until the 2023 legislative session begins, however, much of this is simply reading the tea leaves. We will not have real answers until legislative agendas are formally put together.

While the general election is (mostly) complete, the picture remains fuzzy as to the propensity for legal sports betting in Georgia. It remains popular throughout the state. The smart money would be on revised versions of the bills that did not make it across the finish line last year.