The Georgia senate has voted through a bill that would legalise online sports betting in the Peach State, but with an added requirement for a constitutional amendment approved by voters.
Senate Bill 386 was filed last week, seeking to regulate online sports wagering in Georgia. It has moved through the senate quickly and was approved yesterday by a vote of 35-15.
However, this was not before senators added the amendment, which requires the support of 38 senators for the bill to pass. The amendment allows proceeds of betting to be directed to other purposes including needs-based scholarships.
Following senate approval, the sports betting bill now progresses to the Georgia house of representatives for further discussion.
What is in the Georgia sports betting bill?
Key language in SB386 includes that the bill would cover online sports wagering. Players would need to be at least 21 to bet and physically located inside Georgia.
The Georgia Lottery Corporation would assume responsibility for regulating the market. This would include distributing licences for online betting, which would run for five years.
Several licence types would be made available, with the main one being a Type 1 licence for online betting. Operators would need to pay $100,000 (£78,445/€91,925) to apply and a $1.0m annual renewal fee.
Type 1 licence holders could partner one approved services provider. These providers would need to secure a services licence, which would cost $10,000 and have a $100,000 yearly renewal fee.
An additional supplier licence would be offered at $2,000, plus a $20,00 renewal cost.
A total of 16 Type 1 licences would be made available in Georgia, with eight tethered to professional sports organisations. A further seven standalone licences would be offered, in addition to one linked to the Georgia Lottery.
As for tax, Type 1 licence holders would pay at a rate of 20% of adjusted gross income from online sports betting in Georgia. This tax would be payable on a monthly basis.
The bill would become effective as soon as it is signed off by the state’s governor.
What else is happening in the Peach State?
SB 386 is not the only online sports betting bill to emerge this year. Last month, another bill was recommitted to the senate.
Senate Bill 172 was submitted in Georgia in February last year by state senator Bill Cowsert but ultimately failed. The bill is now back and is largely unchanged, with its goal still being to legalise sports betting.
The bill differs to SB386 in that it would allow for online and retail betting. There is not a limit on the number of licences that would be offered, with several licence types being proposed.
There is no specific information on tax rate. However, the bill outlines an annual privilege tax would be imposed on adjusted gross income derived from online sports betting.
This consists of 25% of the adjusted gross income from parlay bets, proposition bets and live betting wagers and 20% of adjusted gross income from all other sports betting wagers.
Should the bill pass, it would become effective from 1 January 2025. However, unlike SB386, it is yet to clear the senate stage.