Recently, the presidents of baseball’s Atlanta Braves, the NFL Falcons, the NBA Hawks and the United of Major League Soccer (MLS) set up the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance and sent letters to Peach State policymakers urging them to sign off on online and mobile sports wagering.
Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, told state agencies earlier this year, to make strategies for cutting spending up to six percent in the current fiscal year. This provided an opportunity for some Georgia politicians to explore revenue-enhancing opportunities such as gambling expansion in a state which opposed it for a long time.
As mentioned in the Casino.org website, the team executives claim that Georgia has one of the biggest illegal sports wagering economies in the US, and its illegal status won’t prevent gamblers from indulging their habit. Others consider legitimate sports betting as a means of better connecting with fans.
n the company’s Monday earnings conference call, Liberty Media CEO and president Greg Maffei said, “I think state-by-state, you’re going to continue to see this chip away. It will take time. And there are clearly some states which are unlikely ever, for at least for a long time, to pass it. But major states will do it as a revenue source.”
Liberty Media owns the Atlanta Braves and Formula One racing.
Atlanta’s professional sports franchises may face a challenge to bring sports betting to life in Georgia. The state is one of only eight which currently doesn’t have commercial or tribal gaming venues, and the state lottery is its only source of legalized gambling.
The Peach State is religious, with around two-thirds of residents there being highly devoted to faith, which may bring some moral opposition to expanded gaming from conservative lawmakers. Nevertheless, other Georgia Republicans think more betting options would increase employment opportunities and bolster tax receipts for the state.
To expand wagering options in the state, politicians would have to write an amendment to the state’s constitution and voters would need to approve it. This process would be applicable to sports betting too.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Getting a constitutional amendment through the General Assembly is a heavy lift and would require at least 120 state representatives and 37 senators to pass the legislation.”
The Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance members said they’ve consulted with legislative attorneys and realized that a constitutional amendment isn’t required to bring sports betting to life. However, they didn’t comment on whether voter approval will be needed or not.
Georgia teams and politicians supporting sports betting believe with neighboring North Carolina and Tennessee that it is the right time to have it in the Peach State. Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, the other states which border Georgia, don’t share the same views.