A bill in Georgia to legalize sports betting failed in the Senate Thursday. Despite the setback, multiple other legislative proposals exist that could bring regulated sports betting to Georgia in the near future.
Based on GeoComply data from the NFL season, there’s a strong appetite among Georgians for that to happen. GeoComply, a leading geolocation security and compliance company, shared that thousands of Georgians tried to access and wager on legal sportsbooks during the 2022 NFL season.
Data shows betting interest
GeoComply identified approximately 1.4 million transactions from users in Georgia accessing legal sportsbooks available in other markets from Sept. 8 through the day of the Super Bowl on Feb. 12. Those users were blocked from betting in Georgia.
The attempts to use legal sportsbooks outside the state came from 128,000 unique player accounts, and 43% of the players were attempting to access Tennessee sportsbooks. Tennessee allows legal mobile sports betting, with BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel among the major operators.
On Super Bowl Sunday, GeoComply recorded approximately 28,000 transactions of users in Georgia accessing sportsbooks in other markets and being blocked from wagering. About 37% of those transactions were people accessing Tennessee sportsbooks.
Additionally, GeoComply data suggests that some Georgia users travel across state lines to wager on their phones in Tennessee. GeoComply’s data does not include the additional number of Georgians who may have used illegal, offshore sports betting platforms to wager on sports in 2022.
Legislative efforts in 2023
SB 57 failed to pass through the Senate on Thursday, but SR 140 and its enabling legislation (SB 172) would allow for legalization of sports wagering in Georgia through a constitutional amendment. If those bills pass, it would put the question of legal sports betting in front of voters in 2024.
HB 380 would legalize sports betting without a constitutional amendment, which means it could lead to a faster launch of legal mobile sports betting platforms in Georgia than SB 140 and SB 172.
Monday is the crossover deadline for action on bills in the Georgia Legislature, which means any measures need to be approved by one chamber and moved to the other that day or they won’t be considered active this session. The remaining sports betting bills have a bit more potential to succeed than SB 57, which included a heavy focus on legalized betting on horse racing.
Moral objections to gambling pose a threat to any new legalization, however, as do disagreements over whether a constitutional amendment is required to authorize sports wagering.