GA needs more opposers, More states eyeing legalization

Joe Berra

Here is the industry roundup news for this week, highlighting more states eyeing legalization. Georgia and North Carolina push on to bring legalized sports betting within their borders. Oklahoma also joins the mix looking to enter the industry. The Sooner State must fulfill a set of requirements to push forward in the process.

Key Points

– Sports betting continues to grow in the U.S. with more states eyeing legalization.

– North Carolina and Oklahoma may legalize sports betting soon.

Advocates in Georgia Need to Get More Opposers on Board 

The sports betting initiative has been an uphill battle in the Peach State, as a few key senators aren’t on board. Just recently, five senators in the state introduced a resolution called SR 394.

It would essentially create the “Senate Study Committee on the Creation of a Robust Wagering Ecosystem in the State of Georgia.” Maryland and some other states took the same approach as a study showed why sports betting would be a smart move going forward.

HB 237 would legalize sports betting in the state, but there are quite a few opponents to the bill. If the study committee is formed, it will have ten members. They will include:

  • Senate’s pro tempore president
  • The Senate majority leader
  • Senate majority leader
  • Senate Majority Caucus Chairperson Senate Economic Development and Tourism 
  • Committee Chairperson Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
  • Senate President appoints four Senate members

With More States Eyeing Legalization A Constitutional Amendment May Be Needed

The primary discussion is if a constitutional amendment is needed to bring sports betting to the state. Having a study committee would allow the members to look over the topic in greater detail throughout the process.

The group would also highlight the average volume of those crossing state lines to place wagers throughout the year. Additionally, the committee would also determine the potential revenue the operation could generate annually.

If everything goes according to plan, the online sports betting market could launch by next year’s Super Bowl. As a whole, the SEC region has a number of professional and collegiate franchises, but there aren’t many options for bettors to choose from. 

The Sports Betting Push in North Carolina is Heating Up 

With more states eyeing legalization, an online sports betting measure has advanced through three House committees. It will be subject to a floor vote next week. Similar to Georgia, there are those that disapprove of the operation, but the bill marches forward.

HB 347 is led by Rep. Jason Saine. The Commerce Committee advanced the initiative recently by a vote of 17-10. The Finance Committee recommended it favorably by voice vote, and the Judiciary Committee passed it 7-3.

In previous legislation, the bill ran out of steam as it missed by one vote in the House chamber. According to experts, many believe the bill will pass, but it will come down to a slim margin once again.

Rep. Saine has 56 bipartisan sponsors and the backing of Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper has supported the sports betting push in the past, and will sign any sports betting bill that makes it to his desk.

College Basketball Key in North Carolina

One reason why the bill failed in North Carolina last year was that the writing in the bill would have prohibited wagers on college basketball. The Tar Heel State is home to many elite programs. Not allowing such an option would lead to fewer tax receipts both monthly and annually.

During a recent Commerce Committee meeting, Rep. John Autry proposed a similar amendment. Rep. Pricey Harrison attempted a second amendment at a committee hearing. That bill also failed, 19-7. The Commerce Committee also voted 18-8 against an amendment from Rep. Deb Butler. It would have banned the use of credit cards for sports betting.

Sports betting advertisements have also been the focus in the state. The goal is to prohibit these ads from being displayed on college campuses. However, the push failed via voice vote. Rep. Saine stated he doesn’t want to tell college campuses how to run their business.

In retrospect, the legislation would allow for 10-12 licenses in the state with a $1 million fee. Cooper’s two-year budget includes $85 million in sports betting tax revenue. At the moment, sports wagering is only allowed in the two tribal locations located in the Western part of the state.

More States Eyeing Legalization, Oklahoma Could Be Next

In the Sooner State, lawmakers are taking a slightly different approach to sports betting. The bill that passed through the state House chamber recently would leave the tribes in charge of the potential market. 

Things are picking up in Texas, and the Lone Star State is already home to casino tribal gaming. There is quite an amount of pressure to pass the initiative as Arkansas, Colorado, and Kansas all offer mobile sports gambling.

HB 1027 would legalize both brick-and-mortar and online sports betting in Oklahoma. However, there are some requirements in the process in order for this to proceed further.

It would require tribes to share revenue with the state on a sliding scale ranging from four to six percent of the revenue generated. This depends on how much money a sportsbook makes each month. The majority of the tax receipts generated by the operation would go toward educational funds.

The bill passed in the House 66-26 and has already been received by the Senate chamber. The bill is moving along smoothly and a vote was initiated two days ahead of the legislature’s crossover deadline. Now, lawmakers have until the May 26 adjournment date to iron out their differences.

Another requirement that must be met is that at least four tribes must join forces to bring the operation to the state. In addition, action on horse racing will be allowed for the existing tracks. The Sooner State is the second largest tribal gaming state behind California. The state is home to approximately 40 tribes that operate over 100 casinos.

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
Sports Writer
Content Covered on SportsHub: Blog and News
Click to Contact
Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.