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Georgia’s Bold Move: Senate Bill 386 Aims to Legalize Sports Betting Without Amendment



Georgia’s Legislative Leap: Senate Bill 386 Eyes Sports Betting Legalization

In a significant development for Georgia’s gambling landscape, Senate Bill 386 (SB 386) has been introduced to legalize sports betting without necessitating a constitutional amendment. This bipartisan initiative, supported by key legislators and professional sports teams, represents a potential paradigm shift in the state’s approach to sports gambling.

Strategic Approach to Sports Betting Legislation

SB 386, spearheaded by Sen. Clint Dixon and endorsed by Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, proposes treating sports betting akin to a lottery game. This inventive strategy aims to circumvent the need for a constitutional amendment referendum, traditionally requiring a two-thirds legislative majority and voter approval.

Operational Framework Under SB 386

The bill outlines a framework for issuing 16 sports betting licenses, with beneficiaries ranging from Georgia’s professional sports teams to owners of car racetracks and professional golf tournaments. The Georgia Lottery Corporation is poised to play a central role, holding one license and issuing the remaining seven for an annual fee of $1 million. A 15% tax on sports betting revenue is also proposed.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

The bill faces legal and ethical scrutiny, particularly regarding its approach to bypassing a constitutional amendment. Critics, including the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, question the bill’s attempt to sidestep voter involvement in sports betting legalization. The potential for gambling addiction remains a contentious issue.


Contrasting Legislative Proposals

Sen. Bill Cowsert’s SB 172 presents a contrasting legislative approach, advocating for a Georgia Sports Betting Commission and requiring a constitutional amendment. Cowsert’s bill details two types of licenses and proposes funding scholarships and addiction treatment programs, highlighting the diversity of perspectives within the legislature.

The National and State Context of Sports Betting

The push for legal sports betting in Georgia gains context from the national trend following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn a federal ban on sports betting. Over 30 states have since legalized sports betting. However, previous sessions in Georgia have seen failed attempts to legalize various forms of gambling, reflecting the state’s complex and divided stance on the issue.


Senate Bill 386 represents a pivotal moment in Georgia’s ongoing debate over sports betting legalization. By proposing an innovative legislative approach, the bill has sparked discussions on the legal, ethical, and economic aspects of sports gambling. As Georgia navigates these complex issues, SB 386 could potentially redefine the state’s gambling landscape, balancing regulatory concerns with the burgeoning popularity of sports betting.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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