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Georgia’s Groundbreaking Sports Betting Bill: A Game Changer for Early Childhood Education Funding



A Strategic Leap in Georgia’s Legislative Arena: The Pioneering Sports Betting Bill

Georgia’s legislative landscape is witnessing a transformation with Senator Clint Dixon’s introduction of the innovative sports betting bill, SB 386. Supported by a diverse bipartisan coalition of 11 co-sponsors, this bill marks a significant stride in legalizing sports wagering within the state. Jen Ryan, spokesperson for the Sports Betting Alliance in Georgia, emphasizes the unprecedented unity among legislators and stakeholders, signaling strong momentum for the bill’s success.

However, the push for SB 386, which proposes legalizing sports betting under the state lottery without a constitutional amendment, reveals a divide among Georgia lawmakers. While the industry consolidates its support, differing opinions on the legislative approach pose a risk of alienating lawmakers who favor a public vote.

Key Features of the Groundbreaking Sports Betting Legislation

The text of SB 386 reflects the industry’s aspirations from the previous year. Its key elements include:

  • Exclusive focus on online sports betting without a physical presence requirement.
  • Potential for 16 sports betting applications, divided among professional sports teams and venues, seven standalone online operators, and one for the Georgia Lottery.
  • A tax rate set at 15%.
  • Initial application fees of $100,000 and an annual renewal fee of $1 million.

The bill’s bipartisan support, highlighted by the backing of influential figures like Sen. Bo Hatchett and Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, augments its credibility. Furthermore, Atlanta sports teams and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce also endorse the bill.

Leveraging Sports Betting for Early Childhood Education Enhancement

A pivotal aspect of SB 386 is its potential impact on early childhood education in Georgia. The bill’s proponents envision channeling the revenue from online sports betting to fund significant improvements in Pre-K education, with an estimated cost of about $100 million. This initiative aligns with recent recommendations by a House working group focused on enhancing early childhood education.


Jen Ryan underscores the potential of sports betting revenue, estimated at $140 million annually, as a robust funding source for these educational enhancements. While lottery reserves currently suffice, sports betting revenue can ensure sustainable funding for Pre-K education in the future.

Navigating Through Legislative Divisions

Despite the bill’s promising aspects, Georgia’s legislative body remains divided over the sports betting approach. Sen. Bill Cowsert‘s SB 172, which necessitates a constitutional amendment, has already made progress in the Senate. This divergence in legislative strategies reflects the complex dynamics of gambling expansion debates in Georgia.

Last session, the House favored the industry bill but stopped short of a vote. Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton’s opinion supports the idea that sports betting legalization under the lottery doesn’t require a constitutional amendment.

As Georgia grapples with the best path forward, SB 386 stands as a beacon of potential, offering a practical and efficient solution to fund critical educational initiatives while navigating the intricacies of legislative consensus and public opinion.


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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