The Georgia Senate has approved a bill that could legalize online sports betting in the state.
The full chamber passed Senate Resolution 135, which would ask voters if Georgia should allow online sports wagering in the state. The resolution to amend the state’s Constitution, which needed support from two-thirds of the chamber’s 56 members, passed 41-10.
Senators also voted 34-17 to approve Senate Bill 142, which regulates how sports betting would be conducted in the state. SR 135 and SB 142 now go to the House for their consideration.
“The constitutional amendment is simply allowing the very people that you represent — the ones that vote for or, or maybe don’t vote for you — you’re allowing them to decide no or yes on sports betting,” Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, a Chickamauga Republican and sponsor of the legislation, said.
Companies interested in operating online sports betting in Georgia would have to pay a $10,000 application fee and an annual license fee of $100,000. The state would approve at least six companies that would pay a 16% income tax to the state.
Revenue raised from sports betting would go to needs-based scholarships, rural broadband and health care programs. Supporters have said sports betting could bring anywhere from $30 million to $100 million in revenue to the state.
Mullis stressed that whatever passed the Senate would likely not be the final product, since the House is expected to consider similar legislation, House Bill 86, this week.
“I know this process is just beginning. It’s going to move down the road and there are going to be many changes,” Mullis said.