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Georgia Politics

State Rep Marcus Wiedower Files Legislation to Legalize Sports Betting in Georgia

State Representative Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) recently filed House Bill 380, or the “Georgia Lottery Game of Sports Betting Act,” to legalize mobile sports betting. Under this legislation, revenue generated from sports betting would be directed to educational programs under the Georgia Lottery, such as the HOPE Scholarship, HOPE Grants, Georgia College Completion Grants and Pre-K education.

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“HB 380 would allow sports betting to become legal and bring Georgia in line with 36 other states across the country that have already taken this step,” said Rep. Wiedower. “Sports betting is already occurring in our state. Legalizing this activity could generate tens of millions of dollars in additional education funding for our state if properly regulated.”

State Representative Stacey Evans (D-Atlanta) has also expressed support for HB 380.

“Sports betting has broad appeal and overwhelming support among Georgia voters on both sides of the aisle,” said Rep. Evans. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this bill and deliver a lasting win for Georgia families and students for generations to come.”

HB 380 would authorize the Georgia Lottery Corporation to operate and regulate sports betting in the state, and this legislation aims to ensure sports betting in the state is safe, secure and responsible. The legislation includes key provisions around responsible gaming and maintaining integrity within sports leagues. Responsible gaming information would be posted on all mobile platforms, and platforms would be required to provide resources to consumers, such as self-exclusion options on platforms and options for self-imposed limits on the amounts wagered. Additionally, online sports betting service providers would train employees to respond to gambling concerns, and the Georgia Lottery Corporation would work with national and local organizations to create preventative measures and effective services that address gambling issues that may arise.

Under HB 380, revenue would be generated through application fees, annual licensing fees and a 15 percent tax rate on the adjusted gross income. Rep. Wiedower estimates that legalized sports betting could generate approximately $50-75 million in revenue that would directly fund educational programs in Georgia.

First Reader Summary – A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 50 of the O.C.G.A., relating to state government, so as to authorize and provide for the regulation and taxation of sports betting in this state; to provide for additional powers and duties of the Georgia Lottery Corporation; to amend Part 1 of Article 2 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to gambling, so as to exclude any consideration paid to a sports betting licensee from the definition of “bet”; to provide for the exemption of persons licensed for online sports betting from regulations and restrictions regarding gambling information; to amend Title 48 of the O.C.G.A., relating to revenue and taxation, so as to exempt wagers placed as part of sports betting; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

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Read more on HB 380 here.

Representative Marcus Wiedower represents the citizens of District 121, which includes portions of Clarke and Oconee counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 and currently serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. He also serves on the Higher Education, Intragovernmental Coordination, Motor Vehicles, Natural Resources & Environment, Technology and Infrastructure Innovation, Urban Affairs, Ways & Means and Transportation committees.

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