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Georgia’s push for legalised sports gambling faces uncertainty

Despite Senate committee approval, Georgia's sports betting legislation faces hurdles due to amendment requirements, funding allocation disagreements and bipartisan discord.

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Efforts to legalise sports betting in Georgia resumed with the Senate Regulated Industries Committee's 8-4 vote in favour of advancing Senate Bill 172.

This bill aims to legalise, regulate and tax sports betting in the state, but its success remains unclear as it necessitates a state constitutional amendment for implementation.

Spearheaded by Athens Republican Bill Cowsert, the measure necessitating a constitutional amendment seeks to rectify what proponents argue is an omission in the context of Georgia's approval of the lottery in 1992.

The ongoing debate centres on whether the amendment is a requisite for regulating sports betting under the state lottery, a stance opposed by some including the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia’s professional sports teams.

Cowsert's attempt at passing a constitutional amendment previously fell short of the necessary votes, leading to a renewed effort this year. However, challenges persist in garnering bipartisan support and securing the requisite two-thirds majority in both chambers.

Multiple proposed amendments have emerged, including Sen. Carden Summers’ proposal for sports betting and casinos and Sen. Brandon Beach’s plan for sports betting, casinos and betting on horse races. 

The constitutional amendment route remains contentious, with doubts among lawmakers about achieving the required majority.

Critically, divergent opinions exist on how the proceeds from sports betting should be allocated. While one proposal earmarks funds for prekindergarten classes and HOPE Scholarships, Democrats advocate for funding needs-based college scholarships and other initiatives, reflecting the varied interests in the state legislature.

In related news, Konami Gaming collaborated with Bravery Gaming to distribute gaming titles in Georgia's non-casino markets. The partnership introduced entertainment products across Georgia, expanding into venues like Coin Operated Amusement Machine (COAM) halls.

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