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Georgia Senate Advances Sports Betting Bill during Legislative Session, Starting 40-Day Debate

Gamblers place bets in the temporary sports-betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on Dec. 13, 2018. An estimated 17.6 million people are expected to place a bet on Sunday's Super Bowl online or in person at a sportsbook.
Matt Rourke
/
AP
Gamblers place bets in the temporary sports-betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on Dec. 13, 2018. An estimated 17.6 million people are expected to place a bet on Sunday's Super Bowl online or in person at a sportsbook.

A Georgia Senate committee passed a sports betting bill Tuesday on just the second day of this year’s legislative session, kicking off a debate that’s likely to last all 40 days under the Gold Dome. The Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee voted 8-3 to let Georgians bet on sports either online or at remote terminals or “kiosks.”

The state would retain 20% of the gross revenue from most sports bets and 25% from “high-profit” bets including live bets placed during games. The money would go toward various state programs to be spelled out in a separate constitutional amendment. Senate Bill 172 was available for consideration so early in the 2024 session because it was introduced last year, the first of a two-year legislative term.

The Senate tabled it last year, which left it alive to be taken up again this year. Athens Senator Bill Cowsert who is the committee’s chairman and chief sponsor said about three dozen states have legalized sports betting since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 allowed it to expand beyond a handful of states – including Nevada – where it already was legal.

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