Georgia mobile sports betting bills make progress in legislature

The Georgia Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee heard a mobile sports betting bill Thursday, less than three weeks after a Georgia House committee passed a similar bill out of its chamber.

Senate Bill 142, chief sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) would allow the Georgia Lottery to oversee mobile sports betting with licensing of up to six operators. Companies would pay an annual licensing fee of $900,000 and a tax of 10% of their adjusted gross revenues.

Funds would go toward Georgia’s HOPE scholarship program, which assists students with financial need, and toward pre-kindergarten programs.

The Senate committee may vote on the bill as early as next week. Gambling legalization is traditionally a partisan issue in Georgia, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against. With Republicans holding a 34-22 majority in the Senate, several GOP lawmakers would have to side with chief sponsor Sen. Mullis and other conservative proponents of sports betting if the bill is passed out of committee.

Earlier this month the Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted 20-6 in favor of a separate mobile sports betting bill that would tax companies at 14%.

The House bill also grants the Georgia Lottery authority to license mobile sports betting operators.

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