Breaking News
More () »

Sports betting in Georgia? Lawmakers to soon reintroduce bill to make it legal

Supporters say it would bring revenue to support higher education, while opponents worry it could lead to addiction and financial issues.

ATLANTA — The excitement is real for Georgia football fans as they prepare to defend their title as national champions. This has put sports gambling back in the spotlight, as some people who love the red and black hope to make some green.

As UGA hits the field for the National Championship game Monday, sportsbooks such as DraftKings have the Dawgs as heavy odds-on favorites.

Sports betting still isn't legal in the state, but many Georgia lawmakers plan to renew the push for it in the upcoming legislative session. That would mean you could go to a Bulldogs, Falcons, Braves or Hawks game and place a bet on your phone if the bill passes through the state House and Senate. 

Revenue would go to the Hope Scholarship, but many opponents believe legalized sports betting would create a number of problems. 

11Alive went around and asked those in the metro Atlanta community what they thought on the idea of legalized sports gambling in the state.

“I definitely support the legislation for the sports betting as long as the state of Georgia does right by the community and invests some of the profits into some of the areas where it's needed," said Monica Robinson, a metro Atlanta community member.

Ejriece Robinson said that as long as people were able to follow the rules, then he believes there's no reason why it shouldn't be legal.

“A lot of people are addicted to a lot of things. Gambling would just happen to be one," he said. "Of course, there would be rules and regulations to it which would keep people in check and keep people from going overboard in gambling, I feel." 

State Rep. Ron Stephens has supported previous efforts to legalize sports betting in Georgia. 

“It's unfortunate. There are some folks that could be playing the through the lottery, the game today or the national championship game," Stephens said. 

Stephens, who's a big Georgia football fan, said the Georgia Legislature will try again this session to pass the measure.

“It's nothing more than another lottery game," Stephens said. "You know, when you walk into a convenience store and you and you play a game, it is entertainment for folks.” 

Mike Griffin, who is with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, is worried about the precedent sports gambling could set.

“There's a lot of things people are doing that we don't want to make legal, and if we continue to follow this kind of rationale, we're going to have legalized marijuana, recreational marijuana, and one day we're going to see legalized prostitution," Griffin said.

Griffin believes legalized sports betting could lead to crime and addiction issues. 

“You're dealing with addiction, bankruptcies," Griffin said. "Crime has a greater impact on children as well, and because of the accessibility, you know, just this thing right here makes it really more addictive.”

Stephens said in the original bill, sports betting must be done through a debit card and not a credit card.

"Let's tax it, let's regulate it, and included in the bill, we have with some resources for those compulsive gamblers," Stephens said. "We had built into that mechanism that people could, if they so choose, set limits on what they could do."

The Georgia Legislature kicks off its 2023 session on Monday, Jan. 9, and the sports betting bill is expected to be quickly introduced.

Before You Leave, Check This Out