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Atlanta pro sports teams asking lawmakers to allow betting

They say Georgia is the 12th largest state for illegal wagering.

ATLANTA — The presidents and CEOs of the Atlanta Braves, Hawks, Falcons and Atlanta United have all signed a letter asking state representatives to legalize professional sports betting. 

In the letter, the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance (GPSIA) say Georgia is the 12th largest state for illegal wagering. 

They say a new state law to legalize mobile and online professional sports wagering, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards, would bring "needed revenue to Georgia and will offer safeguards to protect the integrity of professional sports, disinfecting a $1.5 billion illegal wagering industry in our state."

The GPSIA believe mobile gaming would enhance engagement with fans,  "especially the new generation," the letter said.

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They said they will not support wagering on college sports.

Currently, sports wagering laws have passed or are pending in 13 states, and 35 more states are considering them, according to the team officials. 

They conclude the letter saying that "a key question isn’t whether Georgians are going to wager on sports. It’s whether they will wager in an illegal market or wager in a fully regulated environment that protects consumers and the integrity of games."

The letter is signed by Derek Schiller, president and CEO of the Atlanta Braves, Steve Koonin, president and CEO of the Atlanta Hawks, Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons and Darren Eales, president of Atlanta United. 

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The GPSOA has created a website to educate and advocate at www.sportsintegrityalliance.com

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