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Georgia passes the most generous wagering bill in US

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The Georgia House Higher Education Committee has passed several bills on sports betting that could result in at least $22.5m being sent to gambling problem programs and programmes for responsible gaming if the state decides to legalize mobile wagering today.

Georgia’s General Assembly will adjourn today (28 March), at 11.59pm Eastern Standard Time. Today (28 March), Georgia’s General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn by 11.59pm EST.

If the House passes the package, the bill would need to be sent back to the Senate for approval or a conference panel because it was amended.

Since more than one month, the issue has sat in the Higher Education Committee as legislators rallied their support and reworked the bill to reach a consensus. The proposals had been put on hold as recently as last Wednesday (27th March), due to a lack of support. The compromise was only revealed when the votes were called on Thursday morning.

According to law, the amendment must be approved by both chambers with a majority of two thirds. Since neither party has a majority, bipartisan support will be needed.

15 percent of the tax revenues will go to programmes PG/RG

SR 579, a constitutional amendement that will send the legalisation of mobile betting statewide to the voters this November. SB 386 would be the enabling law.

The bills allow up to 16 platforms digital and the operators will be charged 25% tax on adjusted gross revenues. Bills do not permit brick-and mortar sportsbooks, but they do allow professional teams in the state to form partnerships with sportsbooks.

The committee adopted an amendment from Senator Bill Cowsert to SR 579 that will dedicate 15% of the state’s tax revenues to a newly-created “Responsible Gaming Fund”. This fund would provide support for “programmes that are designed to help prevent people from becoming addicted to gambling or betting, or to assist those who already have addictions or problems with gambling or betting”.

The amendment states that 15% of all tax revenues above $150m will go towards problem gambling and responsible gaming programmes. The remaining 85% of the tax revenue would go to an “Educational Opportunity Fund.”

The bills were passed with a voice vote. However, there are some opponents. Clay Pirkle, David Knight, and other delegates expressed concerns over legalisation, stating that people would be more likely to gamble if they were told it was okay by the government.

Knight, on the other hand, said that he was “fundamentally opposed” to the idea of legalising mobile betting in the state.

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