Bill would allow sports mobile betting in Georgia

The topic of sports betting and gambling comes up every year in the Georgia Legislature and every year it fails.

State Sen. Brandon Beach, a District 21 Republican, is part of a bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers looking to change that streak.

They recently introduced Senate Bill 57 dubbed the "Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act" which would legalize online sports betting.

Unlike some other previous bills, this time a constitutional amendment is not required, and Georgians will not need to vote on it.

"We've been talking about it for a long time," Sen. Beach said. "Every surrounding state has sports betting. We should have sports betting."

Under the legislation, the Georgia Lottery would oversee the online sportsbooks. The money generated from the 20% tax would be used for the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K.

"It's way overdue," Beach said. "We have to do this for our citizens and also we will generate revenue."

Mike Griffin, from the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, says his organization is against it for moral and socioeconomic reasons.

"We already do have a fire burning here in the state dealing with gambling, illegal gambling, but when you legalize a moral vice-like that you just have poured gasoline on the fire," Griffin said.

For Sen. Beach, the fact that people already do it illegally is a good reason to get involved.

"Let's make it legal and let's have a structured, regulated industry with sports betting and horse racing," he said.

Sports betting is a big industry. Last year, the American Gaming Association said more than $50 Billion was bet.

The Georgia bill has been referred to the Economic Development and Tourism Committee and so far, it has not talked about it yet.