The state of Georgia will have to wait a little longer when it comes to gambling expansion efforts. A senate panel that has been studying the effects of an expansion have decided to delay their recommendations. Waiting until the next legislative sessions means that any efforts to expand gambling in the state will be halted until 2020.
Over the past few months, lawmakers involved in the senate study panel have been hearing why additional gambling should be allowed in the state. Along with proponents, the state has also heard from those who are opposed. According to Senator Brandon Beach, the panel was unable to come to a unanimous conclusion as to what should occur.
Beach stated that the panel is not ready to vote so he decided to hold off and take their time. The panel will talk about gambling expansion further during the next caucus and the subject will be a top priority.
Right now in Georgia, residents have access to lottery and bingo gaming. There are no casinos, sportsbooks, online gaming, etc. Additional gambling options have been unable to gain ground in the conservative state, no matter how many times a bill has been proposed.
Currently, state officials are considered three options for expansion, horse racing, casino gaming and sports betting. Based on state law, any casino or horse racing additions will have to be approved via constitutional amendment. Lawyers are advising lawmakers to approve sports betting as well via an amendment.
For any amendment to be put up for consideration on a ballot, at least two-thirds of the chamber must be on board. Once that happens, an amendment is put forth for a vote among residents. It must be approved by voters to come into effect.
Beach is hoping that the senate panel will need to reach an agreement by the 13th of January. The same subject is also being considered by a panel within a House.