Georgia Senate committee to study gambling expansion

3 April 2019

The Georgia Senate has approved a resolution to establish a new committee tasked with studying opportunities to regulate betting, gaming and horse racing in the state.

The Gaming and Pari-mutuel Wagering on Horse Racing and Growing Georgia's Equine Industry Study Committee was created after the Senate passed and adopted Senate Resolution 367 following its third reading.

The new committee has been formed to assess the conditions, needs, issues and problems that arise from a number of key issues relating to gambling and horse racing in Georgia.

One key issue to be explored is the possibility of establishing land-based casinos in the state, with the resolution noting that Georgians travel to states such as Nevada, Mississippi, North Carolina and New Jersey to gamble. The committee will look at whether legalising gambling would lead to significant additional tax revenue for the state.

In addition, the committee will also look at the pros and cons of legalising horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. In particular it will look at the potential benefits in terms of tax revenue and the impact on Georgia’s horse breeding, raising and training industry.

It will comprise 11 members, including the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, alongside the Senate majority leader, majority whip and majority caucus chair. Also joining the committee will be the chairs of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism and Regulated Industries and Utilities committees.

Either the chief executive of the Georgia Lottery Corporation or an individual designated to sit in their place will also join the committee, as will four member of the Senate appointed by its president. One of these four will be selected to chair the committee.

The resolution establishing the committee passed yesterday (April 2), on the final day of Georgia’s 2019 legislative session. While its members are yet to be appointed, they will have until December 1, 2019 to conduct their research and deliver any reports, including legislative suggestions, after which the committee is abolished.

Earlier in the 2019 legislative session, House Resolution 380 was filed to give the Georgia General Assembly the power to establish a framework under which gaming facilities could apply for a licence to offer sports betting services. The proposal is currently with the House Committee on Regulated Industries for further scrutiny.

Image: Michael Rivera