It’s no surprise that members of the Georgia legislature will propose expanding the scope of legal gambling in their state in the coming year. The only unknowns are what those proposals will entail and how many competing proposals will surface.
One member of the Georgia Senate shared some details of the sweeping potential amendment to the state’s constitution that he will introduce in 2024. While there’s a risk that the proposal may be too broad, the senator seems open to compromise.
Beach prepares for his proposal’s day in the sun
In an article by T.A. DaFeo of The Center Square, Georgia Senator Brandon Beach is among legislators who will propose expanding gambling in the state in 2024. Beach verbalized his plans during a meeting of the legislature’s Joint Committees on Economic Development and Tourism.
Beach has been among the most ardent supporters of gaming expansion in Georgia. For example, he tried to add an amendment that could have legalized sports betting in Georgia to an unrelated bill in the past legislative session.
Beach’s new proposal, which he will introduce when the 2024 session begins, is far broader. It will ask Georgia voters whether they want to legalize sports betting and pari-mutuel gambling on horse races.
The biggest piece of the proposal, however, could be the authorization of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.
The potential amendment would allocate tax revenue from all that new gaming activity to specific causes.
- A full 50% of the funds would go toward infrastructure projects.
- The other half of the tax revenue would support:
- Rural healthcare (20%)
- Mental health services (20%)
- Historically Black colleges and universities in Georgia (10%)
At the same time, Beach said he is open to modifying his proposal. For instance, he is open to using some of the tax dollars to attract prominent events to Georgia.
Being open to compromise could be crucial for Beach’s proposal due to the number of people he needs to satisfy.
Will the sun set again on Beach in 2024?
In terms of failed gaming expansion votes, Georgia is the undisputed national leader. The 2024 legislative session will be the sixth consecutive term in which there will be at least one bill toward that end on the docket in either chamber of the legislature.
At the same time, 2024 does have one thing going for it that its last three predecessors have not; 2024 is a presidential election year. That means a strong majority of Georgia’s populace will be headed to the polls anyway.
It’s an ideal time to put a constitutional amendment proposal on the ballot.
Getting such a proposal on the ballot has been impossible for Georgia legislators to this point for various reasons. It’s unclear if there will be a greater consensus in the legislature on this issue in 2024.
One sign that may point toward that could be the number of other legislators besides Beach who propose their plans. Additionally, how diverse those individual suggestions look compared to each other will be telling as well.
When the sun rises on 2024, there could be another slew of pieces of gaming expansion legislation in Atlanta. Beach’s could be among the first and therefore, it could be the first to see the tide go out.