Sports Betting Piggybacks Soap Box Derby Bill in Georgia

Wild soapbox race in Atlanta

Georgia Sen. Mike Dugan says piggybacking sports betting on a soapbox derby bill will snub hopes of a legal market for five years. [Image:]

years of failure

Years of failing to pass legislation legalizing sports betting in the Georgia House or Senate this time proved too much for state Senator Mike Dugan after a Hail Mary attempted to get a legal market over the line earlier this year.

left a session of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism

On Thursday, Dugan walked out of a session of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee before an 8-1 vote to transfer Georgia sports-betting language to House Bill 237, which was originally created to promote the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby. Georgia State Representative Michael R. Griffin shared the news in a Twitter video, urging voters to reject the law:

The last desperate move was orchestrated by the committee’s chairman, Senator Brandon Beach, and Senator Derek Mallow. While the new tactic does not involve changes to the state constitution and technically gives Georgia sports betting a chance to cross the finish line in 2023, Dugan believes the law will not pass and will do long-term harm.

“Whoever came up with this idea just put sports betting back five years,” he said before leaving.

narrow hopes

While some media talked about HB 237’s prospects for success, Dugan said the damage it had done to sports betting in Georgia was “unfathomable”. He believes that by jumping on the soapbox derby bandwagon, sports bettors put a target on his back and that “every person who was on the fence […] has just decided on a side.”

Everyone in here knows the floor isn’t going through it.”

In addition, the senator told the committee that HB 237 will not be allowed and that “everyone in here knows it won’t be allowed.”

In February, State Senator Harold Melton publicly floated the idea of ​​legalizing online betting through an amendment to the law rather than an amendment to the constitution. However, using the soapbox derby as a Trojan horse for sports betting does not please some lawmakers.

Soapbox drama

Georgia House representative Leesa Hagan was, unsurprisingly, one of the dissatisfied as she was the sponsor of the soapbox derby bill. She called for her language to be removed from the amended bill, stating, “I don’t want my soapbox racing to be associated with sports betting.”

Despite the controversy over linking the bill to a motorless vehicle race, the sports betting tax rate in Georgia is now set at 22%, which is a compromise between the 20% rate proposed by the House of Representatives and the 25% rate proposed by the Senate in previous ones legislation.

With the Georgia legislative session adjourning on March 29, the repurposed soapbox bill ultimately represents the last whiff of a chance for legal sports betting in the state this year. Sports Betting Piggybacks Soap Box Derby Bill in Georgia

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