While lawmakers remain divided on the issue of expanded gambling options, mostly due to the state’s level of conservatism, Georgia’s pro sports teams are uniting to address the issue of sports gambling, hoping to sway lawmakers ‘ views as well as residents. Enter the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance (GPSIA).
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s exclusive article, the GPSIA consists of the presidents of Atlanta Falcons of the NFL, Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, Atlanta Braves of the MLB, and United of MLS. As the state deals with expenditures that outpace revenue, there is a concerted drive to find ways to cut costs and increase revenue as an alternative. According to the sports leagues, sports gambling would be one of the better ways to respond to both.
The GPSIA has written a letter to legislators claiming to be behind the legalisation of sports gambling in the nation. They stated, “Georgia is the 12th largest state for illegal wagering. It is not going away. That is why we must ensure the industry is above-board and transparent.”
The Braves are owned by Liberty Media, led by Greg Maffei, president and CEO. On Monday, on an earnings conference call, he offered his help to investors, saying, “I think state-by-state, you’re going to continue to see this chip away. It’s going to take time. And certainly there are some states that are unlikely to ever adopt it, for at least a long time. Yet big states are going to do it as a source of income.
The subject of any kind of gambling in Georgia is a sensitive one. Legalising the practise will be a tough nut to crack, but supporters will do their utmost to try to make it happen. Unlike other states that only legislators needed to turn a bill to the governors to approve the event, Georgia would require a constitutional amendment first. This can only occur if most residents of the state support the initiative by a majority.
That’s the general consensus, but not so positive about the GPSIA. This claims that sports betting can be allowed without a constitutional change, but would most likely also bring that proposal to a public vote. We estimate that legalised sports gambling would give the state about $50 million in gross revenue and help offset some of the disparity between government spending and revenue. It’s still too early to say, but in the Peach State, 2020 could be a big year for gambling.