UGA Football

Could sports betting actually make its way to Georgia?

People make bets at the South Point hotel and casino sports book in Las Vegas, as an Atlanta Braves game plays.
People make bets at the South Point hotel and casino sports book in Las Vegas, as an Atlanta Braves game plays. AP

People in Georgia haven't abstained from sports betting because it is illegal.

Despite a law preventing states from legalizing single-game sports betting — outside of Nevada — people all over the U.S. have found ways to bet on games.

However, in May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal law that prohibited states from legalizing this form of sports betting.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law to allow sports betting this week. Delaware, which previously allowed parlay betting, is now offering single-game sports betting. Mississippi is expected to see its casinos soon offer single-game sports bets thanks to language crafted into its fantasy sports law, which was ratified in 2017.

Georgia doesn't have any pending sports betting legislation.

But in the long term, could sports betting make its way to Georgia?

The Telegraph asked the three remaining gubernatorial candidates — Republicans Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, and Democrat Stacey Abrams — for their positions on the topic. The two Republicans, who are in the midst of a runoff, rejected the idea, and the Democratic nominee didn't exactly endorse it.

“I do not support sports betting in Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement. “As a Georgia grad and diehard Dawg fan, losing the national championship was painful enough. Would have been even worse if I had money on the game!”

Brian Robinson, a Cagle spokesman, said his boss “doesn't favor an expansion of gambling.”

Abrams, however, is open to the topic but only if tax revenue raised from sports betting went toward educational opportunities for Georgia students.

"As House Democratic Leader, I refused to support gambling legislation that did not also ensure the revenue went to need-based aid for Georgia students,” Abrams said. “Georgia must dedicate any funds from gambling to addressing our current opportunity gap and open the doors of higher education to everyone.”

Based on these responses, sports betting doesn't appear to be on the forefront for Georgia any time soon. Even if Abrams is Georgia’s next governor, the Georgia General Assembly, which holds a Republican majority (153-83), would have to put forth a law that meets her specific requirement.

Even so, coaches and administrators discussed the topic at the recent SEC spring meetings. Some are concerned about the potential involvement of college student-athletes, coaches and administrators because they may be privy to information others aren't.

“What we have to do is make sure there are controls in place and make sure we are doing everything we can to educate, to make sure we don’t have problems in that area,” Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said.

With the possibility of a small group of people obtaining inside information, the NCAA and its member conferences may have to consider some tangible responses. One of those could be the addition of a mandated injury report. In most collegiate sports, coaches try to hide injury information from their opponent. A public injury report, like one distributed by the NFL, could be something that eventually makes its way to collegiate athletics to combat a legalized gambling concern.

“I think maintaining the integrity of the sport and athletics is the common thread of all (university) athletic directors and presidents,” McGarity said.

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