In the ongoing battle between Georgia and Florida in which both states seem to be competing for the most “wait, what?” moments of the year, politicians in the Peach State have given their home a slight lead as they’ve decided that legally betting on sports is a no-go for the residents of a state that had to put up with the likes of Kelly Loeffler and Herschel Walker.
This week, Georgia’s state senate “defeated legislation that would have asked Georgians whether the state constitution should be amended to legalize and regulate sports betting,” according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This is the second of four betting efforts that have been defeated, as sports betting bills in 2021 and 2022 also didn’t make it. “Sports betting legalization is now very unlikely to happen for Georgia in 2023 — and likely won’t be discussed again until 2024,” Front Office Sports detailed in a report that estimated that “sports betting could generate $300 million to $400 million annually for the state, as well as create $1 billion in state economic impact and more than 8,500 jobs.”
I’m old enough to remember that Loeffler once lost her Senate seat and ownership stake in the Atlanta Dream after she posed for a picture with a Ku Klux Klansman who was sent to prison in 1993 for battery after beating a Black man and opposed the Black Lives Matter Movement despite previously owning a mostly Black WNBA team in a Black city like Atlanta — amongst other things.
I’m also of the age when I recall that just a few months ago, Raphael Warnock needed a runoff election to defeat Walker to keep control of his Senate seat, as millions of Georgians were willing to risk it all to put a Republican in power.
But, despite having the likes of Kelly Loeffler and Herschel Walker serve as the national faces of Georgia for a few months over the last few years, legal sports betting is the thing that’s a step too far in the wrong direction.
God help us all but give Georgia some special attention.