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Will sports betting play a new role at Georgia State?

On Oct. 5, the Georgia House of Representatives introduced House Bill 570, better known as the Georgia Sports Betting Act. This, combined with House Resolution 380, which allows betting, is set to change the sports world in Georgia. 

The Georgia Sports Betting Act would allow betting on both professional and collegiate sports and would issue ten interactive betting licenses. Georgia State, like all other Georgia-based universities, is carefully monitoring the situation. 

Students and fans alike would be able to place bets on games. The flagship programs, such as football and basketball, would get an extra financial boost from the bets placed on the teams. As more bets are placed on the programs, ratings could increase, leading to more attention and revenue for the schools. 

The push for betting in Georgia may also increase the visibility of Georgia State’s campus. With the possibility of profit, students and fans alike may have a stronger desire to attend games. Georgia State’s Associate Associate Athletic Director Mike Holmes is also waiting to see what happens with the bill.

“Just like many other schools in the country and the state, we are closely monitoring the legislation,” Holmes said. 

Georgia State is one of the most prominent universities in the state that will oversee the outcome of the bill. The significance is more considerable for schools such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, whose sports programs have a much larger fan base. Both UGA and Georgia Tech are Power Five teams, meaning more bets will likely be placed on them if the bill signed into law.

 

Georgia is one of the few Southern states pushing for the legalization of sports betting, and the timing couldn’t be better. Other Southern states, such as Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, have also introduced bills to legalize sports betting. 

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With the rise of fantasy sports, more states are looking to cash in on the sports betting boom sweeping the nation. New Jersey legalized sports betting in 2018 and in November alone made $330.7 million. The success in New Jersey has put more pressure on other states to ease their restrictions on sports betting and allow it around the country. 

However, there are obstacles to the legislation here in Georgia. The state has been rather conservative when it comes to sports betting. This could prove to be a stumbling block for the proposed bill. Currently, the bill only has one Republican sponsor Brandon Beach and many state legislators on both sides of the aisle are not in favor of legalized gambling. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp previously stated during the 2018 campaign that he was against legalizing sports betting in the state. It’s worth noting that politicians do change opinions all the time, however, and Kemp has yet to decide on the bill.

“I do not support sports betting in Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement. “As a [UGA] grad and diehard Dawg fan, losing the national championship was painful enough.”

The other issue that faces the bill is the fear of players taking part in the gambling itself. NCAA rules prohibit student athletes from taking part in any and all gambling activities. The concern about the restriction of betting is something of which Holmes is well aware.

“Regardless of whether the bill passes or not, those education initiatives will continue to keep all of our student athletes within compliance of the NCAA rules,” he said. 

If the bill is approved, students at Georgia State may suddenly have more reason to care about the games in which their fellow student athletes compete.