When discussions started across several states (Georgia included), neighboring Tennessee made the first surprise move. It legalized a coalition of pro teams based in Atlanta, under the umbrella Sports Integrity Alliance. The group was made up of Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United FC, and Atlanta Braves.
Writing about sports betting in Atlanta, an extract taken from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said:
“We felt it was important that we formed this alliance so that we could advise the Legislature if they’re going to consider drafting legislation. The coalition’s goal is ensuring that this activity – that happening already – gets regulated in the right way and for us, most importantly, that we ensure that the integrity of the sport is preserved.” Said Derek Schiller, the president and CEO of the Sports Integrity Alliance.
Top bookmakers, including Betway, will be watching keenly at how events unfold.
Texas Could be Next
A bill was filed in Texas last week, in what is seen as the first of many bills likely to filed in the coming days. The bill HB 1121 will permit statewide mobile betting with a tax cut of 6.25 percent on gross gaming revenue. At the same time, it would ban betting on local college teams. The bill already caps the number of available licenses to five, and from the look of things, it appears to be more focused on legalizing digital sports wagering only.
If it goes through, interested operators would be required to pay an application fee of $250,000 and an annual renewal fee of $200,000. Only persons who have attained 18 would be legible to bet. These are the same rules for Betway, one of the leading sportsbooks.
The Texas bill came only days after Sheldon Adelson’s death, a billionaire casino mogul. There was also a strong quote from a lobbyist that garnered massive attention across Texas, prompting stakeholders to notice Texas sports betting. It is reported that before his death, Adelson spent more than $10m to get to Texas lawmakers through lobbyists.
According to one lobbyist Bill Pascrell III, Texas is about to experience something. Speaking for Princeton Public Affairs Group earlier, he said:
“Something is going to happen in Texas. It’s complicated because there is no gaming culture and nothing definitive yet. But the governor is interested and the legislature is interested.”
Bill to Lift College Ban in Illinois Dead on Arrival
The Rules Committee shot down a bill that would have allowed wagering on local state colleges just before the 101st General Assembly’s close. Illinois State Representative Mike Zalewski had filed the bill on Jan 9, when it was first read, but the state legislature took it no further in the Rules Committee. Zalewski is yet to re-file the bill.
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