Atlanta’s Sports Teams Are Lobbying Georgia Politicians To Legalize Sports Betting

Trickle down economics works for sports owners


The 2019 legislative clock on state levels is winding down but that does not mean lobbying for legislation has been put on hold. In Atlanta, representatives from each of the city’s major league teams, the Braves, the Hawks, the Falcons and the city’s MLS business, have penned a letter to Georgia elected officials telling them to pass legislation that would legalize sports gambling in the state in 2020. That is a remarkable turnaround for the sports industry which as recently as two years ago fought the establishment of state sportsbooks and muttered something about how gambling on their games was immoral. Sports owners have found that sports gambling money somehow trickles down to them in the form of marketing partnerships.

Georgia politicians are also taking a long look at sports gambling but not necessarily to provide a forum for local residents to bet. Elected officials are looking for new revenue sources and a Georgia House committee is ready to tackle the question of whether to bring horse racing and sports gambling into the state. There is no horse racing in Georgia and horse racing is a sport that has seen better days but politicians think Georgia needs jobs and that the horse racing industry would be a panacea in the rural parts of the state. There is also a thought that casinos should open in Georgia. The casinos could in theory house Georgia sportsbooks but nothing is imminent and there will be continued discussions about the pros and cons of Georgia allowing the horse racing, sports gambling and casino businesses in the state. Nevada got legalized sportsbooks in 1949. New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado and Tennessee now have various forms of sportsbooks. More states may join them in 2020.