Atlanta Hawks show support for sports betting in Georgia


Atlanta area sports franchises are throwing their support behind a piece of sports betting legislation in Georgia‘ Senate, despite concerns some have about the practice.

atlanta-hawks-show-support-for-sports-betting-in-georgiaLawmakers in the Peach State introduced a bill last week that would give the Georgia State Lottery the ability to oversee mobile sports gambling. Senate Bill 403 would authorize the activity, making a referendum to ammend the state constitution unneccesary.

In a hearing before the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Tuesday, Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks pro basketball team, insisted the team doesn’t want to be involved with offering wagers but supported the effort. He told lawmakers that those who gamble on sports are 19 times more likely to watch games. “What we hope to receive in return is generations of fans who love the games we present,” Koonin said.

If passed, Bill 403 would authorize Georgians to place wagers on professional, college, and Olympic sports, excluding horseracing. Mobile betting would be allowed anywhere within the state’s borders, but only for those 21 or over.

The bill would create the Georgia Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Commission, giving it the authority to offer licenses to such sportsbook operators as DraftKings and FanDuel. Around 5% of the $15 million a year the state would be expected to collect in taxes would help fight gambling addiction. The remaining 95% would fund college scholarships and pre-kindergarten classes.

Some advocates are concerned that it will be easy to get around the law, with some demanding lawmakers think about the children. “We’re talking about 24/7 gambling on cell phones,” said John Kindt, the notoriously nutty former business professor at the University of Illinois. “Ten percent, at least, of our kids, are going to get hooked on this.”