An ongoing effort to see gambling expand in Georgia continues to be on a slow track. Currently, republican lawmakers are trying to roll back voting access. To fight back this effort, democratic lawmakers in the state have decided they will not support legislation that needs bipartisan backing to move forward. One major issue with this decision is a bill connected to online sports betting legalization. The bill was supposed to be considered in the House this week but was removed from the schedule.
Back and Forth
Not long after the meeting, it was revealed that the Dems removed the bill because they are not happy with the GOP trying to place restrictions on voting. James Beverly, the House Minority Leader, said this week that now is the time to use leverage. The strategy can only work in areas where Republicans are divided, as they have the majority of the seats in the Senate and the House.
The issue with the voting changes are that Republicans are trying to limit early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting and restrict those who can take part in absentee. The lawmakers also want to ban ballot drop boxes from the state.
Democrats feel that the legislation is a reaction based on the lies told by former president Donald Trump regarding election fraud. They feel the changes would affect black voters in a disproportionate way.
The Sports Betting Bill
The chief sponsor of HB 86 is Republican representative Rob Stephens. The bill would allow sports betting in the state and put the Lottery in charge. So far, the representative has not commented on what took place in the House this week.
For the online sports betting bill to pass within the House, it will most likely need bipartisan support. This is due to conservative republicans being opposed to an expansion of gambling in the state. Democratic lawmakers have been working with supporters in the fight against the vote issues by creating plans of action.
One way to is fight the online sports betting bill. Because their support is needed, the Dems are not moving forward to provide any bipartisan help for the legislation. With the plan in action, it will now be up to the republican lawmakers to act.
Will they consider changing the voting legislation to see the gambling expansion bill move forward? Or are they more stuck on creating a problem at voting time by putting in place restrictions that would only hinder the process in the long run.
There is also the casino legislation to consider. Will this effort be stalled as well? Just a few days ago, a Georgia developer provided details for three proposed casinos in the state. City Commercial Real Estate is located in Atlanta and they have provided plans for three gaming venues, including one along the Chattahoochee River.
The developer pointed out the potential for the state. Travelers come from neighboring states as they travel down to Florida on I-75, 85 and 95. Providing a casino resort would create a spot for travelers to visit and perhaps stay a night or two.
House Resolution 30 is a measure that would create a state referendum to ask voters to approve a limited number of casinos in the state. This effort is ongoing and hopefully will not be subject to in-fighting among lawmakers.