Georgia horse racing legalization proposed as House Bill 4
By Kristen Horn
ATLANTA, Georgia: Georgia lawmakers have begun to submit proposals for next year’s legislative session, including ballot measure proposals for the legalization of pari-mutuel betting and horse racing. The content of these proposal has raised some questions regarding the introduction of other forms of gambling in the state. House Resolution 1, the first proposal, calls for a public vote on amending the Georgia Constitution to allow a pari-mutuel betting system.
Pari-mutuel gambling is a betting system in which bets are pooled with taxes and house stipulations removed. The payout is then determined by odds and the shared pool of bets.
House Bill 4, the second proposal, outlines the process of betting and the legalization of horse racing.
Supporters of these proposals such as, Tom Schulte of the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition, have advocated that the state could gain revenues from the pari-mutuel betting system.. State Senator William Ligon opposed the proposals with concerns regarding funds being drawn off from lottery-funded scholarship foundations such as HOPE.
Other opposition to the legalization of horse racing includes Eric Cochling, vice president of the Georgia Family Council who stated, “Once you have the horse-racing industry, you then have an entire constituency built up. Those folks are the ones you’ll be hearing from next time for the legalization of gambling.”
With the two proposals submitted for the legislative sessions, a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Legislature are required for them to reach the ballot.