Georgians Favor Casino Gambling, Split On Sports Betting: Poll

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Georgians Favor Casino Gambling, Split On Sports Betting: Poll
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Voters overwhelmingly support casino gambling in Georgia but are split when it comes to online sports betting, according to a recent public opinion poll.

What Georgia Polls Showed About Gambling

A statewide survey conducted Sept. 25-Oct. 4 shows casino gambling with a commanding lead of 30 percentage points. The survey question, “Do you support or oppose allowing casino gambling in Georgia?” resulted in the following responses: 

  • 59.7% support
  • 29.1% oppose
  • 11.3% don’t know

Georgia online sports betting is not generating as much support as legalized casino gambling. Asked, “Do you support or oppose making online betting on professional sporting events legal?” the responses were:

  • 45.6% support
  • 42.6% oppose
  • 11.8% don’t know

The sports betting question falls within the margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, meaning a public sports betting vote could go either way, with the undecideds tilting the decision to one side or the other.

The telephone survey of 1,030 likely general election voters was conducted by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Interviews were conducted in English.

Sports Betting Legal In Most States

On Nov. 8, questions about legalizing casino gambling and online sports betting will not be on the ballot in Georgia.

However, both issues are expected to surface during next year’s legislative session under the Gold Dome in Atlanta. Legislators deciding how to vote on a gaming bill might find value in a survey showing the public's sentiment. Gaming issues would require a public vote to change the state constitution. 

Previous efforts to legalize sports betting and other forms of Las Vegas-style gaming have failed at the Legislature. 

Lawmakers who favor legalized gaming, especially sports betting, contend residents are using illegal websites to wager on sports or are driving out of state to bet where it’s legal, costing Georgia millions in tax revenue.

Currently, Tennessee is the only state bordering Georgia with legal sports betting. In Tennessee, sports wagering is limited to mobile apps, such as those offered by DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Tennessee does not have brick-and-mortar casinos or land-based sportsbooks.

Nationwide, sports betting is legal and live in 31 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal but not yet operational in five more states.

Of the 11 states that are home to university athletic programs in the Southeastern Conference, sports betting is legal in only four — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The SEC's University of Georgia currently is the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 college football poll.

Governor Candidate Airs Pro-Sports Betting Ads

In Georgia, the sports betting issue has surfaced in Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams’ effort to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

Abrams has run television ads in support of sports betting, saying she wants to legalize it “to invest in education for our young people.”

Abrams says Kemp has blocked sports betting in Georgia, letting tax dollars go out of state.

While Kemp in recent months has expressed his opposition to legalized casino gaming, the governor has taken no position on sports betting, according to spokesman Tate Mitchell.

The recent University of Georgia poll shows Kemp leading Abrams 51% to 40.7%, with a Libertarian candidate at 2.3% and undecideds at 6%.

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Larry Henry

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