BetHer Blur For February 17, 2023: Georgia Sports Betting Ready To Move

Written By Derek Helling on February 17, 2023
mississippi georgia sports betting maine dakota

The bits you need to know if you’re an avid follower of betting on women’s sporting events in Canada and/or the United States for the week of Feb. 17 include progress on Georgia sports betting plus another opportunity to use your phone in Mississippi. Also, South Dakota legislators are considering kiosks in bars and Maine regulators have done a thing.

The news in Georgia potentially involves the Atlanta Dream and would put them in the game. However, there is a very good reason for the WNBA franchise’s front office to not set up any meetings just yet.

Georgia sports betting leads off the BetHer Blur

Over the past few years, legal sports betting in Georgia has been but a dream. Now, that dream is feeling a bit more real. Matt Kredell of PlayUSA reports that a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state should get approval from the Georgia House of Representatives the week after next.

If you’re a Dream fan, this is obviously relevant to you because you potentially could be betting legally on your phone courtside at a game sometime in the future, should this bill become law. However, for the Dream themselves, this is noteworthy.

The bill would allow the Dream to apply for their own license to operate an online sportsbook. If that comes to fruition, they would be the second WNBA franchise to be in the gambling business. The Phoenix Mercury do so already via a partnership with Bally Bet.

Before you start saving up to deposit your expendable income into a Dream-affiliated sports betting app, though, there’s a big caveat. This bill still has another chamber of the Georgia legislature to clear.

Why Dream fans should be more cautious than optimistic

The Georgia Senate will probably not be as enthusiastic about this bill as the House reportedly is. According to Kredell, that body is split on the matter of whether legalizing sports betting requires a constitutional amendment.

The bill that the House is poised to advances does not employ such a mechanism. For that reason, it’s extremely possible if not likely that it will fail to get enough support in the Senate to head to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.

There are other proposals in the legislature that do include an amendment proposal. Because of that structure, though, the bar is higher. Not only do they require a 2/3 majority in both chambers of the legislature but also voter approval to become enshrined in the Georgia charter.

That’s the “yeah, but…” of Georgia sports betting right now. There is other news from around the country that similarly begs only a small amount of excitement.

Progress (kind of) in Mississippi

Mississippi is one of the states where online sports betting is technically legal but not everywhere. In Mississippi, to use legal online sportsbooks, you have to physically be on the site of the accompanying casino attached to that app.

Because of that stipulation, most of the casinos in the state don’t offer online wagering. This week, though, a second commercial casino in the state made that available. The Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel in Biloxi now accepts wagers through IGT’s mobile interface.

The Gold Strike Resort in Tunica with BetMGM is the other Mississippi commercial casino with that amenity. Also, the Pearl River Resort facilities in Mississippi operate their own PRRSports app on those sites but those are tribal venues.

Another state is considering expanding its existing legal sports betting options. Like with Georgia, though, residents shouldn’t get too excited.

Good idea in South Dakota

In South Dakota, you can put down legal bets on sports at Deadwood casinos. There is no online system, however, it’s all about you filling out your betting slip by hand. A new bill in the state legislature would make that available in more places around the state, though.

The bill would make any establishment with a license to serve liquor eligible to partner with a Deadwood casino to offer sports betting on its premises. Most likely, that would consist of self-service kiosks inside the bars, clubs, and restaurants.

In that circumstance, South Dakotans would no longer have to drive to Deadwood. They could, perhaps, head to their nearest bar and use the kiosk. Again, it’s too early to treat this change as imminent. The vibe of the state legislature is pretty anti-gambling expansion.

In the last bit of relevant news this week, Mainers can celebrate a positive step.

Progress (for real) in Maine

Remember how Maine legalized sports betting last year? Yeah, you probably didn’t until now. Well, it’s a step closer to reality. A big step.

This week, the Maine Gambling Control Unit published draft regulations and license application forms. It will start reviewing those applications as soon as they come in. It’s an important step in eventually letting apps start taking bets there.

The bottom line for bettors is that a launch could take place late this year or perhaps early in 2024, should everything go well. It seems that regulators are in no hurry, however. In that vein, women’s sports fans should never be in a hurry to place wagers on events. Play responsibly and bet with your head.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA and the managing editor of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of the gambling industry with business, the law, and technology.

View all posts by Derek Helling