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Assistant professor quoted on sports betting in Georgia

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While it remains to be seen if Georgia legislatures will legalize sports gambling, online sports betting may be a viable way to pass legalized gambling through the General Assembly.

According to an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, with state tax collections going flat and Governor Brian Kemp ordering state agencies to cut spending, there's more pressure than ever to find another tax revenue source similar to the Georgia Lottery, which funds the HOPE Scholarship.

In addition to further engaging sports teams with their fanbases and helping law enforcement eradicate illegal sports wagering, legalized gambling could also potentially strengthen the relationship between local viewership and online betting.

"You would have to increase the connection that current people who are actually betting have to the actual product," said Steven Salaga, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Education's department of kinesiology, who was quoted in the story. "In other words, now that they can bet legally in Georgia, they're becoming more attached to Hawks' games [for example] and then they watch longer or more often. Or the legalized sports betting in the state would actually need to increase the number of people who wager. So, this would be the people that didn't wager using offshore sportsbooks before but now that it's legal, they're now betting."

According to the American Gaming Association, the legal wagering market set a monthly record reaching nearly $1.4 billion in September. Last month, Colorado became the 19th state to legalize sports betting in some form, and as many as 40 states could allow sports gambling by 2024.

Over the past few years, supporters of gambling have pushed to bring casinos and horse tracks to Georgia, but a bill to legalize online sports betting could provide a path to legal wagering in the Peach State.

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