ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia House panel is upping its ante on sports betting.
After earlier approving a bill that would legalize the practice and tax bookmakers' profits at 14%, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on Monday approved a revised version of House Bill 86 that would tax profits at 20%.
A competing Senate bill would tax profits at only 10%.
The House revision could be a negotiating tactic. House Economic Development and Tourism Committee Chairman Ron Stephens, a Savannah Republican, said previously that he would like a tax rate somewhere between 10% and 20%.
The measure returns to the full House for more debate.
The bill would mandate that the Georgia Lottery Corp. give at least six licenses to companies that want to offer sports betting in Georgia. After the companies pay out bettors’ winnings, the state would tax the remaining proceeds. Stephens estimated that would bring in more than $30 million a year to increase funds available for HOPE college scholarships and state subsidies for prekindergarten classes and child care.
Each operator would have to pay a $900,000-a-year license fee.
Some opponents question whether the state can legalize sports betting without a state constitutional amendment.
Atlanta’s four major league professional sports teams back the bill.