A bill that would legalize gambling on horse races in Georgia passed a unanimous vote in the state House Regulated Industries Committee on March 2. This means it can be voted on by the entire House and Senate, where it will need two-thirds approval to make it onto the state's 2012 general election ballot.
The bill would establish a nine-member Georgia Racing Commission and send betting profits to fund education. If there's a downside to the state of Georgia having more outdoor sports, more free-as-in-speech gaming, and more education money, I'd like to hear it. Actually, I wouldn't. But maybe hating fun and literacy is a hobby of yours, and you don't see me trying to illegalize your hobby.
This is the farthest a Georgia horse-racing effort has gotten in about two decades, as far as I can tell. Patience will still be an essential virtue for proponents, however. At this time last year, the movement was described as being in its "home stretch."
While the act of competing with fellow jockeys is not illegal -- there's the Atlanta Steeplechase, for instance -- it's the betting that's currently against the law. The bill would set it up so bettors technically wager against each other, rather than against the house.
For more on horse racing, visit And Down The Stretch They Come, SB Nation's horse racing community. Also, Dawg Sports writes about Georgia Bulldogs equestrian sports a lot.