Whether or not there will be casino gambling in the state of Georgia may soon be up to voters to decide.

Proponents of para-mutual betting and casinos say there is sufficient drive now to give Georgia voters the opportunity to put out the welcome mat, and by doing so, help out the Hope Scholarship as well as pre-kindergarten programs around the state.

A discussion between lawmakers regarding legislation that would allow casinos to set up shop in Georgia took place at a standing room only hearing on Monday. According to testimony from lottery executives in attendance, the state can look forward to another record-breaking year, and lottery revenue estimated to exceed $1 billion will fund the pre-kindergarten programs as well as the Hope Scholarship which help make Georgia’s Pre-K Program and higher education accessible to its citizens.

Chip Lake, former chief of staff to Georgia GOP Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and part of the Committee to Preserve Hope Scholarships alliance, said, “Profits have been good, percentages have been good but at the end of the day, it’s not keeping up with demand,” as obtained on wsbtv.com. If voters approve the casino bill the state could see up to six casinos throughout the state, including big name gaming resorts like the MGM, Lake said the state would not become another Atlantic City due to the limits of the bill which would allow for destination casinos.

Making the trip from the University of Illinois was John Kindt, gambling critic heavyweight and a Professor of Business and Legal Policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has done extensive research on the subject, said, “It’s lose-lose for Georgia and I hope Georgia learns from Illinois, New Jersey and all the other states which have had blight on their economy,” in expressing opposition to the bill. The professor added that very often projections fall short of what’s predicted, and they create addicts and increase crime, obtained from wsbtv.com.

A two-thirds majority vote approval is needed from Georgia lawmakers in the Senate and the House before the issue makes the trip to the statewide ballot, and if approved the decision of whether or not citizens want a casino in their area would be decided upon by voters in each region.