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.

2 Responses

  1. Steven Norton

    Georgia, in considering allowing casino gaming, needs to thoroughly understand the issues before accepting an offer by MGM. Along with Wynn and Las Vegas Sands, MGM deserves to be a top applicant for the Atlanta license, but first the discussion needs to discuss the style of gaming that best fits the State. When monopolies are being considered, tax rates and minimum investment are a critical component of future negotiations. That is “if” Georgia agrees to approve casino gaming. To me the “style” of gaming
    includes 1) choosing between land based resorts, riverboats or racinos; 2) restricted gaming locations; 3) limited or unlimited numbers of operators; 4) tax rates for table games and slot machines; and other issues like restricted hours of operations, allowing casino credit, and the level of criminal offenses that might not disqualify a casino gaming or related hospitality employee in background investigations.
    Casino gaming can be a wonderful amenity for a metropolitan city, like Atlanta, increasing demand for the convention trades, and offering a major new amenity for visiting businessmen. Hotel accommodations should see expanded demand on weekends, increasing both occupancy and average room rates. And all other members in the tourism trades, from Airlines, restaurants, entertainment venues and local transportation should benefit; along with the many thousands of new employees and $hundreds of millions in new tax revenues and $billions in new construction. A resort community, like Savannah will also enjoy the added demand, allowing it to compete on more equal terms with towns like Biloxi and several communities in South Florida, that offer casinos and racinos for their visitors. Other Georgia communities, that might approve casino gaming, would operate more like the mid-western riverboat casino states, primarily attracting customers within easy driving distance.

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  2. frank brunetto

    I agree that Georgia is missing out by not allowing casino gambling in the state.
    We need good casino resorts like Biloxi and less than Atlantic City. Thousand of people travel from GA to Biloxi because there is nothing in between. If you look at the new Harrods in NC and all the attention it generates you can see what GA is missing. I also think that Atlanta is not the best place for casinos. Casinos need lots of land and they should be placed in North GA at Cherokee county or further north.
    Atlanta cannot handle the traffic or congestion.

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