The newly-elected Republican Governor for Georgia, Brian Kemp (pictured), has reportedly announced that he does not intend to block efforts that could see casino gambling legalized in the southern state by means of a constitutional amendment.
According to a Tuesday story from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper published by local television broadcaster WSB-TV, Kemp had earlier campaigned against any expansion of gambling in ‘The Peach State’ but has now revealed that he will not stand in the way of legislation that could ultimately see the issue put before voters.
The newspaper cited Kemp’s official spokesperson as declaring that the 55-year-old Governor ‘remains opposed to casino gambling’ but has recently decided not to prevent ‘hardworking Georgians’ from having a final say on the matter ‘if a constitutional amendment is placed on the ballot.’ In return, the conservative politician explained that he will insist that any new tax revenues from gambling be earmarked for the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) program, which supports scholarships and pre-kindergarten classes across Georgia.
Kemp’s revelation triggered immediate reviews into separate gambling-friendly measures recently introduced to the Georgia State Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives and has moreover stoked hopes that the state of some 10.5 million people could soon be home to multiple casinos, which are already a feature in neighboring Florida, Alabama and North Carolina.
Local television broadcaster, WRDW-TV, detailed that the most likely locations for any of the envisioned gambling venues include the cities of Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah while a developer in Augusta proclaimed that he is hopeful of being given permission to operate slots and gaming tables in that community’s Old Modjeska Building. Zia Ahmadi told the station that he would like to open a 16,000 sq ft casino inside the 103-year-old downtown structure in hopes of capitalizing on interest in the annual Masters Tournament, which is held at the nearby Augusta National Golf Club.
Ahmadi told WRDW-TV…
“My first priority is to create jobs, as many as I can. Especially when the Masters comes, when there’s golf, I know a lot of people and their friends will end up coming here.”