Georgia delays committee vote on casino bill

The voting for the bill that would allow casino gambling in the state was cancelled yesterday.

US.- The legislation that would allow Georgia voters to decide whether they want casino gambling in the state or not was put on hold yesterday after the Senate cancelled the second committee hearing. Senator Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said that he’s confident that he can revive the bill over the weekend.

“I have asked to be on the agenda Monday. That will give me more time to shore up the votes. It’s real close right now.” Beach believes that if they can get the bill into the chamber, more people would be up for it. “We have to get it out of committee,” he added. Senate Bill 79 would allow the construction of two casinos in Georgia, one must be in a county with a population greater than 900.000, whilst the other can be in a county with 250.000 residents. The first casino could be located in Fulton, Clayton, DeKalb, Gwinnett or Cobb, whilst the second one should be located 30 miles away of a major convention center.

Approximately 30 percent of the tax revenues would go to the HOPE scholarship program of the United States, another 30 percent to a needs-based college scholarship, 15 percent to rural trauma care and other 15 percent to rural healthcare. According to Beach, the remaining 10 percent is still being negotiated.

Senator Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, said that his responsibility as part of the Regulated industries Committee is to move the bill out of there if it comes to a vote. “I feel it is my obligation to give the people the chance to vote on this,” he said. According to a poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on January, 56 percent of registered voters support the idea of legalising the casino industry in the state, whilst 38 percent were opposed to the motion.