Georgia to vote on casino bill

The casino bill will come to a committee vote on Thursday.

US.- Senator Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, announced on Friday that the Senate Bill 79 will be voted in committee this Thursday. Beach is confident that if the bill passes the committee, it can also pass the full Senate.

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.

State Rep James Beverly, D-Macon, said that the bill being called Destination Resorts Act is more attractive than including the words “casinos” and “gambling”. “Part of it, when they start burying language and not making it explicit in the public, there’s always a reason, is there some smoke there? And I think part of it is that casinos have a bad name in certain spaces. But destination resorts, what is that?,” he added.

Senator Beach also introduced on Friday the Senate Resolution 249, the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that legalises casinos. 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.