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Casino Supporters Look Ahead to Next Legislative Session

- March 7, 2016 By Samantha A. -

The battle that is to bring casino gambling to Georgia has hit a major roadblock this past week within the House of Representatives, but even those that are opposed to the idea of gambling in Georgia expect this fight to continue.

Legislation that would ultimately allow up to four casinos to operate within the state, with the approval from statewide voters, has failed to get the House vote before the deadline that was on Monday.  The Supporters feel that things are going in the correct direction,  in spite of the decision to delay to the gambling expansion.

Georgia’s lottery has been struggling to keep up with the demand, thus forcing lawmakers to make scholarship amounts as well as eligibility requirement changes in the recent years.  Lawmakers have studied the issues during this past fall.  Gambling firms such as MGM, hyped the potential windfall for state coffers as they hired many of Georgia’s top lobbyist when the legislative session opened this past January.

If the fall elections do not significantly affect party control in the House, the Backers for the casinos will still need the help of the Democrats in order to give voters the opportunity to end Georgia’s ban on gambling.  The Constitutional amendments require the approval of two-thirds of each of the legislative chambers in order to get a ballot that is statewide.

The Republicans do not hold such a margin within the House, as the chamber’s Democrats foresee the opportunity to push for the financial help for college students that is based on need, not just the student’s academic skill as it is with the HOPE program.

The Deep South region of Georgia still bans or even largely limits gambling to facilities that are owned by Indian tribes while still preventing commercial casinos.  If the voters as well as the lawmakers within the state of Georgia approve these changes in the coming years, Georgia will ultimately benefit from these changes.

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