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Georgia Governor against Casino Gambling Legalization
- October 12, 2015 By Oliver Young -
According to reports from local media, the governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, said that he would oppose the calls for casino gambling legalization as well as the legalization of pari-mutuel activities in the US state. Legislators in Georgia have already been considering such legalization and talks about it will continue on the next meeting which is going to take place in January next year.
It is the first time that Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said that he would actively stand against the legalization of casinos in the state. He also added that he is planning to make his point clear to the members of the General Assembly. Deal believes that casino gaming and horse betting activities would not make life better in Georgia. However, he said that he might change his mind if there is a higher tax rate than the one already proposed.
Under the proposed bill casino operators will contribute 12 percent in gambling taxes to Georgia on a yearly basis. Gov. Deal said that if companies agree to a 24-35 percent tax rate, he would change his mind.
A Surprise for Everybody
The proponents of both casino gambling and pari-mutuel betting legalization were taken by surprise by the statement of the governor. They have been particularly vocal in their statements compared to the opponents. The representatives from both Senate and House have already started talking about the impact of casino gambling in Georgia. According to estimations, over $280 million is expected to be generated from tax revenue and the money is to be used to fund the Hope scholarship in the US state, a top education program.
Legislators have been considering several ways to boost the Hope education program as well as other similar programs for some time now because they have been facing many drawbacks in keeping with the increased demand. Currently the education programs are mainly funded from the state lottery which gives 25 percent of its overall revenue to the state. Lawmakers have been considering introducing a return of 35 percent of the money lottery makes from selling tickets.
Casino Operators Have Already Expressed Interest
Even though the proposed casino bill is yet to be voted on, several casino operators have already expressed their interest in opening such establishments in Georgia. One of the most prominent operators is Las Vegas based MGM Resorts International. The CEO and president of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren, said that the company was planning to build a $1 million casino resort in Atlanta that would open 3,500 jobs when it becomes fully operational.
It is up to be seen whether the statement of Gov. Deal will have an impact on the proposed casino gambling legalization or it would be signed into law eventually. However, his opinion is expected to trigger long debates on the bill in the upcoming months.
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