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Georgian Senator with another Attempt to Legalise Casino Gambling

- January 9, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The intention is for gambling revenues to go into the state's scholarship program HOPE.

Senator Beach believes that additional money for education will convince many lawmakers.

Georgia is one of the few ‘battlegrounds’ where the battle between casino legalisation proponents and its opponents has been very fierce in the past few years. Georgia’s Governor, Nathan Deal stated that he’s against legalisation last year, but he also hinted that he might change his mind if the tax revenue percentage was increased.

Meanwhile, multiple casino operators have expressed their interest to invest in Georgia, if the country goes through with the casino legalisation proposal. Some even pledged to build casino complexes worth $1 billion.

And even if all previous attempts haven’t been successful, supporters of the legalisation idea don’t seem to give up. One of the biggest supporters of gambling legalisation, Senator Beach, indicated that he is going to launch yet another legalisation proposal.

Senator Beach Hopes that this Time He Will Succeed

Brandon Beach is, by far, one of the staunchest gambling supporters and he now expressed his intention to, once again, prompt a debate on the issue, hoping that this time he will manage to persuade enough colleagues to accept the idea that casinos and horse race tracks in the state should be legal. One of the key arguments that is going to be used is the argument that gambling legalisation will definitely help close the widening budget gap.

Experts expect that the new gambling bill might be proposed in the opening days of the 2017 legislative session. This will not be the first attempt of Senator Beach, although it should be noted that his previous attempts have been unsuccessful. This attempt, much like the previous ones, is expected to face heavy opposition from some Georgian lawmakers.

Nevertheless, Brach is convinced that this time he will manage to sway away his colleagues by introducing a provision that will guarantee that most of the gambling revenues will go towards the state’s education budget. That way, the public will have a great benefit from the legalisation. That is particularly important due to the fact that the state always lacks funds in that department.

Gambling Will Provide Additional Financial Support for HOPE

Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) is a program created to provide scholarships and other rewards for Georgian students who face financial difficulties. Initially the program covered 100% of the tuition fees of all accepted students. Now it covers only 70%. The HOPE program is funded by the Georgian Lottery, but Senator Breach and other gambling proponents have said on several occasions that casinos and race tracks might also contribute to HOPE, thus ensuring that the required funds will be provided.

However, it should be noted that even if the legalisation proposal is accepted by the state’s legislators, it will still have to be voted by its residents. And that cannot happen before 2018.

Beach feels that up to 5 casinos and one horse race track should be constructed in the state. According to the proposal, all operators that obtain a licence will be able to build a resort in the vicinity of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, provided that they agree to invest at least $1 billion in their resorts.

The popular gambling operator MGM, has already confirmed its interest, acknowledging that the state’s casino market has a lot of potential.

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