Georgia Lawmakers Hear Public Opinion on Gambling

  • Casino gaming, sports betting, and horse racing are under consideration in Georgia
  • Residents showed their support for gambling at the standing-room-only public hearing
  • Committee members are using public hearings to inform residents of gambling potential
Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA
Georgia residents showed their support for the expansion of legalized gambling during a public hearing held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this week. [Image:]

Residents support gambling expansion

The Special Committee on Economic Growth hosted a public hearing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia this week to discuss the expansion of gambling with members of the public.

seeking feedback on the legalization of casino gaming, sports betting, and horse racing

The committee is seeking feedback on the legalization of casino gaming, sports betting, and horse racing. Residents who attended the standing-room-only public hearing showed resounding support for gambling in the Peach State.

Details of the public hearing

Residents spoke in favor of casino gaming in the state, including the possibility of a destination resort at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In October 2019, the Atlanta Motor Speedway presented a plan to create a destination resort that would include a casino, hotel, theme park, water park, and a host of other entertainment options.

Scott Davidson, a local resident and employee of Keller-Williams Realty, attended the hearing and spoke about how a casino resort could positively impact the prices of homes in the area.

According to Davidson, builders could produce homes in the $400k to $500k range, which would help those affected by an economy collapse from 2007. Others spoke about how casino gaming could bring additional jobs to the region.

While the majority at the meeting were in support, a small few did represent the opposition. Some residents are concerned as to how a casino would impact the infrastructure that already exists in the area.

Plans for a destination resort

During the hearing, Ed Clark, president of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, spoke to attendees and asked them to picture the resort.

He described all the property would entail, including a major hotel and convention space, high-end dining, concert venues, golf area, cinema, and much more. Clark said:

We want to construct something our community does not have.”

The Atlanta Motor Speedway provided a conceptual drawing of the resort to display during the meeting, providing a visual for attendees. The facility would be located on the southern end of the grounds. This area is currently home to parking and camping.

Legislative changes needed

For casino gaming to become a reality in Georgia, a proposed constitutional amendment would have to be approved by two-thirds of the State House and Senate. The amendment would then need to be placed on the ballot for voters of the state to decide if gambling should be expanded.

If approved, an independent gaming commission would be created. The commission would be in charge of who would receive a license and where a gaming facility would be located.

Billions could be generated

Georgia’s lawmakers have been considering a gambling expansion for quite some time. The Special Committee on Economic Growth group was created to review how added gambling options would affect the state.

Since November, the committee has been on a statewide ‘listening tour’ to provide information on gambling legalization to voters, so that the measure will be approved if placed on the ballot.

Lawmakers believe that gambling could generate billions for the state.

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