Georgia Lawmaker Pushing for Casino Gaming

by Jim Hall

Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach is trying to push for casino gaming in the state.

Casino gaming can be found in most states in the US. States have found that casino gaming can create a constant stream of revenues that can be helpful for community programs such as education, police, fire, etc. Overall, casino gaming can provide money that can be used by local municipalities for whatever they need. The state of Georgia is one that does not offer casino gaming in the US. Georgia has no casino venues in place and one senator would like to change that.

Enter Senator Brandon Beach

Senator Brandon BeachSenator Brandon Beach would like to see casino gaming a reality in the state of Georgia. Beach is asking lawmakers what they would do is a company was looking to invest over $1 billion on a new business and providing 5,000 jobs, not asking the public for money in the process. Of course, the lawmakers would be ready to take up the company on their offer and see the business created. The only problem with this question by Beach is that it involves casino gaming. Georgia is a conservative state that cannot seem to see casino gambling as a positive.

Next week, legislators will be back in session, heading back to Atlanta to discuss certain issues. Beach is hoping that the subject of casino gaming will be discussed and become a reality. Speaking with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Beach stated that he plans on introducing legislation during the 2017 sessions that will include a proposal for casino and horse track gambling. This new proposal will be similar to what was proposed in 2011 when the state tried to legalize the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

A Difficult Road Ahead

Beach already knows that it will be a difficult road ahead as there are many opponents to casino gaming. Conservatives in both the Senate and House have worked to block proposals in the past. Even outside groups are in the mix working to keep the state free of casinos such as with efforts by Faith and Freedom Coalition. Those who are opposed to casino gaming feel that gaming venues will bring crime and addiction into the state.

Just considering the legislative challenges, Beach has much to work through. The Senator will have to persuade 2/3 of the majority of the Senate and House to see a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot next year. Both chambers will need to adopt enabling legislation that will contain such information such as where the resorts would be located, what the investment would be for each casino, tax rates on revenues and more.

If Beach is able to succeed, then the locals will have to approve the question on the state ballot. A county commission or a city council interested in casino gaming would need to vote to see a referendum on the local ballot. Voters would then have to approve the measure. Beach would like to leave it up to the voters as he said he is a republican and there is nothing more republican or conservative to allow the voters to decide if they would like to see the activity take place in their area.

It seems that voters are in support of the plan of Beach to allow casinos in the state. A poll was conducted this week by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that was able to find 56% of the registered voters are in support of gambling at casinos in the state. The numbers included over 60% of democratic individuals as well as 47% republicans.

For now, legislators have a lot to consider and this week should give us an indication as to what might take place in the future for the state of Georgia.