Summary: After several efforts to see gambling come to pass in Georgia, state officials have now created a committee to study the industry.
Southern states in the US are more conservative, offering less gambling opportunities than other regions of the nation. Georgia is one such state that does not currently offer casino gaming, with lawmakers trying for some time to bring some type of gaming option to the region. Efforts to see casinos created as well as horse racing have failed, so the state Senate has now decided to create a committee to study gambling. The goal is to learn more so legislation can be created that has the ability to pass into law.
House Resolution 367 was passed by the Senate, creating a new committee that will study how gambling will affect the state. The panel will consist of 11 members, mainly involving members of the Senate. The group will be meeting over the summer and fall to study how allowing casino gambling and horse racing will affect Georgia.
The move is considered a step back for Senator Brandon Beach, an individual who has continued to fight for gambling in the state. Last year, Beach created legislation to see as many as three horse racing tracks crated in Georgia. The legislation moved out of a Senate panel but no further. It seems lawmakers want to understand the gambling industry more before allowing any type of new activity within their borders.
Beach saw the need and introduced the resolution to see the committee created. The senator is disappointed that his bill did not move forward but believes that the new committee will help to provide more support during the 2020 legislative session.
According to Beach, by having the right people at the table, learning and educating everyone on the issue, will help to see progress in the next year. The senator feels that legalizing casinos and horse racing would help to create jobs as well as additional revenues for the HOPE scholarship fund.
The main driving force behind any gambling expansion is the consideration or the HOPE scholarship fund. Since 1993, the state’s lottery has provided funds for the HOPE scholarship which had helped thousands of college students attend private and public college. With additional gambling options, the fund would have more money to help with any shortages.
Even though additional gambling would be benefiting the HOPE fund, conservative groups and leaders of faith organizations do not want to see any change. They continually remained opposed to any expansion, stating that they find it immoral as well as addictive. Opponents fear that any expansion would see an increase in crime as well.
Lawmakers like Beach have provided information to show opponents how the option can be of benefit, but they seem to be stuck on their own beliefs. We shall see over the coming weeks and months how the committee is able to study gambling and what they findings reveal. Many lawmakers would like to see a positive outcome and bring about legislation that will pass into law, allowing Georgia to expand their gambling industry.