A legislative piece that would have legalized casino gambling in Georgia failed to gain the necessary support in the State Senate Regulated Industries Committee. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach, confirmed that the bill is dead for 2017.
However, the legislator told local media that he is not done with his attempts to bring casino gambling to the state and is set to renew his push next year. Sen. Beach is planning a massive lobbying campaign around Georgia. He will be talking to communities, experts, education leaders, municipality officials, and everyone showing openness to discuss the matter.
Sen. Beach’s original casino gambling push involved a proposal for the construction of six casinos and one horse racing track in different parts of the state. However, his proposal met strong opposition from anti-gambling lobbyists, and he eventually reduced the gambling venues to-be-built in the state to just two casino resorts.
To be more precise, if Senate Bill 79 had gained the necessary legislative support, had reached the full Senate floor, and had been signed into law, it would have provided for the construction of two integrated resorts with casino facilities as part of them. One of said resorts would have had to be built in the Atlanta metropolitan area and its developer would have been required to invest at least $2 billion in its construction. The other gambling property would have not been as large in scale, but it too would have had to meet certain requirements. That other “destination resort” would have cost its developer at least $450 million, under SB 79.
The two gambling complexes would have had to pay a 20% annual tax on gambling proceeds. The tax contributions would have been used to fund the HOPE scholarship, a merit-based award given to students with significant academic achievements. Money would have also been contributed to other education programs and to rural trauma care facilities and hospitals.
Sen. Beach said that he hopes his planned lobbyism over the next several months would help his casino gambling push gain momentum in 2018, when he plans to reintroduce his bill. The lawmaker is set to begin his lobbying efforts in April with multiple tours around the state.