The Peach State’s gambling supporters eagerly anticipating the 2019 legislation

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The supporters of pari-mutuel and casino gambling in Georgia have been pushing for the inclusion of a legislation in the General Assembly session of next year.  A scrutiny released on Wednesday by the  Georgia Horse Racing Coalition shows an integrated project of a racetrack and a casino in suburban Atlanta with a 300-room hotel, along with an entertainment centre and lounge venues. The facility holds the potential to generate up to US$1.2 billion a year.

In view of this, the Georgia Representative, Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, said that he is planning to present the proposal to the House Rural Development Council after the current legislative session ends next week and work hand-in-hand  with state Senator Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, to introduce a legislation during the 2019 legislative session that would give go-ahead to three venues in different parts of the Peach State.

Harrell emphasised that “A horse racing facility would create thousands of jobs, deliver tens of millions in new state and local tax dollars and bring new revenues and business development to rural Georgia through its equine industry. Georgia is one of only six states that have no gaming outside of its lottery, and I believe horse racing would bring together different strengths our state has in tourism and agriculture,” he added.

Despite the efforts, this is not the first time that supporters have tried to legalise casino gambling in the state. A previous plan even included measures to increase tourism and raise additional revenue for the state’s scholarship programme. However, the legislation died because of the oppositions from the Governor Nathan Deal and General Assembly members.

The report carried out by The Lewis Group established that a racetrack-casino with an investment of US$525 million would create over  4,000 construction jobs and approximately 2,300 permanent jobs. It would also generate US$210 million in state and local taxes during its first year of operations.

Beach said: “This report gives lawmakers a clear vision of what a horse racing facility would contribute to Georgia.  We will  work to pass legislation that enables a horse racing track in Georgia that is one of the nicest in the world.”