On Tuesday 26th January, House Tourism and Economic Development Chairman Ron Stephens filed a bill (House Resolution 30) that would see an upcoming ballot include a question on the legalization of casinos in the state of Georgia.
And just a day later, State Senator Brandon Beach filed Senate Bill 30 that could see as many as three racetracks open in Georgia.
The bills are the latest attempt by pro-gambling Georgians to push through the first gambling legislation since the establishment of the state lottery in 1992.
This is the second piece of gambling legislation proposed by Chairman Stephens. The first was House Bill 86 which would legalize online sports betting.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Stephens said:
“We’re back at trying to backfill the HOPE scholarship and pre-k, and the destination resorts, along with the tourism piece, is the way to do it,”
Stephens and his supporters maintain that legislation that expands the gambling industry could generate significant tax revenues for the state while also creating thousands of jobs.
However, the proposed expansion of the gambling industry doesn’t sit well with everyone. Stephens has faced considerable pushback from conservative and religious groups in the past making it unclear whether or not Georgia will join the current wave of gambling reform that’s sweeping through the United States.