Casinos on agenda in Georgia

January 09, 2017 5:04 PM

Georgia’s General Assembly begins a new 40-day legislative session this week. Revising the state’s gambling laws is expected to be a hot topic during the session.

Supporters of bringing casino gambling to Georgia are ready to continue their push to allow gambling in the state. The Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts are among the gambling companies hiring some of the Georgia’s top lobbyists to convince state lawmakers that voters should decide on a constitutional amendment allowing casinos.

Casino supporters argue that gambling dollars will solve renenue problems. However, Senate Republicans’ majority leader said changes to the state’s lottery could send more money to the scholarship program and eliminate any need for casinos. State Sen. Bill Cowsert told the Associated Press that forcing the lottery to reduce prize payouts over time will free up more money for scholarship awards but allowing more gambling into the state could hurt lottery sales.

MGM Resorts International CEO James Murren recently floated the concept of casino/resort in Georgia in an Atlanta speech before local businessmen. Gambling supporters in the state are looking towards MGM’s new National Harbor complex in Maryland, which opened in early December, as an example of what they would like to see in their state