Major casino companies eyeing Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular as new gambling markets are contributing to state political campaigns, according to recently released campaign disclosure documents.
MGM Resorts International, which has floated the concept of a $1 billion-plus Las Vegas-style casino/resort in Atlanta, was among the major donors to elected officials and candidates. The company and its executives contributed at least $22,000 to former state Rep. Stacey Evans and another $14,000 to ex-House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The pair are currently competing for the Democratic nomination for governor, and both have said they favor legalizing casinos if the new revenues are used to expand the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship. All five of the leading GOP contenders oppose casino gambling, as does Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.
The American Gaming Association, the major industry trade organization, gave $250 to Attorney General Chris Carr and Boyd Gaming Corp. contributed to about a dozen legislative leaders.
The push for a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling currently appears to be on hold in the state with its backers are still trying to gather increased public support, according to local media.