Georgia is among eight states in the US that do not have a tribal or commercial casino. However, legislation has been tabled in the state General Assembly for consideration when the session resumes on 13th January.
Similar legislation had been proposed in Georgia for years but received no supports. The reduction of tax revenue has compelled the state Senate and Assembly to reconsider the bill. The state is looking at the merit and demerits of legalizing various forms of gambling including sports betting, commercial casino resorts and horse racing.
Some critics of the legislation claim that legalizing casino, horse racing or any other sort of gambling will slump the revenue collected by Georgia Lottery. According to Casino.org, the state lottery raised $1.14 billion in the 2018 financial year, which was used to fund education.
Georgia Assembly formed a committee this year whose main task was to analyze means in which the state could get additional revenue. The committee focused on gambling and evaluated how it could be tapped to help the state solve its annual budget deficit. Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) proposed that all forms of gambling be compressed under one legislation package.
“If we are going to amend the constitution, we ought to look at it holistically rather than picking and choosing,’ said Stephens.
However, the form of gambling that will be authorized will determine the tax revenue the state will receive. Opponent still believes the tax benefits of gambling cannot solve the problems that will accompany gambling.
West Cantrell (R-Woodstock) oppose legalizing gambling. He alleges that the tax benefits will be overridden by gambling addiction, sex trafficking, closure of small business, bankruptcies, among other problems.