In what is being touted as an unprecedented move, the Governor of Georgia made it clear that if a casino bill is approved, he will not stand in its way. With that being said, the Governor had one condition; he will allow the bill to move forward only so long as there are some sort of assurance that it will not destroy the state’s lottery and the programs/services that it supports and funds.
Nathan Deal, Georgia’s governor, has never been known for being particularly open to the idea of legalized casino-style gambling. Now, we are seeing a bit of a change. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Deal said, “We need to be absolutely certain that if a casino bill passes, it doesn’t adversely impact a lottery program for the state. That is the first big marker – to make sure that we don’t devastate what is probably perceived as the most successful lottery program in the country.”
The governor is not speaking on the idea of legalized casinos just for fun, but rather because a bill that would legalize casinos was introduced today. The bill would pave the way of casino-style gambling not only in Atlanta, but other major Georgian cities as well. As part of casinos being legalized, the bill will make sure that a lot of money goes to a program that will help people who otherwise couldn’t afford it go to college. This is not unusual as most states that push to legalize casinos usually try to sweeten the deal by creating a whole plethora of programs and scholarships that will be funded by the newly-created industry.
With all of this being said, the fact of the matter is that because the bill would amend the state’s constitution it does not even need the governor’s signature. Instead, all that is needed is two-thirds approval by the state legislature. The thing is, support from the governor is a big deal because it may sway certain representatives to vote in favor of casino legislation they might have otherwise opposed.
Something else to think about is that those that are on the fence about Georgian casinos are mandating a larger tax on casino revenue than what you will find in most other states. As opposed to taxes ranging between 10% and 15%, Georgian lawmakers will look to mandate more than 20% tax, most of which will support Georgia’s education. This seems like a lofty ask, but one that will be pursued nonetheless.
While there still remains a lot of questions with regard to what is going to happen to the casino industry in Georgia, people are feeling optimistic that change is finally on the horizon. There is still a lot that needs to be done, but you can rest-assured knowing that we will be keeping close tabs on any and all developments