For at least the past decade, Georgians and their elected officials have debated the merits and pitfalls of casino gambling in Atlanta, although little ground has been made by advocates of in-state slot machines and craps tables.
That might be changing.
In August, Bisnow reported that Republican state Rep. Ron Stephens is gearing up to drop legislation during the next General Assembly that would pave the way for three multi-billion-dollar casino resorts to be licensed in Georgia.
Stephens has long said Georgia is missing out on revenue that could be earned if residents weren’t leaving the state to gamble. The money made could be used to repair the state’s HOPE scholarship program, he believes.
Should his impending bill clear the Legislature, companies vying to earn one of those three licenses would have to promise at least 10,000 new jobs and an investment of at least $1.2 billion on each venture.
Stephens is betting that 30,000 new jobs and more than $3.6 billion in new development will woo support from his statehouse colleagues and their constituents.
And now, according to another report by Bisnow, property owners around the state have asked a major real estate executive to market their land to casino operators.
Rick Lackey, the founder of City Commercial Real Estate, is working on behalf of landowners like the City of College Park, which owns the 300-acre “Airport City” next to Hartsfield-Jackson International, and Selig Enterprises, an Atlanta-based real estate development heavy, to bring their parcels to casino companies’ attention.
Lackey is also marketing properties near North Georgia’s Lake Hartwell and near Downtown Savannah, according to the publication. Selig’s 300-acre parcel, meanwhile, is in LaGrange, next to a water park.
This time, it sounds like real momentum is afoot where it often matters most in Atlanta: the world of real estate titans. But considering Georgia’s past of shooting down pro-casino gambling proposals, might these property owners be jumping the gun?
It’s time for a reader poll.
Property owners are marketing land to casino operators, expecting that major gaming resorts will soon be legal in Georgia. Are they jumping the gun?
This poll is closed
No. With those incentives—jobs, development, and revenue—you might as well bet on Stephens’s legislation.
Well, both Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp say casino gambling could ratchet up the HOPE Scholarship program, so it’s worth the gamble.
The General Assembly is still months away. At this point, it’s a toss-up.
Trying to woo casino operators before we know how this bill will fare seems like putting the cart before the horse, doesn’t it?
Georgia lawmakers have a history of killing casino gambling legislation, and Stephens’s will likely die, too.
No casinos. Period.
Whatever. Let’s just gamble already!