Georgia voters likely to face casino ballot referendum in November 2020
Georgia is one of the few states in the US that doesn’t have tribal or commercial casinos, but that could change soon as voters could decide in favor of lifting of the state’s long prohibition on nearly all sorts of gambling in November this year.
Earlier this week, members of the Georgia House Regulated Industries Committee approved the Senate Resolution 841 (SR841) by voting 13-3 in its favor. The measure has been designed to grant the Peach State’s voters the power to amend the state’s constitution to allow casino gambling, wagering and sports betting. But, before appearing on the ballot in November, it will have to receive a two-thirds majority vote in each of the state’s two legislative chambers.
The most imperative decision facing voters in the Peach State in November will definitely be whether to reelect President Donald Trump to the world’s most influential political position or go with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. But, the casino ballot referendum will also draw a lot of consideration.
The House Regulated Industries Committee’s green signal for the measure comes as a separate gambling measure (House Bill 903) that aims to legalize mobile sports betting in the state is making progress. HB903, which was introduced by Republican Sen. Burt Jones, is now set to go before the full Senate for consideration.
SR841 was introduced by State Representative Ron Stephens (a Republican from Savannah), who has been urging other lawmakers to support the measure to help the state in getting much-needed capital investments and new sources of tax revenues.
Urging lawmakers to support the measure, Stephens said, “We need investments in the state of Georgia. Whether you’re for or against the bill [SR841], allow the people to vote. It can’t come to your backyard until your backyard wants it.”
Many entrepreneurs have already expressed their interest in setting up gambling facilities in the Peach State. In October 2019, the owners of the Atlanta Motor Speedway openly announced that they would be ready to invest more than $1 billion to transform their vacant racetrack into a massive casino resort, if they were permitted.
Even after receiving two-thirds majority vote in each legislative chamber of the state, and then being approved by voters, the measure would have a long way to go to legalize casino gambling as it would then require approval from voters in each county, which would hold local referendums to determine whether area residents want to permit such gambling venues in their communities.
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