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GTI Global Network > News > International
Georgia Senate Bill 79 promotes casino gambling legalization (2017/03/20)

Senate Bill 79, authored by Senator Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta of the state of Georgia, and House Bill 158, introduced by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah jointly call for the legalization of casino gambling in Georgia.  The two bills believe that the proceeds from gaming can create jobs and increase tax revenue for local governments as well as facilitate the state of Georgia’s popular HOPE scholarship program.  However, the opponents have expressed disapproval on moral grounds, saying that gambling leads to crime and hurts some citizens.  These two bills would be the “scaled-back plans” that Beach and Stephens had said.  They initially proposed to allow up to six casinos statewide, but the two bills do not mention the word “casino” once.  Instead, the legislation would allow up to two gaming “destination resorts”.  One resort would be in Atlanta and the other in Savannah, Columbus or Augusta.  Furthermore, the bills suggest Georgia create a five-member oversight commission using the Nevada model.  In the legislation, the “resorts” would be taxed at 20%, considerably above the industry’s preferred rate of 12% and much closer to the 24% proposed by Governor Nathan Deal.  70% of the proceeds from gaming would go to the HOPE scholarship, which is a merit-based, state-funded college scholarship program.  The other 30% would be used to fund scholarships for low-income students. 

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