There’s talk again in the media and among some politicians of expanding gambling in Georgia to produce another revenue stream for education, trauma care and other needs in our state.
The talk includes a possible push for betting on horse racing, on casinos in selected areas of the state, including Atlanta, and on installing video lottery terminals across the state.
Any of these gambling ideas could bring in hundreds of millions — maybe billions in state revenue — at a time when sources of revenue other than raising taxes are being explored.
Right now, the gambling expansion talk appears to be mostly from advocates of these various forms of gambling, but the most interesting angle of these latest media reports is some state lawmakers believe strong support in favor of Sunday alcohol sales could mean the political climate is ripe to expand gambling.
There seems to be no doubt that opinions among Georgians have changed regarding alcohol sales and gambling. There’s also a feeling the state lottery, which passed in the 1990s, has been good for the state.
More and more Georgians may be thinking that other gambling areas are certainly attractive revenue alternatives, as opposed to higher taxes. There’s also the fact that Georgia is losing millions and millions of revenue to other states in the South that have more gambling opportunities than Georgia. Georgians are crossing the state line every day to gamble elsewhere.
We have said before that we suspect that within the next decade there will be more gambling opportunities in our state. That timetable might be much quicker if the sentiment among lawmakers and voters is that gambling revenue is right for our state.
“When the lottery was voted in, everybody questioned the lottery, and what happened?” asked one developer. “This (gambling) is something that can help the state of Georgia in a big way.”
— Online: www.timesherald.com