Thirty-eight states have approved some form of horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. Georgia is not one of those 38 states, but for years there has been talk during sessions of the General Assembly about expanding the state horse industry by allowing racing.
The topic arose during this year’s General Assembly session, and amid the flurry of legislative votes during the final days of the session, the Georgia House passed a resolution by a 157-7 vote to create the House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry.
The resolution allows the Speaker of the House to appoint a six-member committee to study the effects horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering would have on Georgia’s economy. The group would look at financial benefits and additional job opportunities that might benefit our state.
The committee is to complete its work this year and submit a report to the Georgia House by Dec. 31, 2011. The report may include suggestions for proposed legislation which could be considered by lawmakers as early as next January when the 2012 legislative session ends.
What will happened? Certainly this is not the first time such a legislative committee has studied horse racing in our state. A 2009 committee studied the issue. This new committee will pick up where the 2009 committee left off, said a Georgia House press release.
In today’s economic environment, our state is seriously looking for new streams of revenue. Horse racing could have a dramatic impact on our economy. We would not be surprised to see this committee urge lawmakers to move forward, and maybe allow voters to make a decision on the issue.
If that happened, we suspect Georgia voters would say “yes.”