12/4: Should Georgia expand gambling?

By the AJC Editorial Board

The numbers are hard to ignore: Video lottery casinos in Atlanta, Savannah and Jekyll Island could gin up nearly $934 million in projected gross revenue by 2014. A sizable chunk of that money could flow into state coffers during a time when spending has been cut by billions.

That prospect deserves further, sober-hearted, coldly analytical study when the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes in January, if not before. What it doesn’t warrant right now is either an outright rejection or a full-bore enthusiastic embrace. The latter would indicate that the seductive bright lights, clamor and glitz of gambling halls have triumphed over common sense and the common good.

What’s needed instead is a businesslike, comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of whether Georgia and its pressing needs in education and other areas would be better served by a measured expansion of some form of gambling. There are other questions, too. Would an Atlanta casino make us a more-attractive convention and tourism location, for example?

Read our editorial and tell us what you think.

17 comments Add your comment

Jack

December 6th, 2011
11:16 am

Morals are a good thing. Just seems they’re a vanishing value. If we have gambling here in Georgia, some of the money should be set aside for more jails.

Captain Salvation

December 5th, 2011
9:59 am

sure Georgia should expand gambling if it wants the ship to sink with no life jackets on board, thinking drowning is a good thing for all

SouthernGal

December 5th, 2011
9:52 am

sirwinston1941

December 5th, 2011
9:45 am

Have we as a people have any respect for ourselves, children and moral values of life. We forget that we are permitting money to drive our lives and no one will ever have enough; even millionaries. So let’s show come common decent by not permitting gambling..it will create a lot of problems; just as the sale of alcohol being sold, 6 days a week was enough…why on a Sunday? Don’t we have some respect for somthing? That should never have been placed on the ballot…show everyone where our values really lies.

rooster

December 5th, 2011
12:29 am

There is one set of conditions under which I might support, or at least accept, casino gambling:
Casinos are licensed by the Georgia Lottery Corporation; the number and locations of casinos are specified by the state, with a local option to reject them; each casino is operated by a contractor for a fixed annual fee; and all net proceeds are applied to HOPE and the other education programs funded by the lottery. If my state representative and/or state senator voted to allow casinos under any other circumstances, it is unlikely I could support them come re-election time.

David Hoffman

December 4th, 2011
10:46 pm

If you really want to help Georgia’s economy in an information age, then what we need is to leapfrog every other state in information technology. Let us get Fiber To The Home(FTTH) symmetrical very high speed internet access to every residence and business in the state. If we have to change state laws and give power companies and cities and counties non challengable authority to build those needed public networks, then let us do it. Let us make the South Koreans and Japanese envy our FTTH internet service cost, speed, and availability. Let us make the Google Gigabit project look like a small accomplishment. Let Georgia have so much internet capability that some of the information creative people who would be attracted to Silicon Valley, decide that they can live in any city in Georgia and get their work done over our superior network. Let that FTTH network encourage the build out in every square mile physically possible, the most advanced LTE cellular/mobile networks. If you want to grow Georgia’s economy, invest in serious telecommunications capability for every resident of Georgia. Gambling is a sucker’s bet, because the house is the only one that makes money. Everyone else looses. The state will end up loosing. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

David Hoffman

December 4th, 2011
10:23 pm

A lousily written editorial. By including a statement to quickly form a task force to study the issue you gave away your bias in favor of promoting new forms of gambling. States should form quickly study task forces for life and death issues only under certain extreme circumstances. The study of casinos and horse racing is not in that catagory. What we need is a very careful deliberate analysis by the legislature of what issues should be studied, how the investigative task force should be staffed, what timelines shall be met, and how public input is to be addressed. Once that is agreed upon, the legislature can pass legislation to fund and staff such an investigative body. It may take 3 years to agree upon such things, but that may help make sure the investigators are properly funded, staffed, and guided. There is no emergency that warrants immediate thoughtless studies such as you seem to want underneath your pretty words.