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

Gambling is for losers

December 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

It is so sad and pathetic that so called leaders promote gambling as the answer
to our budgetary issues.
As a gambler myself and I know the game. I know that the industry has become to
large with too many states in the game. everyone that thinks that legalizing gambling will
be the answer I urge you to do one thing. Look at every state that has some form of
legalized gambling and then tell me what you see when you also look at that states budget.
OH MY that all have budget/money issues? WAIT, their leaders said gambling would solve that.
This issue is for suckers. Don’t buy into it.
Oh I know, we are letting those tax dollars slip away to other states. That is an empty argument.
It that is the case, lets build a beach in Atlanta. We can’t let Miami/Destin/ Hilton Head
have those tax dollars. Heck no.
Get a grip people. There are only 5 issues we need to worry about to help our tax base.
Education, Transportation, Industry, Public Safety, and a clean environment.
If Georgia will work on those issues and then we will continue to grow.

Gambling is for losers

December 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

One other statement.
If you don’t think other forms of gambling will eat away at the income for the Lottery then you know nothing about discretionary spending on a personal level

nelson howard

December 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Georgia should have video lottery terminals[VLT] now.
Rhode Island has VLT and takes in 823 dollars for every person in the state.

Georgia has 8,684,715 population. If they wewr as successful as RI. the income for the state would be $71,475,204. That is serious money, and could be used to finance the dredgeing of the Savannah Harbor.
It is a win-win solution. Billions of dollars would come with container ships carrying 10000 containers full of imports and exports.

Meli

December 4th, 2011
3:24 pm

I’m opposed to the idea, but not because I’m opposed to gambling.

The problem is the people who support the idea of a casino keep using the argument about how much money it will put into the local economy and everyone will benefit in terms of overall quality of life. Well, if you travel to Atlantic City or to Biloxi, you will see that is simply not the case.

Yes, the casinos make money, but then the money stays there. It does not go out into the community. It’s an employer who brings a few jobs to the area, but few new businesses start up outside the casino, so you’re not getting much in the way of new tax revenue. Then the politicians start cutting their financial committment to such things as education and the local infrastructure because they want to rely on the casino to pay for it. So what you get, when you travel to these other places where the same promises happened, is that you have a nice shiny casino in the middle of a community who continues to have urban blight, low education, low income, and high unemployment.

Relying on a casino to solve all of our money problems is irresponsible and a pipe dream. In fact, if Georgia were a parent and was relying on the casino to feed his/her children, DFCS would be stepping in right now to take those children away and send Georgia to parenting classes.

Sandy

December 4th, 2011
4:58 pm

We went Greenbriar Resort this year and I spent an enjoyable hour in their casino when I had nothing else to do. I would not object to having casino’s at legitimate resorts as part of the resort experience, but I would not like to see casinos in Atlanta. I am in agreement with Meli. The lure of gambling riches to solve our financial problems is a lazy way out for our lawmakers to avoid the real issues of governance. Look at California – casinos have not solved their financial deficits.

shawn

December 4th, 2011
6:57 pm

Who has the money to gamble ? I see people losing thier homes, jobs, and everytning else. So please tell me how will cassinos improve Georgia’s economy.

Tommy

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

We better not expand gambling because it will bring the devil to our state and that is bad. This is what my preacher told me when I saw him in the liquor store.

get real

December 4th, 2011
8:58 pm

Gambling might be for losers but there is no denying it increases revenues. The problem is it is at the expense of the poor who play with the unrealistic dream that they might become rich.

get real

December 4th, 2011
9:00 pm

Bring gambling, casinos and a stud ranch. Mama needs some schlong…lol

Whattheysaid

December 4th, 2011
9:19 pm

No. No. No.

If you’re not happy with civilian debt, federal, state, local gov debt, the state of the economy now, wait till they institute gambling full tilt.
Forget it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SouthernGal

December 5th, 2011
9:52 am

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

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.