One of the biggest battles developing in the Georgia General Assembly this year is over the revival of a proposal to bring full-scale casino gaming to the Peach State. The measure, which has been revised to bring two “destination resort” casinos, requires a change to the state’s constitution, and thus two-thirds each of the Georgia House and Senate.
There are many with religious reservations to allowing this to become the law of the state. The origins of their position should be respected. There is a small handful of ministers in the legislature — and a couple more members who should be. They’re not going to be found in the “yes” column if and when this measure comes to a vote. This is stipulated.
The reality is, however, that the question before the Georgia General Assembly is not a moral one, but one of missed opportunity and diminishing tax revenues. The moral question was answered by voters in November 1992 when a constitutional amendment was passed creating the Georgia Lottery Corporation. Almost $60 billion has been wagered in the state of Georgia since that time, legally. It has all been done through a state-sponsored monopoly.
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Charlie Harper, executive director of PolicyBEST, a public policy think tank, is also the publisher of GeorgiaPol.com, a website dedicated to state and local politics of Georgia.