Casino Gambling on GOP Ballot
Georgia Republican voters will have the opportunity to vote if the state should allow casino gambling with profits benefiting education in the Republican Primary.
"Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?"
That question will be on the Republican Primary ballot July 31 so that "red" voters can vote either yea or nay.
It's possible that the question was created in response to this year's proposed $1-billion gambling complex in the Norcross area near Duluth, which the Georgia Lottery Board heard in its April meeting but decided not to pursue.
Dan O'Leary, the developer of the proposed Gwinnett gambling project, isn't happy with the wording of the ballot question.
"It is a flawed question and does not accurately ask voters about our project," said O'Leary in a press release.
The destination entertainment complex, which was proposed to be built at the OFS fiber-optic site in unincorporated Norcross near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85, doesn't involve casino games such as black jack. Instead, it revolves around video lottery terminals, in addition to a hotel, offices, retail and dining.
It also was estimated that casino gambling could make $350 million annually for the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten, possibly funding the programs for years.
O'Leary said that, in order to get to the heart of the issue, the real question should be: "Are voters in favor of the Georgia Lottery expanding with VLT games in a single controlled environment to save the HOPE scholarship?"
"It’s not about casinos; it’s about saving HOPE," he added.
In April, O'Leary and his company pitched his plan to the Georgia Lottery Board. He called it a "silver bullet" that would help save the HOPE scholarship, but board chairman Jimmy Braswell after the meeting said the board was hesitant to move forward.
"We believe this is public policy decision," said Braswell. "I don't think the Georgia Lottery Corporation needs to step out unilaterally and undertake this project without the appropriate consideration from the elected officials."
Before presenting the idea to the board, O'Leary had done plenty of prepping for the project. O'Leary said he had plenty of financial backers for the project. former NFL player Herschel Walker had agreed to open a restaurant and sports bar at the OFS site; and O'Leary pledged to donate nine acres of land to the I-85 transit expansion.