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Update on Gwinnett's Proposed Gambling Complex

Developer Dan O'Leary no longer controls the property, but says he's is not giving up on his vision of the $1-billion destination gambling facility.

Dan O'Leary, the developer behind the proposed $1-billion gambling complex in the Norcross area, says he no longer controls the property where he was planning on building the mega center.

O'Leary told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they've extended the land contract seven times already on the OFS site, so they're taking a break from it. OFS is a fiber-optic company that only uses a portion of its multi-acre land off I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. The property is located in unincorporated Norcross.

O'Leary has constantly promoted that the gambling complex would save the HOPE Scholarship. In addition to creating an annual estimate of $350 million for HOPE, the project would gain a projected $700 million in annual revenue and create 2,500 new jobs and a thousand construction jobs.

Other setbacks have stalled the project, too. In May, O'Leary went before the Georgia Lottery Board to give a proposal for his project in hopes to gaining approval of the use of video lottery terminals, but the board didn't move forward in making a decision due to the lack of support by Gov. Nathan Deal. In July, O'Leary made another proposal in front of the Gwinnett Village CID board, and he told Norcross Patch that the lottery board still hadn't done anything.

The AJC reports that there is still no sign from the board to approve the VLTs.

Chuck Warbington, the executive director for the Gwinnett Village CID, said in the December CID board meeting that any government decision may not be seen until 2014 or 2015, when the HOPE scholarship is expected to take a deeper hit.

"There's nothing, unless there's a new revenue source, that can take care of that," said Warbington.

Another setback is the fact that many Georgians still are thought to be against having a gambling facility in the state.

However, that perception may have changed. On the July ballot for registered Republicans, a non-binding question was presented to voters, "Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?" The response was 50.2 percent in favor while 49.7 percent said no.

O'Leary didn't expect the votes to go in his favor since he believed the question's wording was flawed.

"The people have spoken," he said in a press release. "They reject government solutions that simply raise taxes to fund their operations. It’s time to think creatively about solutions."

What do you think of this setback for the gambling complex? Tell us in the comments.

~ Norcross Patch

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