Major Casino Operators Form Coalition in Georgia
Some big-name players from the casino world are coming together to see casino gaming come to the southern state of Georgia.
Lawmakers have been trying to bring casino gaming to Georgia for years. The conservative state has shot down every effort, which leaves the state lagging behind a few of its neighbors. Now, we are seeing major casino gaming companies banding together to create a coalition in the hopes that they can persuade lawmakers to finally push a bill through to legalize the option.
The Who’s Who of the Casino Industry
Several top companies in the gaming industry are taking part in the coalition. Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock, and Wynn Resorts are part of the group. The political action committee reportedly also includes Foxwoods Resort Casino, Penn National Gaming, and Bally’s.
The state of Georgia has seen effort after effort to bring casinos to the state, but lawmakers cannot seem to agree enough on particular subjects to legalize any laws proposed. Georgia is an attractive, untapped market due to tis population. There are more than 10 million people living there are the moment and the state continues to grow.
The state also has a very busy airport at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and is a hot spot for vacationers, from Atlanta to Savannah and places in-between. At the Atlanta airport, over 100 million people travel into the region on a yearly basis, pre-COVID of course.
Georgia would fare well with casino gaming as well as sports betting. The state is home to MLB’s Atlanta Braves, the Falcons of the NFL, and the Hawks in the NBA. The state also has popular college teams like the Georgia Bulldogs.
Speedway Motorsports is the owner of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a spot for NASCAR races. The owner would like to create a casino to the state. Speedway has already teamed up with Foxwoods to invest $1 billion on a new development. If gaming is legalized in the state, the area would be home to a new hotel with 700 guest rooms, a large casino and convention center, concert venue and more.
The new development would bring new revenues to the state and help to boost the already bustling tourism industry. More similar developments would also be proposed by major companies if gaming were to be legalized in the future.
For now, efforts will cease until next year as the 2021 legislative session has come to an end back in March. This gives the coalition several months to formulate a plan to try and convince lawmakers to approve legislation. Republican lawmakers need to be approached and shown the positive side to gambling if any movement is going to be seen via legislation.
Georgia is a very religious state with conservative values. It will take some heavy convincing to get enough republicans on the same side as the democrats to bring casino gaming to Georgia. What might help is the fact that many neighboring states in the south are pushing ahead with gambling services.
Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, and Arkansas are among the growing list of states that has already passed gambling legislation. After seeing what others are doing, lawmakers may be more open to the option in Georgia in the future.
Casino companies are already looking at locations and figuring out which regions of the state would do well with gambling services. It has been estimated that just the construction portion of the process would bring in $5 billion to the state along with 50,000 new employment positions.
It will be interesting to see how the casino companies progress and what they plan to do to try and get lawmakers to see things their way.