Georgia, well-known as one of the strictest US states when it comes to gambling, may be changing its tune. The news is coming out that lawmakers in the state are looking more into this valuable industry. Could gambling come to Georgia sooner than anyone expected?
There’s certainly reason to believe so. The State Senate has routinely shut down any attempts to open the gaming industry, yet things appear to be taking a turn. Let’s take a quick look at why some people believe Georgia may be the next state to liberalize its gambling market.
There’s a good reason why many people call Georgia the “least gambling-friendly state.” The first set of laws to curb gambling activities here came in 1878. These laws prohibited the sale of lottery tickets.
Things only got worse from here. The state constitution began evolving to ban nearly all forms of gambling. Casino gambling, in particular, is strictly prohibited throughout the state. Section 16-12-21 clearly states:
“A person commits the offense of gambling when he:
(1) Makes a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game or contest;
(2) Makes a bet upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
(3) Plays and bets for money or other things of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.
(b) A person who commits the offense of gambling shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
These rules outright ban any form of gambling. Anyone here wishing to play casino games will need to make the trip over to nearby states such as Florida.
Not all the state’s officials are against gambling expansion. Senator David Branch recently sponsored a bill to allow horse betting in Georgia. For the first time, the Senate panel approved these plans. For a brief moment, gambling fans here had something to look forward to.
Things have since stalled. The Senate couldn’t come to an agreement on the bill’s terms. It was a tough blow for Senator Branch and others that see the massive potential for revenue earnings through gambling.
There are a few reasons to be excited, though.
While the State Senate didn’t approve the horse racing plans, they did the next best thing. This Senate has agreed to House Resolution 367. Eleven panel-members of the Senate will soon meet to discuss the pros and cons of legalized gambling operations.
This meeting takes place this summer. Hope is that Senator Branch will be able to present valid arguments for the regulation of the gambling industry. Branch is optimistic the meeting will prove successful.
“By having the right people around the table and learning and being educated on the issue, I think we’ll make progress next year,” he said in an official statement.
He claims that opening horse racing and casino gambling will create thousands of jobs and bring in millions of dollars in revenue every year.
Could gambling come to Georgia by the end of 2019? Very unlikely. This meeting shows that officials are, at the very least, willing to hear some differing opinions.
Let us know if you think Georgia legalizes horse racing soon in the comment section below!
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