Georgia lawmakers hear input on casino gambling

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HAMPTON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Ahead of Georgia’s 2020 legislative session, voters expressed their concerns on expanding gambling in the state.

The Atlanta Motor Speedway presented drafts for a casino resort. On Thursday, the racetrack hosted a public forum to hear the thoughts of lawmakers and voters.

Middle Georgia lawmakers say they’re working hard to get gambling on the ballot in May.

The issue of expanding gambling in Georgia has voters split.

The voter split

Atlanta Motor Speedway plans to add a casino resort to the racetrack. The draft includes water parks, a concert venue, and a night club.

Milledgeville Representative Rick Williams is not a gambler. However, with a potential $1 billion for the state’s treasury, he questions “how can you not be in favor of casinos?”

Both Representative Dale Washburn and Williams agree that revenue should go towards healthcare.

“I believe healthcare continues to be a big need for us. It is something we should consider,” Washburn said.

Voters like Juan aren’t against gambling resorts. However, he has concerns about the impact a resort will have on racing.

“[With] events running casinos, water parks, and tourists running 24/7 — how’s that going to impact the driver events going on here?” Juan asked.

Those voters working in construction and hospitality are excited about employment opportunities.

“There’s no jobs here to fit what I do and knowing that there’s an opportunity here to have a job here, it’ll help fix my transportation issue,” another voter said.

Before lawmakers vote to put gambling on May’s ballot, they need to vote to amend the constitution.

The 2020 legislative session begins Monday.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.