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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.