Casinos Up For Debate in Georgia in January

ATLANTA (AP) – The start of Georgia’s legislative session is weeks away, but supporters and opponents of a proposal to allow casinos in the state already are battling for lawmakers’ attention.

A study committee met three times this summer to hear testimony about the issue. Chairman Rep. Matt Ramsey says a final report will sum up testimony rather than make recommendations.

At least 20 lobbyists are registered on behalf of three gambling companies, while the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition is sending critical mailers to voters in several study committee members’ districts.

Supporters argue casinos could be taxed to provide funding for Georgia’s merit-based HOPE scholarship program. They say Georgians already travel to casinos in neighboring states. Opponents say lawmakers should consider other options.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 11.

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