The State of Georgia is facing a budget shortfall for fiscal 2009 of over $2 Billion. And states do not have the true luxury of running deficit spending, and printing up paper money to cover the shortfall. State budgets must be balanced each year. So, Georgia needs to give serious consideration to a brand new revenue stream.
State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) has announced his intention to introduce a bill in the 2009 legislative session to allow voters to choose if they desire gaming in Georgia. His bill would allow voters of each Georgia county to choose if they wanted gaming inside their county. The Georgia Assembly and recent governors have already been cool to the thought of casinos in Georgia. But the legislature never allowed any gaming proposal to be voted on in a broad referendum or any other popular vote.안전놀이터
The big question is: Should gambling be produced legal in the state of Georgia?
Answer Number One: In a free society, individuals are free to make use of their income and assets whichever way they choose. There must be no moral, ethical, as well as Biblical sanction against gambling. Some individuals think that gambling is just a sin, but a sin should not be produced illegal when it doesn’t initiate force or fraud against another individual. Said another way, if I personally use my money to gamble with, it’s my business.
Answer Number Two: The State legislators have already settled any moral trepidations they might have ever had over gambling. It has already been legal in Georgia in one form. Fifteen years back, lottery gambling became legal in Georgia, and up to now, has generated over $15 Billion in tax revenue. Sales for fiscal year 2008 climbed to a record-breaking $3.5 billion, exceeding the revenue generated during fiscal year 2007. So, the State of Georgia was already in the gaming business for over 15 years. Casino gambling is just another type of gambling. However, with casino gambling, the state won’t have the monopoly, but private enterprise will own and operate the casinos.
With a 15-year history of successful gaming under its belt, it will be pretty hard for the Georgia General Assembly to refuse casino gambling without exhibiting massive hypocrisy. But massive hypocrisy hasn’t stopped them in the past.
But, think about other states where gaming is legal? What’s their experience been?
To find out, I visited the web site of the American Gaming Association in Washington, DC.
In Nevada, the granddaddy of them all, where gaming began in 1931, tax revenues from gaming have already been a large the main state budget. In 2006, Nevada gaming had 201,000 employees and tax revenues were $1.034 Billion. Nevada’s budget for 2009 is defined at $6 Billion, so gaming revenue comprises about 17% of this state’s total income each year.
Mississippi legalized gaming in 1990, passed by legislation and local option vote. You can find 30,500 gaming employees, and tax revenue for 2006 was $350.44 Million.
Louisiana legalized gambling in 1993, passed by legislation and local option vote. Tax revenue a year ago was $559 million, another $68 million from racetrack casinos, with 20,300 gaming employees.
Michigan legalized gambling in 1996 by statewide referendum, local option vote and legislation. Michigan has 3 casinos that generated 2006 tax revenue of $365 million.
So we see here that other states have long histories of success with casino gambling.
Casino gambling will be a welcome addition to the convention business in Atlanta and other Georgia cities. Las Vegas has been stealing away convention business for a long time now using their gaming and entertainment attractions. The Georgia hospitality and restaurant industries would also get an infusion of business because they support gaming tourism.
Atlanta has another competitive advantage as a gambling destination…Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the busiest airport in the world. It’s been said that you can’t even reach heaven without connecting through Atlanta. Our presence as a Southern regional transportation hub makes Atlanta an easy gaming destination for both thirds of the population of the US that lives east of the Mississippi River.
Casino gambling could be a valuable addition to the economy of Georgia. I am hoping that the Georgia General Assembly will get its courage and conscience and votes in support of casino gambling in the 2009 Legislative Session.
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