There is little debate from anyone whether gambling will increase our state’s revenue and create more jobs. As a result, it’s always a topic down at the capitol. Apparently, the horse racing bill that gets introduced and batted down every year has a bit more steam behind it this year.
Senator Brandon Beach presented an economically positive view of what horse racing could bring to our state. The results would be between 4,000 to 6,000 jobs and 31,000 academic scholarships added to HOPE. The Georgia Baptist Convention opposed this bill under the logic that opening up gambling will lead to casinos in our state.
Well, yeah, it will. If Atlanta opens up horse racing and becomes a gambling tourist destination, the people and accompanying lobbyists will clamor for more. It’s estimated that 87% of the horse racing revenues will come from out of state, which means that tourists will finally have a reason to come to Atlanta (in addition, of course, to the College Football Hall of Fame!). Gambling will be a net positive on our city. Additional revenues for the city allow more dollars to hire additional police, fire fighters, road construction crews, and other necessary expenses to keep our state running. In addition, Atlanta would be the largest city in the South with legalized gambling. Our ease of access via airports and the highways combined with our large economy makes us a great candidate for horse racing and casinos.
I propose that we set up some casinos in Underground Atlanta. Let’s face it, that place sucks. It was initially designed as a tourist trap and has so far failed in every measurable manner. Casinos would transform that area from a fairly stagnant blight on downtown into an economic hub for our town. Plus, the law students over at Georgia State could use slots as stress relievers every once in a while.
The beauty of this is that private investors will finance these projects without any state funding. Gambling is so profitable that all our state has to do is legalize is and then point to where it wants the investors to build their gaudy casinos. The rest will take care of itself.