The State of Georgia is facing a budget shortfall for fiscal 2009 of over $2 Billion. And states do not have the blissful luxury of running deficit spending, and printing up paper money to cover the shortfall. State budgets should be balanced each year. So, Georgia needs to offer serious consideration to a new revenue stream.
State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) has announced his intention to introduce a bill in the 2009 legislative session to permit voters to choose if they need gaming in Georgia. His bill allows voters of each Georgia county to choose if they wanted gaming in their county. The Georgia Assembly and recent governors have now been cool to the thought of casinos in Georgia. Nevertheless the legislature has never allowed any gaming proposal to be voted on in an over-all referendum or any other popular vote.안전놀이터
The big question is: Should gambling be manufactured legal in their state of Georgia?
Answer Number One: In a totally free society, individuals are free to utilize their income and assets whichever way they choose. There must be no moral, ethical, or even Biblical sanction against gambling. Many people feel that gambling is a sin, but a sin should not be manufactured illegal when it does not initiate force or fraud against another individual. Said another way, if I take advantage of my money to gamble with, it’s my business.
Answer Number Two: The State legislators have previously settled any moral trepidations they might have ever had over gambling. It is already legal here in Georgia in a single form. Fifteen years ago, 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 form of gambling. However, with casino gambling, their 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 probably be pretty hard for the Georgia General Assembly to refuse casino gambling without exhibiting massive hypocrisy. But massive hypocrisy has not stopped them in the past.
But, how about other states where gaming is legal? What’s their experience been?
To discover, I went to the website of the American Gaming Association in Washington, DC.
In Nevada, the granddaddy of all of them, where gaming began in 1931, tax revenues from gaming have now been a large area of the 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 that 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 this past year 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 would be a welcome addition to the convention business in Atlanta and other Georgia cities. Las Vegas has been stealing away convention business for years now using their gaming and entertainment attractions. The Georgia hospitality and restaurant industries would also get an infusion of business while they support gaming tourism.
Atlanta has another competitive advantage as a gaming 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 a straightforward gaming destination for both thirds of the people of the US that lives east of the Mississippi River.
Casino gambling could be a valuable addition to the economy of Georgia. I really hope that the Georgia General Assembly can find its courage and conscience and votes and only casino gambling in the 2009 Legislative Session.
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