Legalizing Georgia gambling, what do residents say?

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:20 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - “A referendum, a state referendum that would allow our citizens in Georgia to vote as to whether or not they would like gaming in the state of Georgia,” says Columbus businessman Robert Wright. This is video from a council meeting back in 2017. Businessman Bob Wright addressing the Columbus city council pushing for legislation that could allow the fountain city to attract a casino in south Columbus.

Today, the issue under the gold dome is over sports betting in the state. But, if sports betting passes how will that impact other forms of gambling like casinos? A recent poll by All-In Georgia says 85% of Georgians say let voters decide. Columbus residents we spoke with agree. “I think people should get the chance to vote it’s their state and their say,” says a local resident.

“Since we have a lottery, we should be able to have a casino, as well as the sports betting, because it’s no reason why we should deprive our citizens of that,” says a local resident. While sports betting has come up every year to the floor, right now two bills are up for debate on the issue.

One, would legalize mobile sports betting, the other would give a retail betting option. But for residents of Columbus there were strong views on having a physical casino built in the fountain city. “We don’t really have too much here, so I guess that will excite a lot of people and bring entertainment to the city.” says a local resident. “If people want to go to the casinos bad enough and go to another state, they will give another state and give the revenue there,” says a local resident.

“If it were a casino here, it could bring a lot of people from Alabama and other places, especially with all the different events that take place in Columbus, I think it will be good for the economy,” says a local resident. It’s unclear how soon any gambling bill could come up for a vote, but for some people they tell us whether it passes or fails, “You are not going to stop gambling. Period,” says a local resident.