As GA lawmakers push legalized gambling, Columbus pushes for casino

As GA lawmakers push legalized gambling, Columbus pushes for casino

Columbus, GA (WTVM) - State lawmakers in Georgia are negotiating a compromise to allow gambling state-wide, and open two resort casinos – one in Atlanta, and the other, perhaps in Columbus.

Local supporters have been backing different versions of this legislation currently being pushed in the Georgia State House.

If approved, the state would create a new gaming commission, similar to the one in Nevada. The commission, in turn, would issue a maximum of two licenses - one for Atlanta, a potential $2 billion investment.

The second, a $450 million investment, will go to one of three cities: Savannah, Augusta or the Fountain City.

Former city councilor and businessman Robert Wright has led group of advocates in favor of a casino built in South Columbus to revitalize the area.

Others in the city, like citizen Delaney McGaffic, are skeptical about the idea of building the casino resort in the south side of the city.

Wright has previously told News Leader 9 he wants South Columbus to become a part of the city's overall economy.

"Right now, it's not, and if we can bring 500 to 1,000 jobs, in South Columbus, to support that economy," Wright said, "that's what if for."

McGaffic, however, said she's unsure about that proposal.

"I think [South Columbus] still has a lot more improvement that it needs, so I'd be afraid that people would be afraid of the area, to go there right now, anyways," McGaffic said.

Lawmakers in Atlanta have publicly stated they are trying to make this bill more "palatable" to skeptics. One example is keeping gambling on horse racing illegal.

Another point included in this legislation, which supporters have highlighted to Columbus City Council, is that 70 percent of proceeds from gaming would, in theory, go toward the state's popular Hope Scholarship.

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