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Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:59am

Long Odds For Gambling Proposal

A legislative proposal to allow video lottery terminals at Jekyll Island and other tourist destinations appears to be dead for the year.

At least, it won't get Governor Nathan Deal's signature.

Deal and the island's top officials all oppose the measure, which was made by Republican State Representative Ron Stephens of Savannah.

Stephens wants to expand gambling legalized gambling to raise money for the HOPE Scholarship.

But Deal announced his own plan this fix HOPE this week and it did not include casino-like lottery terminals.

"I don't support any of those," he said. "I think what our challenge here is to make the program that has been successful in the past continue to be supported."

The chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority Board also voiced his opposition, echoed by the agency's spokesman.

"Jekyll Island is primarily and wants to be a preferred destination for families," said Eric Garvey, the spokesman.

The Jekyll Island officials said that gambling would degrade the island's character.

The gambling proposal also could have included other tourist destinations, such as Lake Lanier and Savannah.