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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 1:28pm

All Bets Are Off Horse Racing This Year

Gambling on horse racing won’t be on the ballot this November.

A State House Committee tabled the bill Wednesday.

Supporters are betting that the controversial legislation to legalize horse gambling will be brought to life next year—with a fighting chance to become law.

The enabling legislation would have designated part of the proceeds from racetracks to help fund the HOPE Scholarship.

The bill would not specifically allow other forms of gambling, such as casinos, but some experts say a track can’t survive financially without slot machines and poker.

The bill’s author, Representative Harry Geisinger, of Roswell says he plans to revive the bill in next year’s session:

“It would be a very healthy, clean, green industry, all you have to do is drive through Kentucky and take a look at it, it’s just magnificent. Good for the people of Georgia, good for the farmers, and good for the people in the urban and suburban areas.”

While supporters see horse betting as a huge revenue stream for the state, economist and Georgia State professor, Dr. Bruce Seaman says, the glamour of big horse races like the Kentucky Derby doesn’t qualify the industry as a cash cow for Georgia:

“Most of the population pauses briefly to take note of a 3 minute race, people locally are running around in their finest attire, but come on, this is not going to be a gigantic job generator or GDP growth generator or tax revenue generator, I just don’t see it.”

Despite revenue shortfalls, Governor Nathan Deal has repeatedly said that there will not be an expansion of gambling under his watch.

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