Georgia lawmakers have approved an overhaul of who regulates video poker and similar coin-operated machines in the state, and opened the door for some proceeds to be directed to the HOPE scholarship program.
A bill that would allow the state to get a better handle on video poker machines moved one step closer to becoming law Thursday. The vote followed a spirited three-hour debate in the state Senate that revealed ambivalence about permitting the machines in Georgia.
The State Senate is expected to vote on a measure Thursday that would allow the state to regulate video poker machines that award non-cash prizes. The bill's backers want to crack down on what they say are the machines' under-the-table payouts.
A developer's attempt to build a gambling complex in Norcross has suffered a setback. Developer Dan O'Leary said he no longer controls the Norcross property where he proposed building Georgia's first gambling complex.
The Georgia Lottery started offering online ticket sales for some games on Sunday, a cultural shift in a state where leaders have long opposed expanding gambling. Experts say it’s hard for states to turn away the potential new revenue and resistance to gambling is getting weaker.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said at a debate with his Republican primary challenger Wednesday night that he supports letting the free market decide if gambling should be allowed in Georgia. He said he will vote “yes” to support casino gambling in Georgia on a nonbinding ballot question later this month.
A Georgia developer is planning to pitch his proposed $1 billion gambling complex to the Georgia Lottery Board. Developer Dan O'Leary is set to present the project on Thursday before the seven-member board. He describes it as an "initial introduction," and it could be the first time the board weighs in on the proposal.