ATLANTA (January 26, 2017) | Sen. Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta) today introduced Senate Bill 79, the Destination Resort Act, which would make the operation of two resort style casinos legal in Georgia. Rep. Ron Stephens (R – Savannah) also introduced House Bill 158, a companion bill to SB 79.
“Casino style gaming is a large tourism and revenue building market that Georgia is missing out on,” said Sen. Beach. “The two proposed destination resorts will not only bring tourism to our great state, they will bring more than 5,000 jobs and unparalleled capital that will go directly towards funding the HOPE Scholarship and other education programs in Georgia. This is a win-win situation and I’m eager to get the ball rolling on its passage.”
“My children earned a full ride to college with the HOPE Scholarship,” said Rep. Stephens. “I want my grandchildren to have the same opportunity and SB 79 gives them that chance.”
The Destination Resort Act creates the Georgia Gaming Commission, modeled after Nevada’s Gaming Commission, to be made up of five members appointed by the governor, lt. governor and speaker of the house. The commission will have the ability to award two destination resort licenses to qualified applicants and will be responsible for governing over the operation of such resorts.
One resort license must be utilized for operation in a county with a population over 900,000 with an investment of at least $2 billion, and it shall include a hotel with a minimum of 1,000 rooms. The other license must be for a county with a population of at least 250,000 but not more than 900,000, and an investment of at least $450 million.
The multiuse resorts will include restaurants, retail shops, hotels, limited gaming facilities, convention and meeting centers, entertainment facilities and service centers. They will be privately funded and no taxpayer money will be utilized during construction or operation. SB 79 would become effective on January 1, 2019 if a Constitutional Amendment is passed by the Georgia General Assembly and approved by the citizens of Georgia in the 2018 General Election.
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For Immediate Release:
January 26, 2016
For Information Contact:
Ines Owens, Acting Director
Brittany Wagner, Communications Specialist