Georgia Voters Strongly Favor Addition of Casino Gaming

Posted on: January 30, 2023, 07:07h. 

Last updated on: January 31, 2023, 03:10h.

In bipartisan fashion, Georgia voters overwhelmingly support the idea of the state adding casinos, and even more believe voters should decide on the matter.

Georgia casino
The Atlanta skyline, seen above. A poll suggests Georgia voters want casinos in their state. (Image: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A recent Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted via mobile phones queried 800 likely voters in the state. It found nearly two-thirds favor casinos coming to the state while discovering 85% of those surveyed believe voters, not the legislature, should decide the issue.

Casino gaming would be an enormous economic boost and job creator for our state,” said Dan McLagan, spokesman for All in Georgia, told the Georgia Sun. “Georgia should go big and up our game as an economic powerhouse, tourist destination and job creator.”

“All in Georgia” is the group that wanted the poll taken.

Georgia Voters Still Support Sports Betting

The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46%, also found the casino issue has bipartisan support. Some 73% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans in the state favor that form of casino expansion.

The Public Opinion Strategies surveyed also found lingering support among Georgia voters for regulated sports wagering, with 60% of those questioned saying they support the state adding sports betting. That’s in stark contrast to a recent poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which noted just 48% of those surveyed want sports betting to come to Georgia.

The state uses proceeds from its lottery to fund the HOPE scholarship program, and it’s believed that if sports wagering went live there, subsequent receipts could be used to shore up that educational plan.

In his first run for the state’s top office in 2018, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp was more overt in his opposition to gaming expansion. But recently, he’s been more standoffish on the issues, noting that if a constitutional amendment is passed, he wouldn’t stand in the way of it.

Speaking of Constitutional Amendment

While gaming-related bills in Georgia have a history of never seeing the light of day, this year could be different. Its possible voters will get their desired say on the matter.

Former Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton recently said the issue doesn’t require a constitutional amendment, potentially paving the way for easier passage.

That’s potentially good news because, under Georgia law, a two-thirds majority in the state House and Senate are required to move constitutional amendments forward.

Further momentum for casinos and/or sports wagering could emerge this year. That’s because owing to Georgia’s steadily increasing population, the HOPE scholarship program is contending with significant shortfalls. Potentially eyeing a 2024 run for the White House, Kemp would likely be strongly opposed to any tax increases. But new revenue sources are a different ballgame.