COLUMBUS, Ga. – Could casino gambling to Georgia and Columbus, in particular? City Council took a vote Tuesday night that would allow voters across the state to decide that issue.
Voters statewide would have to approve the constitutional amendment.
“Further, if any such constitutional amendment is adopted, this council requests a local referendum be established for approval of any such casino gaming in Muscogee County,” said City Attorney Clifton Fay.
City Council voted for the item 7 to 2.
They did not vote to approve a casino itself.
“They just voted to allow the people the right to vote on it and support the legislative delegation in the right. If it passes the state, then they want to have a local referendum, which I think is the right thing to do,” said Dr. Robert Wright.
He wants to bring a casino to south Columbus.
“South Columbus needs to be a part of Columbus and economically right now it’s not and it we can bring 500 to 1,000 jobs in South Columbus to support that economy, that’s what I’m for,” Wright said.
Norman Easterbrook with the Rivercenter has some concerns about a casino taking away from local restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues.
“Our main concern would be the effect on the entertainment industry, but right along with that there are other negative consequences that could inevitably happen here depending on the proximity of the casino to our community,” Easterbrook said.
Fay expects it to take it at least two to three years before Georgia voters have the chance to decide on casino gambling. The Georgia General Assembly’s Legislative Session resumes in January of next year.
Funding from casino gambling in Georgia would go toward the HOPE Scholarship, which is funded by the Georgia lottery.