Senators take first look at casino gambling legislation

ATLANTA (AP) — Changes to a bill allowing casino gambling in Georgia hasn’t softened all opposition to the idea.

Dozens of people packed a meeting of the Senate Regulated Industries committee on Thursday. The proposal from Alpharetta Republican Sen. Brandon Beach would allow two resorts that offer gambling. The first requires a $2 billion investment in the counties surrounding Atlanta and the second requires a $450 million investment in another area. Taxes on gambling would support college scholarships along with rural hospital grants, a change from Beach’s original bill.

But representatives for a Baptist organization warned lawmakers of gambling’s “moral” effects while other speakers worry about the effect on existing businesses.

Senators didn’t vote Thursday on the bill. Committee chair Sen. Rick Jeffares says they’ll hear from more people at an upcoming meeting.

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