The state of Georgia faces a budget deficit for the financial year 2009 of over $ 2 billion. And the states do not have the luxury to drive deficit expenses and print paper money to cover the deficit. Government budgets have to be balanced each year. So Georgia must take serious consideration of a new income stream.
State Secretary Roger Bruce D Atlanta has announced that he intends to introduce a bill in the legislative period 2009 to allow voters to decide if they want to play in Georgia. His proposition would allow voters of each Georgia County to decide if they wanted to play in their county. Georgias Assembly and the recent governors have been calling on the idea of casinos in Georgia. But the legislator has never allowed any spell to be voted on in a public referendum or any other popular vote.
The big question is. If gaming is to be done legally in the state of Georgia?
Answer number one. In a free society individuals are free to use their income and assets depending on the way they choose. There should be no moral ethical or even biblical sanction against games. Some think gaming is a shame but a sin should not be illegal when it does not initiate violence or fraud against another individual. Put another way if I use my money to play with its my business.
Answer number two. Government legislators have already decided some moral behaviors they have ever had over games. Its already legal here in Georgia in a form. Fifteen years ago lottery games in Georgia became legal and hitherto generated over $ 15 billion in tax revenues. Sales for the 2008 fiscal year climbed to record $ 3.5 billion which exceeded revenue generated during fiscal year 2007. Thus Georgia has already been in the gaming industry for over 15 years. Casino games are simply another form of game. But with casino games the state will not have the monopoly but the private company will own and run casinos.
With a 15 year history of successful games under its belt it will be quite difficult for the Georgia General Assembly to refuse casino games without showing massive hypocrisy. But massive hypocrisy has not stopped them before.
But what about other states where games are legal? What has their experience been like?
To find out I went to the American Gaming Association website in Washington DC.
In Nevada public service daughter in which games began in 1931 tax revenue from gaming has been a major part of the state budget. In 2006 Nevada had 201000 employees and tax revenue was $ 1034 billion. Nevadas 2009 budget is $ 6 billion so gaming revenue covers about 17% of the states total income each year.
Mississippi legalized game 1990 approved by law and local voting. There are 30 500 gaming employees and tax revenues for 2006 were $ 350.44 million.
Louisiana legalized games in 1993 through legislation and local voting. Tax revenues last year amounted to $ 559 million another $ 68 million from racetrack casinos with 20 300 players.
Michigan legalized games in 1996 through statewide referendum local voting and legislation. Michigan has 3 casinos that generated 2006 tax revenues of $ 365 million.
So here we see that other states have long stories of success with casino games.
Casino games would be a welcome addition to conference activities in Atlanta and other Georgia cities. Las Vegas has stolen away congress stores for several years with its gaming and entertainment attractions. Georgia hospitality and restaurant industries would also get an infusion of companies as they support game tourism.
Atlanta has another competitive advantage as a game goal. Hartsfield Jackson Airport the liveliest airport in the world. It has been said that you can not even get to heaven without connecting via Atlanta. Our presence as a Southern Regional Transport Center makes Atlanta an easy game target for the two thirds of the United States population living east of Mississippi.
Casino games can be a valuable addition to Georgias economy. I hope the Georgia General Assembly can find its courage and conscience and voices for casino games in the 2009 legislative session.
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