Developers of a proposed gambling resort in Gwinnett County announced Thursday that Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker plans to open a sports bar and restaurant at the complex if it gets the OK of state and local officials.
Walker, the Georgia Bulldogs icon, is the biggest name yet attached to the proposed $500 million resort, which thus far has not received the backing of Gov. Nathan Deal or the Georgia Lottery board.
Walker in a news release said as a father and businessman as well as someone born and raised in Georgia, “I want to combine my entrepreneurial focus with my desire to sustain the HOPE scholarship and help Georgia students go to college.”
Developer Dan O’Leary and a Delaware casino company with Atlanta ties have proposed a resort with 1,500 hotel rooms, a theater and other amenities for the OFS industrial site near Norcross.
Backers say the complex and its thousands of video lottery terminals could generate $350 million per year for the struggling HOPE scholarship and pre-k programs, which depend on lottery revenue that has not kept pace with demand. They also say the lottery board has the authority to authorize such gambling.
Lottery Board Chairman Jimmy Braswell, who was appointed by the governor, has called such gambling a public policy issue that would need political support. Deal has said he opposes an expansion of gambling in the state.
The restaurant and sports bar will feature Southern-style cooking and memorabilia from Walker's UGA and professional football playing days, according to the release.
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