At Issue: Should Georgia voters decide on casino gambling?

As the state gears up for the next Legislative session, lobbyists are putting together game plans to get their cause noticed. Once again, casino gambling has many supporters.

The gaming industry has spent the past few legislative sessions working to pass a bill that would let Georgians decide whether casinos should be allowed in the state. Polls have shown that voters like the idea.

And even if 2018 isn’t the year that gambling makes the cut, casino developers have vowed to stay in the fight for the long haul. It appears that they’ll wear down those in power or wait them out. Currently Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston have voiced opposition.

Backers of casino gambling say it could create thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the state economy as well as fund state education programs such as HOPE scholarships and grants and pre-k.

Many faith-based groups and conservative leaders oppose it mainly on moral grounds. They’ve expressed concerns about crime, gambling addiction and the effects the industry may have on the general quality of life in the state.

“Georgia is just too good a state to need casinos,” Virginia Galloway, a lobbyist for the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Georgia told the AJC in a report.

What do you think?

Should Georgia join the 18 other states that have commercial casinos? Or should the citizens of the state and not just the legislators have a voice in the decision?

Send replies to Comments may be edited for length and/or clarity and may be published in print and/or on digital platforms.


Gwinnett County Commissioners recently approved a comprehensive transportation plan that includes potential short-, medium-, and long-term projects that will be funded through the county’s SPLOST program.

Future projects include the widening of I-85 from Pleasant Hill Road to the DeKalb County line, widening of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard from Holcomb Bridge Road to I-285, and the widening of Ga. 20 from Buford Highway to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, to name just a few.

Gwinnett drivers will soon learn the results of an additional countywide mass transit survey. Depending on the results, it is very likely voters will face a referendum next fall to determine if they are willing to pay more taxes to develop mass transit options. We asked readers how, if approved, where and how should the money be spent?

After 15 years of commuting to midtown, I'm convinced that the only thing that makes any sense is to extend MARTA by heavy rail or light rail to Gwinnett Place Mall. — Chet McQuaide

Options are a good thing. Having the option to take transit (bus, train, bus-rapid transit, etc) makes life better for all of us. Even if transit would not benefit you directly, think of the benefit of others using it and no longer being on the road. Transit removes vehicles from the road. The more extensive the transit options, the more people will use it and the more vehicles will be removed from the roads. — James Lollis

Fair to say that within 15 years autonomous vehicles will be commonplace. Once fully adopted, which is inevitable, commute times will fall, as will the need for government funded mass transit. Enormous increases in utilization of existing roads, and large reductions in fuel usage and lost time commuting. Of course, decision makers seem to be clueless about the impact, and continue to envision and fund the same old 'solutions' - most of which will come to fruition just in time to be obsolete. — Randall Tart

Recent news is 70,000 people move to metro Atlanta annually. It's impossible to ever be free of congestion until we have flying cars! An outer perimeter was proposed years ago that would have bypassed Atlanta like Macon has but communities were very opposed. I just don't understand how new construction can continue with empty strip malls, even developers/builders not completing subdivisions but so little transportation improvement is considered or implemented timely before the influx of population. — Cindy Lacy

No to mass transit in Gwinnett! — Joyce Newman

A plan that has credibility and data to support whatever outcome is expected. Widening 85 seems logical, but research often shows that adding another lane to an already wide thoroughfare does nothing for congestion. — Greta Kilmer

Rail connectivity to MARTA! — James Lollis

Gwinnett has got to connect to MARTA. One idea I've had is the county builds it's own light rail that connects all the cities in the county. Then link into MARTA at the Doraville station or a new station farther into Gwinnett. Adding more lanes won't solve the problem. — L. Magill

MARTA is an ideal solution for people who work near the train terminals and especially for those who work at the airport or travel for business. Not having it is ridiculous! — Stephen L.

[Widening]… so more cars can get on the roads and cause more traffic congestion! That sounds like a lot of destruction as well as construction and a lot more headaches and traffic back ups while the work is going on. Siting in my car with a couple thousand more people going no where every weekday morning and night might've been a good plan in the 1970s, but not today and not for the future (read the business section article on electric cars and the coming changes in transportation…) — Nancy-Gay Rowland

ENCOURAGE businesses to allow their employees to work from home, possibly by granting incentives to companies that do so. — R. McConnell

Extend MARTA a little farther out. A lot of us work downtown or midtown. It takes me 30 minutes to get to the Doraville station in the am and 40 minutes to get home. It's ridiculous seeing as how I'm only 9 miles from the station. — Amanda Z.

Have you seen all the empty Gwinnett buses driving around? No mass transit, please. Waste of money. — C. Marczak

It's not about more buses. It's about trains. That's the solution people are asking for to get to work. — L. Magill

Extend MARTA to Duluth. I have commuted to midtown for several years, on and off and it is getting worse. — Minh Tu

Karen Huppertz for the AJC