In 2017, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District sought to do just that and commissioned an independent study on the possible impacts of casino gaming in Georgia. The report focused on four key areas, including state-level impacts of casino gaming, governance and regulatory best practices, social and economic effects on local host communities, and impacts on real estate development surrounding a casino. Our study found that while Georgia has the potential to be a large gaming market — assuming thoughtful approaches to tax rates, licenses, and other regulatory levers — the revenue generated would be largely from locals, not tourists. Using past legislative proposals as a proxy, out-of-state visitors were estimated to make up less than 6% of revenue of a metro Atlanta casino. In addition, the study confirmed that communities can bear high costs – social, economic, infrastructure – in hosting a casino, and adequate funding mechanisms must be in place to mitigate such impacts. The full report can be downloaded from our website, www.atlantadowntown.com.
These are only a few examples of the myriad of issues the state needs to be contemplating. And while there is some thought that these, as well as other concerns, can be mitigated to some extent, voters cannot make an informed decision without an overall understanding of both the good and the bad of casino gaming.