Atlanta boosters to study impact of $1 billion casino

The possibility of a $1 billion casino in downtown Atlanta has prompted an influential city booster group to pursue a study of how local businesses may be impacted.

Central Atlanta Progress has told potential consultants to apply by Dec. 10 for the project, which it hopes to complete before March 15.

According to a draft proposal from the group obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it said the effort “is intended to educate the business community and policy makers and inform policy decision as to what it would take to realize such a gaming attraction and what the ultimate impacts, both positive and negative might be.”

State lawmakers are already exploring whether to expand gambling in Georgia, with state House and Senate study committees due to issue recommendations next month.

A legislative proposal now on the table calls for up to six “destination” casino resort licenses that would be allowed across five geographic zones in Georgia: Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and South Georgia.

The proposal sets aside two licenses for a broadly defined metro Atlanta zone, although one would be more limited than the other. The minimum private investment required to win a license: $1 billion for the primary Atlanta license and $200 million for each of the others.

Companies publicly embracing the concept particularly in Atlanta have included MGM Resorts International. MGM CEO and President Jim Murren testified earlier this year the city could “easily” support a proposed $1 billion investment by the company.

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