Georgia Casino bill dead for 2017

Legislation that would have allowed casino gambling in Georgia is dead for the year, the bill’s sponsor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said he does not have the votes to get Senate Bill 79 out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

“I am not discouraged,” Beach said. “I will double down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April” to build support for the bill in 2018.

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Beach said he will visit local Rotary clubs, speak with education leaders, hospital administrators and anyone else who will listen to garner public backing.

Beach worked for months to craft a plan that could appease all factions. His original plan called for up to six casinos and a horse racing track across the state.

He eventually pared that down to no more than two "destination resort” casinos with proceeds from a 20 percent tax going to a host of interests, from HOPE scholarships, to needs-based college grants, rural trauma care and rural hospitals, to broadband Internet infrastructure to law enforcement raises.

In the end, no matter how he tried to divvy up the spoils, Beach could not pull the support he needed to get it out of committee.

"You can tell everyone, like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, '"I'll be back,'" Beach said.