State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, has continued to make changes to Senate Bill 79, which would allow casino gambling in Georgia. The bill now calls for up to two casinos, one that could be built in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton or Gwinnett counties, and one in a county with a population of more than 180,000. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Casino bill to see first vote; constitutional amendment filed in Senate 

After months of talk and enough rewrites to paper a blackjack table, Georgia’s casino bill is coming to a committee vote near you next week. 

Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said Friday that his Senate Bill 79

will see its first vote in committee on Thursday. Also, Beach on Friday introduced Senate Resolution 249, the proposed amendment to the state Constitution legalizing casinos. This latest version of SB 79:

This latest version: 

  • Would license up to two “destination resort” casinos in Georgia. One in either Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett or Clayton counties and one outside that region. The second casino, however, would have to be located within 30 miles of a major convention center.
  • Would levy a tax of 20 percent on casino proceeds. 
  • Would send 30 percent of those tax revenues to the HOPE scholarship program, 30 percent to a needs-based college scholarship, 15 percent to help provide rural healthcare, and 15 percent to help provide rural trauma care. The remaining 10 percent is still being negotiated, Beach said. 

The bill will face the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Thursday.  

If the bill passes committee, Beach believes he has the 29 votes necessary to pass the full Senate.  

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will again have Georgia’s largest team covering the Legislature. Get complete daily coverage during the legislative session at myAJC.com/georgialegislature.

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