First meetings set to study legalized casino gambling in Georgia

Efforts to legalize casino gambling will get a closer look in September, when state lawmakers will meet for the first time since MGM Resorts International went public with its push to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Georgia.

A legislative study committee has now announced the dates and times for its first two meetings. They’ll be held back-to-back next month at the state Capitol complex in Atlanta:

  • Sept. 14, 1-4:30 p.m. in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.
  • Sept. 15, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in the same location.

What’s officially known as the state Senate Preservation of the HOPE Scholarship Program Study Committee is hosting the meetings, and is additionally charged with considering whether to legalize gambling on horse racing.

The committee’s report is due by Dec. 1, and is expected to also explore social and economic issues related to gambling.

Any gambling expansion in Georgia would be expected to boost revenue for popular education programs across the state, including early childhood pre-k programs and the HOPE college scholarship program, which has helped thousands of Georgians pay for college.