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Georgia casino is a bad gamble

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Notice to all middle-aged, middle-class women looking for a little excitement! North Georgia real estate developer Greg O’Leary is riding to your rescue with a proposal to expand Georgia gambling. Mr. O’Leary, according to reports, has been working on a proposal for eight years to build a casino along the interstate in Norcross.

Mr. O’Leary is not calling his development a casino, because that word has too many negative connotations. He wants to build a 24-story hotel with restaurants and a “gaming room” that would contain 7,500 slot machines, except that we wouldn’t want to call them slot machines, either. The updated description of these electronic robbers is “video lottery machines.” I’m sure there’s also a phrase out there that will allow us to avoid using the distasteful word “gamble,” too.

Actually, we’ve already pretty much arrived there. Our Georgia Lottery Board begs citizens to purchase lottery tickets by promising suckers that such purchases are the most fun a person can ever have. But Georgians are apparently tapped out on this fun, because lottery gambling isn’t packing the wallop it once was.

That brings us back to our bored, middle-class women. Developer O’Leary plans for this casino (oops, resort) to be operated by businessmen/gamblers operating a somewhat similar gambling set-up in Dover, Del. Here’s how Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor pitches the plan (as cited by Greg Bluestein in the Gwinnett Daily Post of March 4, 2012): “We’re not going after the dregs. We’re not trying to cash someone’s welfare check. We have a safe, clean and fun facility. Think about what’s important to a 55-year-old female. Safety, cleanliness and service. And that’s what we try to focus on.”

RELATED STORIES

To see stories related to this project, visit:

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2012/mar/03/developer-looks-to-delaware-for-gambling-idea/

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2012/apr/19/lottery-board-support-gov-needed-proposed-gambling/

Well, it’s certainly a relief to know that we’ll be targeting the middle classes (in contrast with the current lottery?) with this new casino. No dregs; no welfare money. Just hilarious high-class gamblers sitting in a room with 7,500 other gamblers staring at electronic slot machines. How much more fun can a middle-class woman have? As Mr. Sutor tells it, we’re avoiding glitz and glamour altogether. “We’re not garish, neon or outrageous ... just classy and careful.”

Gussy it up any way you choose, add a sports bar and restaurant run by Herschel Walker, add a dress code if you want, maybe check tax returns at the door to screen the dregs, but no matter how you try to package it our state will expand it’s role of trying to sucker people into thinking that they’re doing something fun, all for the good of others.

I tried for months to learn how the state lottery commission spends the pittance that is set aside by law to address problem gambling. What a joke that small amount of conscience money is and how suspicious is the lottery board of anyone who asks questions. Get on line and you’ll find disconnected toll-free phone numbers to help our problem gamblers and websites full of useless information. Does our state provide real help for those ensnared by the addiction we encourage? Not a chance. And the odds are high it won’t get any better.

According to reporter Greg Bluestein, developer Dan O’Leary’s presentation to the Georgia Lottery Board last Thursday received an “icy reception.” That’s good news, but anybody who’s invested this much time and money for eight years isn’t going to quit so easily. Make your thoughts known to your elected officials and the state lottery board.

Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at creede@wesleymonumental.org.

Comments

FryarTuk 1 year, 12 months ago

My tribe sticks to bingo and lottery and we have a lot of fun with both. We enjoy seeing all the kids and families get help from early childhood to technical training and university degrees. Awesome!

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glennw 1 year, 11 months ago

Georgians of all financial means, ages, sexes, races, and religious denominations, are ALREADY legally gambling their hard-earned money EVERY DAY right here in Georgia; it's called the Lottery. Georgians that fit every category I listed above leave the State to go to casinos and dog/horse tracks out of state on a regular basis, taking revenues and tax dollars with them. The question, therefore, becomes, does the State of Georgia want to be able to keep those revenues in-house, allowing for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in salaries and tax revenues, or are we willing to just give our money and our jobs to other states?

At a time when our state leadership is spending millions of dollars wooing businesses to come to Georgia, including with tax incentives, begging them to build a factory that might, eventually hire 1,500 employees in a small town, and might, eventually, generate, several million dollars of revenues to the state in return, we have people offering, on their own, to spend billions of dollars in construction costs, hiring workers to build build buildings, and then to hire permanent employees, and then provide their share of the tax burden back into the state without any tax incentive. If a business opportunity comes to the state that offers to create thousands upon thousands of permanent jobs, keeps state money in state, and even has the ability to draw in billions of out of state money because people will come in state to participate in the revenue generating industry as well as their needed amenities (hotel accommodations, meals, etc.), and a vast majority of our citizens are already participating in this industry already, then it just makes logical sense to take advantage of it. In fact, as politicians; people who are being held accountable for the financial welfare of our state; I find that they have a fiduciary responsibility to do everything in their power to help create as many jobs as they can and generate as many tax revenues as they can without stressing the economy. In this case, our citizens are already gambling, so, obviously, there isn't any stress morally or ethically to the majority, so why the hold up?

We all know the answer - We have moral minority; people who are dictating their moral compass on the rest of us, and we're letting them get away with it. The really sad thing is they're a bunch of hypocrites because they're oftentimes first in line to buy those lottery and raffle tickets; or hop on junket planes to Mississippi or one of the Indian Reservations so they can go to one of the casinos. They make a quick drive across the border to Florida to the greyhound races to place their bets...

So now we have someone willing to "pony up" and start to build a semi-casino up in Metro-Atlanta. People can drive 2 hours from Atlanta to the Indian reservations and hit full casinos. Flip a coin. Oh wait; that's a gambling.

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glennw 1 year, 11 months ago

Georgians of all financial means, ages, sexes, races, and religious denominations, are ALREADY legally gambling their hard-earned money EVERY DAY right here in Georgia; it's called the Lottery. Georgians that fit every category I listed above leave the State to go to casinos and dog/horse tracks out of state on a regular basis, taking revenues and tax dollars with them. The question, therefore, becomes, does the State of Georgia want to be able to keep those revenues in-house, allowing for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in salaries and tax revenues, or are we willing to just give our money and our jobs to other states?

At a time when our state leadership is spending millions of dollars wooing businesses to come to Georgia, including with tax incentives, begging them to build a factory that might, eventually hire 1,500 employees in a small town, and might, eventually, generate, several million dollars of revenues to the state in return, we have people offering, on their own, to spend billions of dollars in construction costs, hiring workers to build buildings, and then to hire permanent employees, and then provide their share of the tax burden back into the state without any tax incentive. If a business opportunity comes to the state that offers to create thousands upon thousands of permanent jobs, keeps state money in state, and even has the ability to draw in billions of out of state money because people will come in state to participate in the revenue generating industry as well as their needed amenities (hotel accommodations, meals, etc.), and a vast majority of our citizens are already participating in this industry, then it just makes logical sense to take advantage of it. In fact, as politicians; people who are being held accountable for the financial welfare of our state; I find that they have a fiduciary responsibility to do everything in their power to help create as many jobs as they can and generate as many tax revenues as they can without stressing the economy. In this case, our citizens are already gambling, so, obviously, there isn't any stress morally or ethically to the majority, so why the hold up?

We all know the answer - We have moral minority; people who are dictating their moral compass on the rest of us, and we're letting them get away with it. The really sad thing is they're a bunch of hypocrites because they're oftentimes first in line to buy those lottery and raffle tickets; or hop on junket planes to Mississippi or one of the Indian Reservations so they can go to one of the casinos. They make a quick drive across the border to Florida to the greyhound races to place their bets...

So now we have someone willing to "pony up" and start to build a semi-casino up in Metro-Atlanta. People can drive 2 hours from Atlanta to the Indian reservations and hit full casinos. Flip a coin; which is really worse. Oh wait; that's a gambling.

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