Some movement this week in Georgia and Tennessee on proposed constitutional amendments to authorize full casino gaming. We break it down for you here:
HR 807 in Georgia
On Wednesday, Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) introduced HR 807, a House Resolution proposing an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to permit the General Assembly to authorize through legislation up to six casinos in the state.
The amendment would require a local public referendum approving the resort facilities. Additionally, the resort facilities would be spread throughout the state in five distinct licensing regions. Two license may be permitted in one region (Atlanta) with a “primary casino gaming license” and a “secondary casino license.”
The secondary license would be limited to 2,000 total gaming positions while primary licenses would have no restriction on total gaming positions.
State revenue derived from gaming will go to fund educational programs, support operational expenses associated with regulation of the casinos, to support problem gambling initiatives and to host municipalities of the casinos.
Rep. Stephens simultaneously filed HB 677, the proposed 127-page gaming legislation to be implemented upon approval of the constitutional amendment. HB 677 outlines the capital investment requirements for the “primary casino gaming licenses” in the various regions: $1 billion in Region One (Atlanta) and $200 million in Regions 2 through 5. License fees are proposed at $25 million for the primary license in Region One, $10 million for the secondary license in Region One and $10 million for the primary licenses in Regions 2 through 5. The facilities would be subject to a 12% tax on gross gaming revenue.
HJR 87 in Tennessee
The Tennessee State Government Subcommittee received House Joint Resolution 87 this week. This constitutional amendment would permit the Legislature to authorize casino gaming in Tennessee. Unlike the Georgia proposal, HJR 87 does not limit the Legislature in the number of casinos it can authorize.
HJR 87 would require state revenue derived from gaming to be allocated to K-12 education or problem gaming programs, as well as to administer and regulate gaming operations in the state.
HJR 87 was before the State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday and was deferred to a summer study.
We’ll keep you updated here if there is any movement on these bills.