HAMPTON — Should casino gaming be legalized in 2020, the Atlanta Motor Speedway could potentially house such an operation in the future.
However, as Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said, a new facility would be much more than just a casino, but rather a full-fledged resort.
“We’re talking a full destination that caters to the entire family, and not just for people to come and gamble,” Clark said. “As a matter of fact, the casino footprint would probably be 10 percent or less of the square footage of the entire operation.”
Indeed, the conceptual drawing of the resort, done by Foxwoods, shows a number of high-rise facilities and a park in the vicinity of the speedway.
“They’ve expressed interest in doing business with us,” Clark said of Foxwoods. “They’re a great partner at New Hampshire, and they’ve got a resort in Connecticut that does very well.”
Foxwoods sponsors a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at AMS’s sister track in Loudon, N.H., the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
The track would be the third in NASCAR to house a casino, after the Dover International Speedway in Delaware and the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.
While Clark said he had not spoken to anyone at Kansas, he said he has spoken with Dover track president Dennis McGlynn in “small terms on and off a little bit” concerning how a casino would operate at such a venue.
However, Clark said the proposed facility in Hampton would go beyond the facilities at Dover and Kansas.
“We’re talking a complete resort,” Clark said. “Dover’s just a casino and a hotel, and Kansas is just a casino.”
Clark said in an interview Monday that the facility would be a “complete destination resort” with a hotel, condominiums and/or timeshare apartments, as well as retail space, restaurants, amusement rides, a music venue, a water park, karting, and other things “that cater to the whole family.”
“We would have no interest in it if it was just a casino,” Clark said.
Recently, there has been a push to legalize horse racing and/or casino gaming in the state of Georgia, and with a call from Gov. Brian Kemp to cut state budgets, some suggest that allowing casino gaming may be a way to increase revenues to help fund the HOPE scholarship.
Clark said that AMS would be a fit for such a facility.
“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people that come through the property every year,” Clark said. “We’re known nationally and internationally as a destination for people who come to the events and activities we have every year. We have the airport next door, we’re convenient to Interstate 75, we’re within 100 miles of 8.5 million people.”
Clark said, however, that many steps would have to “fall in place” for the speedway resort to become a reality.
“But, if that happens, we’d like to be a location that’s considered.”
In order for casino gaming to be legalized in the state, both the Georgia State House and the Georgia Senate must approve, with a two-thirds majority, the measure before it goes to the voters later that year.