HAMPTON – The Hampton City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday asking the Georgia General Assembly to let voters decide if casino gaming should be legalized.
The resolution, which was not meant to express support or opposition to the subject of casino gaming itself, comes on the heels of a very well-attended meeting last Thursday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton where the Georgia House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Economic Growth heard from members of the community.
The entire Hampton City Council, as well as Mayor Steve Hutchison, City Manager Alex Cohilas and other members of the Hampton government were on hand for the meeting last Thursday, where many community members expressed a desire to, at the very least, vote on the matter, and possibly go to Hampton for gaming, rather than travel to places such as Cherokee, N.C., or Biloxi, Miss.
At that meeting, the committee gave a presentation about what would be needed for the state to pass casino gaming, and potentially what would be needed for the Atlanta Motor Speedway to construct a casino and resort on the Speedway grounds.
Both Houses of the General Assembly would have to pass a proposed constitutional amendment, which would then go to Georgia voters, who would have the final say on if casinos, sports betting and horse racing would be legalized in the state for the first time.
On Tuesday, Cohilas stated the resolution was not meant to take a side on the subject of casino gaming but stated the city would “like to see this issue put on the ballot for November so the state can vote on it, rather than be decided at the state capital.”
The resolution will then be sent to the city’s representatives in the General Assembly.
Despite the support expressed at last Thursday’s meeting for casino gaming, some members of the General Assembly appeared to be less than enthusiastic about such an amendment, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who presides over the state Senate.
“I just haven’t seen that overwhelming support for gambling here in Georgia,” Duncan said at a press conference on Monday.