Gambling Expansion: The people have already decided


For more than seven years the Georgia General Assembly has been dealing with the issue of expanding gambling in Georgia. Every year the proposed legislation has failed to pass out of the House and the Senate.

This year, it is once again being discussed at the Capitol. We are also hearing a familiar argument – Just let the people decide. However, the people in one way have already “decided.”

When the people voted for their legislator, they were deciding on who best represented their views and how those views would be applied at the state Capitol. Citizens have a level of trust in the Georgia General Assembly that their legislators would not allow a constitutional ballot initiative to be brought before the people if it is something that could harm the state.

Consider this:  If you were to go around this state asking the voters their top five concerns that the legislature should address, very few – if any – would include expanding gambling.

Some legislators have expressed that they are personally against gambling, but they are for the people voting on it. As a legislator voted on by the people and trusted by the people, why would you allow the opportunity for the potential harm gambling can cause to become a reality? If you are against gambling because of the harm you know it could cause, why risk it? Putting it on the ballot at all gives the implication that it is a good thing.

Please encourage your legislator to not use the excuse “just let the people decide” when they know this would not be something good for our state. The people have already decided that these kinds of decisions are to be made by the legislature so that the people will not be manipulated by those whose primary motive is to make money off our state.

The facts are clear that gambling expansion through devices like sports betting, horse racing and casinos would cause an uptick in addictions, bankruptcies, lost jobs, crime, children at risk, sex trafficking, suicide, and a negative impact on personal and governmental economics. (See Professor John Kindt’s gambling fact sheet: Plus, every dollar raised in tax revenue on gambling will cost the state another $3 in social expense. That’s not good!

Unfortunately, the proponents of gambling expansion have more money to promote gambling in Georgia. Every dollar spent to show how harmful gambling is to a population is outmatched by $250 worth of marketing supporting gambling expansion. This means when it comes to getting out the real devastating facts about gambling expansion will be overridden with placebos on how well it's going to benefit the state overall.

Georgia is already the number one place to do business in our country without adding more predatory gambling to the equation!