Will Georgia allow gambling on horse racing?

ATLANTA — Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing would be allowed in Georgia should state lawmakers approve a pair of related bills during the upcoming legislative session and voters agree to a constitutional amendment.

State Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, last week filed House Resolution 1 and House Bill 4. One would send a proposed constitutional amendment for voters to decide; the other providing details for how gambling might look in the state.

In addition to creating jobs, proponents of such a bill say revenues from taxes on gambling could raise money for the HOPE Scholarship and help fill a projected revenue shortfall. However, many state officials — including Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican — are opposed to the expansion of gambling.

Geisinger filed the bills on the first day state lawmakers could file proposed legislation in advance of the 2013 legislative session, which convenes in January. He also introduced similar legislation in 2011 and 2010, but lawmakers didn’t approve the measure.

In April 2011, the state House approved a measure creating the House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry.

Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in more than 30 states and is responsible for a more than $35 billion economic impact.

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