Horse racing measure advances in Georgia Senate

CONYERS, Ga. — A Georgia Senate Committee has passed a measure that would amend the state constitution to allow parimutuel wagering on horse racing.

Senate Resolution 135 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Bills that would allow parimutuel wagering on horse racing have been introduced in past years, but their progress has been stymied. A number of Republican leaders in the state legislature are opposed to the expansion of gambling.

“They race in Florida and it gets too hot; then it gets too cold to go to Kentucky or New York,” WSB-AM quoted state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, a sponsor of the measure, as saying.  “We are the perfect state to do a 30-day meet or season.”

The Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee approved SR135 by a 8-3 margin.

“We really see this as economic development legislation, and obviously the senators see the value that the great American sport of horse racing can bring to Georgia in terms of jobs and tourism,” Dean Reeves, president of the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition, said in a news release. “Our studies show that racing with pari-mutuel wagering could generate as much as $25 million annually in revenues for Georgia, money that would go to needs-based scholarships.”

Should parimutuel wagering on horse racing be approved in the state, venues such as the Georgia International Horsepark in Conyers, Ga., could see a benefit.

“Of course it is interesting to us,” The Rockdale Citizen quoted Conyers City Manager Tony Lucas as saying. “It’s not just about gambling on horse races. It’s about economic development, bringing jobs and dollars to the state of Georgia.”

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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits The Travel Trolley and Railfanning.org.