HB 487, a bill to regulate coin-operated machines and provide additional revenue to the HOPE scholarship program is on its way to Governor Deal’s desk for his signature. This was touted as a bill that will bring all convenience stores or places that sell video lottery scratch- off tickets under the authority of the Georgia Lottery Commission. The bill was introduced only two weeks before crossover day and was rushed through by design. Only the Senate had a healthy 3-hour debate. CWA of Georgia, Stop Predatory Gambling and others who fought in opposition to this bill were told that this bill would in no way expand gambling in Georgia. We disagree. According to an article in Vending Times, the language in HB 487 lends itself to “gambling-enabling legislation.”
Watch State Director Tanya Ditty’s comments concerning HB 487.
Legislative action: The bill passed both the House and the Senate by a wide margin, and is on its way to Gov. Deal’s desk for his signature. In the end, it was the Governor’s legislation and a top priority for him. CWA of Georgia would like to openly thank the 12 senators and 4 representatives for standing against what we believe will lead to the expansion of gambling in Georgia. Click here for a list of the senators and representatives who voted against HB 487. Please take time to call or e-mail these legislators and thank them for their bold vote in opposition to the possible expansion to gambling in Georgia.
Our next challenge is horse racing and pari-mutuel betting. Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) has introduced HB 4 and Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) has introduced SR 217. Their respective legislation will legalize pari-mutuel wagering or betting on horse racing and permit Georgians to vote on amending the state constitution to allow for pari-mutuel betting. The amendment would be placed on the 2014 mid-term election ballot. CWA of Georgia will be actively opposing this legislation.
Read CWA of Georgia’s complete 2013 legislative update.