The Georgia branch of the US Republican party have voted unanimously to oppose any new casino or horseracing bills which are put to senate vote this year, citing concerns over alleged links between gambling and crime.
Georgia’s ‘grand old party’ or GAGOP as it is known in the US stated that its opposition is based on a link between gambling and increasing crime and divorce rates, although they did not mention any particular study or statistics to back up this assertion.
The resolution voted on by members of the Republican Party states that “the members of the Georgia Legislature to cease and desist with any efforts to open the State of Georgia to casino and horse racing.”
Party officials also suggested that they felt the legalisation of casino gambling might allow Native American tribes to force reservation casinos on local communities saying that they did not want to allow “for any Indian tribe to venue shop for property to open casinos”.
The GAGOP said their resolution was aimed at protecting Georgia’s residents from the more general threat of gambling. The resolution stated, “The state should not have a vested interest in predatory activities such as gambling for the sake of filling state coffers at the expense of ruined lives and broken families.”
Georgia gambling laws are relatively strict, as they prohibit wagering on horse or dog races, or casinos of any kind. In fact, the only kind of gambling explicitly allowed in Georgia are raffles for charitable organizations. The state's gambling statute also specifically bans dog fighting, chain letters, and pyramid clubs.
Although it is a form of gambling, Georgia does have its own state lottery, however most of the funds are used in the HOPE Scholarship, a scholarship program established in 1993 to help Georgia students pay for in-state colleges and universities as well as fund the public pre-K programs around the state.
In recent years, this commitment has become harder and harder to maintain, given the sheer number of students applying for funding and in 2015, new ‘academic vigor’ standards were implemented, essentially making it harder for students to qualify.