The first land-based casino in Georgia seems to be on its way. The plans for a casino and resort complex on the Lake Hartwell shoreline have already been put in motion. The future complex would span over 5 miles of lakeshore and 500 acres of land. If the plans go ahead, it should also include a golf course, retail shops, and luxury and workforce housing. The proposed site is conveniently situated right off Interstate 85’s exit 177. This piece of land falls both in Hart and Franklin Counties. The location near the South Carolina border would likely attract visitors from that state, too.
Will The State Of Georgia Have It’s First Legal Casino>
However, the casino is still some time away. At this moment, the casinos aren’t legal in the state of Georgia. So for the proposal to go through, the state legislators would need to change the law first. Casino legalization would first require two-thirds approval in both Georgia’s House and Senate. After that, the new law would need the Governor’s signature. Even then, the final decision is left to the people. The new legislature would have to be put up for a referendum. Initially, there would be statewide voting. The final approval would come from the voters in Hart and Franklin Counties.
In the counties in question, there are some divided opinions on the proposed development. The chairman of the Hart County Board of Commissioners, Marshall Sayer, noted that plans call for careful consideration. He added that wouldn’t want the casino and resort to affect recently revitalized downtown Hartwell in any way. His Franklin County counterpart, Jason Macomson, noted that the public response so far hasn’t been too positive. He feels that development on that scale would have a huge impact on the character of the entire area.
Deciding Future Revenue Share
On the other side, Rick Lackey, a real estate developer, is confident that the proposal will get a green light. Lackey currently has the property under the listing contract. He thinks that it’s only a matter of deciding how to share the future revenue around the state. Back in April, the Georgia legislative session ended its session without any decision regarding casino legalization.
It also didn’t approve the sports betting proposal which has already gone through the Senate. Still, Lackey is confident of the approval at a later date. The developer is already engaged in negotiations with several casino operators. He expects that, by the end of the year, some of them will be on board for the development of a $300 million casino and resort. Lackey added that the new complex will be developed in the traditional Southern style. This will make sure that it only adds to the appeal of the whole area.
Locals Worry About Disrupting The Character Of The State
The locals are split when it comes to the new development in their area. Some feel that casinos in Georgia USA will disrupt the character of the region. Others believe that the casino and resort will bring more revenue to the area, create new jobs and help local businesses flourish. Whatever happens, the Georgia gamblers will have to wait at least until the next year to see the first casino in their state.