HAMPTON, Ga. — A major name in Atlanta sports says it wants to open its doors to a casino.
Gambling, historically, has been a non-starter in the Georgia statehouse and a bill to bring casinos to casinos to major cities like Atlanta and Savannah failed in the house this year. But supporters believe opinions might change in 2020.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark is proposing a $1 billion casino resort at the racetrack. It would include a hotel, condos, restaurants and maybe even a theme park and concert venue.
He spoke to a legislative committee that's meeting this week and trying to find ways to grow Georgia's economy. So far, all bills to put gambling on Georgia ballots have failed.
But supporters said that now could be the time because state tax collections are flat and the governor has ordered agencies to cut spending.
So what do the owners of the speedway think makes it a prime location? They think the location, only 29 miles from downtown Atlanta and 21 miles from Hartsfield-Jackson, is a prime reason. There are also roughly 8.5 million people within a couple of hours' drive of the speedway.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Clark's proposal mirrors the type of casino resort supporters of legalizing casino gambling have long envisioned and have written into various legislative proposals introduced during past General Assembly sessions.
Clark believes the project would create 3,000 construction jobs and 4,000 to 5,000 permanent jobs in the suburban region near the track.