Some Georgian residents are very optimistic about the state’s chances of legalizing horse racing and pari-mutuel betting. Last week, the state House’s Regulated Industries Committee unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that marks the first step toward legalizing horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in Georgia. There’s still some work to be done, as the measure must still win two-thirds approval in the full House and Senate.
Georgia has been left out in the cold while as many as 38 other states enjoy horse racing and pari-mutuel betting. The sentiment from proponents of racing is that this time Georgia will get it right. Just over twenty years ago, Georgia was introduced to the lottery and horse racing was expected to also be legalized around that time, in 1990. But it didn`t happen, and now twenty odd years later Georgia finds themselves in a similar position. How much more heartbreak can they take?
The sentiment among many racing proponents is that horse racing and pari-mutuel betting will help the economy in Georgia and provide revenue that will help fund the state`s educational programs.
I don`t want to be the one to burst their bubble, but if that`s the role they`re hoping horse racing will fill, the glass is truly half full in Georgia, it hasn`t exactly been a booming industry as of late. If Georgia does get approved, hopefully they`ll be more amicable between tracks than their southern neighbours in Florida, where the ongoing dispute between Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park in South Florida has reached a climax.
If it`s extra revenue to fund education programs the state is looking for, they should be considering online gambling. Right now, Georgia residents are gambling online, and that money is going offshore instead of back into the state. In fact, in my opinion, that should have been their first option.