Major legislation passes a House committee that could help crack down on illegal video gambling operations, while providing more revenue for the Georgia Lottery Corporation and the HOPE Scholarship.
Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) says Gov. Nathan Deal is spear heading the bill that would put the video machines that offer prizes under the purview of the Georgia Lottery.
“We’re going to actually ensure that they’re complying with the law and operating within the boundaries we’ve set up and not operating casinos out of the back of gas station,” Ramsey says.
The Lottery would not only license and regulate stores the operation of such machines, but make a ten percent profit on the net proceeds and offer lottery tickets as prizes.
“I don’t think there’s any way to quantify it, but we absolutely anticipate a very, very positive impact in HOPE,” says Ramsey.
No one could provide committee members with exactly how much revenue might be raised for the lottery, but Georgia Lottery president Debbie Dlugolenski Alford is pleased with the idea.
“Certainly we compete against those ‘gray machines’ so we really believe that ability to regulate that industry will impact our bottom line,” she says.
Jim Tudor, with the Georgia Association of Convenient Stores, believes such a law would put legitimate operators on a level playing field with those that currently operate illegally.
“I think for the first time we’ll have the tools to separate the good actors from the bad actors,” he says.