On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

clear-day
32°
Very Cold
H 40° L 25°
  • clear-day
    32°
    Current Conditions
    Very Cold. H 40° L 25°
  • very-cold-day
    40°
    Today
    Very Cold. H 40° L 25°
  • very-cold-day
    42°
    Tomorrow
    Very Cold. H 42° L 24°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
One Man's Opinion: Time for Chips on the Table
Close

One Man's Opinion: Time for Chips on the Table

One Man's Opinion: Time for Chips on the Table

One Man's Opinion: Time for Chips on the Table

In the midst of a nostalgic return visit to my favorite casino, the original Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, to say bon voyage and farewell, before a re-branding by new owner, billionaire Richard Branson, I could not help but notice more than a few changes in the adult, gaming mecca of Lost Wages from the high rolling 90's and early 2000s, to the Vegas of today. And while 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,' may remain among the most successful tourism destination marketing campaigns in history, the pains of competition elsewhere are evident, despite the presence of construction cranes and ever present change on and off the Vegas strip. 

Close

One Man's Opinion: 'Time for Chips on the Table,

Metro Atlanta is now virtually the only top ten population center in the nation (8th largest), not within a two hour drive of a major gaming destination. Casino, sports book and parimutuel betting surround us in Alabama (Indian casino in Wetumpka and Greyhound racing in Montgomery), Tennessee (Tunica is technically in Mississippi, just outside of Memphis), North Carolina (Harrah's), Florida (Hard Rock Casino's in Tampa and Hollywood as well as Greyhound racing and Jai Lai) , and not to mention the Mississippi Gulf Coast. At this point only South Carolina remains truly an island apart from the entire gaming industry, and whether you like it or not, Georgia is leaving tourism and hospitality money on the table. 

Close

One Man's Opinion: 'Time for Chips on the Table,

Georgia lottery sales now annually exceed $1-billion, contributing roughly $1-million per day towards HOPE scholarships and pre-kindergarten funding. As of 2018, more than 1.8 million Georgians have received HOPE scholarship assistance to attend a college or university. 

And as successful as HOPE, Georgia Pre-K and our lottery have become, demand will again eventually out-strip the revenue supply and a re-tooling or program benefits scale-back will be required, as was overseen by then Governor Nathan Deal during his first term. And in most every state where gaming has become available, there has been a substantial and commensurate boost in tourism, hospitality and related state/local sales/hotel/motel tax revenues. Gaming may not always be the primary draw, but it's a solid contributor to the mix. 

As Thomas Jefferson staved off bankruptcy in part with personal lotteries and repeatedly stated, "The best tax is the lottery, as it paid only by the willing." 

Arguments can and will be made about the evils of gaming, addiction to gambling and the related vice it may attract. Ammunition for this track is certainly found in places like Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the lines between casino opulence/wealth and abject poverty are as clear and demarcated as the U.S. border with Tijuana, Mexico. But if you subtract casinos from Atlantic City, all you will have left is the abject poverty. 

Close

One Man's Opinion: 'Time for Chips on the Table,

Georgia tourism has a lot to offer and markets like Savannah and Georgia's Golden Isles have already found their sweet spots, but those two coastal tourism hot spots also already have limited gaming in the form of a charter casino line, the Emerald Princess Casino Cruise, which navigates the Jekyll and Savannah Rivers, as well as Georgia's inter-coastal waterways, and when out on the Atlantic and in international waters, offers several hours of daily casino gambling. And perhaps not surprisingly, the St. Simons Village and Jekyll Island causeway, where these charter cruise ships disembark, have yet to become Sodom, or Gomorrah. 

Recent polling is limited, but more recent samplings have found support for a vote on expanding gaming (with results varying for sports book, parimutuel or casino gaming), as high as the low 70 percentiles among likely voters. And placing this choice, and potential Constitutional amendment in the hands of voters is always considered a potentially less harmful choice for Georgia legislators residing in more conservative districts. Governor Nathan Deal quietly opposed any expansion through the end of his second term. Governor Brian Kemp remains personally opposed, but has publicly stated on several occasions, that he would make no efforts to block or veto a public vote on the question. 

Georgia has spent most of the past decade in budget high cotton, with the last two years allowing for record spending, north of $25-billion. However for Governor Kemp's second legislative session, the spending brakes are being applied, cuts of 4 percent have been requested for the upcoming budget and 6 percent more for the fiscal year which follows. When state agencies and the constituencies which they serve start to feel that belt tightening, around summertime of 2020 and during General Primary voting season, many incumbents may wish they gave more thought to a possible referendum to draw out voters to the polls in November of 2020. 

If Georgia is to remain a low-tax, high-growth state, attractive to industry, retirees and those with accumulated wealth, it will need to establish additional reliable revenue streams. As our oil and gas futures are quite limited, other than off the coast, placing bets on gaming seems a logical choice as part of any future funding mix. And while I know for many, all bets are still off...for me at least, its finally time to slide some chips out onto the table. Good luck to you.

Read More

News

  • On the eve of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the president’s legal team said Monday called the case “flimsy” and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution,” according to The Associated Press. The brief, which was filed Monday in anticipation of arguments expected this week in the Senate impeachment trial, dismisses the case as a “brazenly political act” by the House of Representatives, The New York Times reported. The legal team also claims in its brief that the “rigged process” should be rejected by the Senate, the newspaper reported. The brief further states that neither of the two articles of impeachment against Trump are valid because they do not state a violation of the law, the Times reported. The 110-page brief from the White House asserts the case was never about finding the truth, the AP reported. 'Instead, House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election,” Trump’s legal team wrote, according to the AP. “All of that is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.” Proceedings in the impeachment trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday.
  • You might know him as Khal Drogo. Others see him as Aquaman. Regardless, actor Jason Momoa brought plenty of smiles to patients and families at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Hospital officials said Momoa visited the facility while taking a break filming his Netflix feature in Pittsburgh, WPXI reported. The hospital posted photos on social media of the actor visiting patients at the facility. The Netflix movie, “Sweet Girl,” will begin filming in the fall. Momoa is producing it.
  • That was sew nice. A stray cat in Wisconsin lost her ears to an infection, but now she has some new ones after a woman crocheted her some new ones, WTMJ reported. The cat, named Lady in a Fur Coat, had to have her ear flaps removed according to the Dane County Humane Society. The feline was bought into the Humane Society in December and began treatment for chronic ear infections, spokeswoman Marissa DeGroot told CNN. The cat’s appearance was a little unsettling, so Ash Collins, who works at the Humane Society, decided to crochet Lady an ear bonnet, CNN reported. It took some gentle persuasion and treats, but the cat finally was fitted into her new purple ears. “It’s amazing because we see these strays and medical cases come in and I think we’re always surprised by their resiliency,” DeGroot told CNN. Less than 24 hours after the Humane Society posted the cat’s story on Facebook, Lady was adopted.
  • A New Hampshire man died Sunday night when his snowmobile fell through the ice on the largest lake in Maine, authorities said. Steven K. Allard, 56, of South Hampton, was returning from snowmobiling with his wife on Moosehead Lake when his vehicle broke through the ice on the west side of the lake, the Bangor Daily News reported. Allard’s snowmobile fell into the ice near the mouth of the Moose River, according to Mark Latti, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Allard was pulled from the lake at 10:15 p.m. but he was unresponsive, Latti told the Daily News. Allard was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Latti said. “Snowmobilers need to stay aware of their surroundings and understand that ice conditions can change quickly,” Sgt. Bill Chandler, of the Maine Warden Service, told the Daily News. “This section of the lake, where the Moose River flows into Moosehead Lake, always has poor ice, and that is why there are marked trails on the lake so that snowmobilers can avoid the bad ice in this area.”
  • A woman was shot Friday night after an argument at an Applebee’s restaurant in South Carolina, authorities said. Joseph Raekwon Rapp, 23, of Greenwood, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, The State newspaper of Columbia reported. The woman, whose name and condition were not disclosed, was shot twice in the upper body, according to Greenville police. She was taken to an area hospital for surgery, WHNS reported. According to a news release, Rapp and the woman were arguing in the crowded restaurant around 9:21 p.m., WSPA reported. Greenwood police Maj. T.J. Chaudoin said the relationship between the two was not immediately clear, but describe the incident as a domestic situation, the Index-Journal of Greenwood reported. “Obviously there were a lot of people eating here tonight who were very startled,” Chaudoin told the newspaper. Rapp fled the restaurant but later turned himself in at the Greenwood County Detention Center, the newspaper reported. According to the public index, Rapp was out on bond while awaiting trial, the Index-Journal reported.
  • Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a man broke into a home and forced a woman and a 1-month-old boy into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Wani Thomas broke into a home on Tangerine Drive and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, police said. Authorities are currently searching for all three. Thomas is considered armed and dangerous and last seen wearing a brown jacket with blue jeans. Livermore, 20, was last seen wearing gray pants, a brown shirt and a camouflage jacket. Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at (910) 676-2597 or Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.