For a couple of years, managers of the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Henry County have been trying to get traction for their idea for a $1 billion casino right next to the track. That dream is finally gaining momentum.

Speedway General Manager Brandon Hutchison told CBS46 he’s keeping a close eye on sports betting legislation at the Georgia capitol. One measure failed to make the Crossover Day deadline in the House, but the Georgia Senate approved a sports wagering measure.

If the House adds pari-mutuel betting and casino gambling to that legislation, it would open the door for casinos in Georgia.

“We are interested in a full-blown destination resort,” said Hutchison. “We’re talking a casino, we’re talking an amusement park, water park, retail locations, a hotel.”

Over the years, there’s been push-back on casinos from religious groups and others who believe gambling is immoral and leads to crime. Several recent polls, however, have shown Georgians would be in favor of legalizing some form of gambling.

“Hopefully the House will vote it through,” said Hutchison, “and who knows? In 2022 we may be able to as citizens of the state vote yes or no to casino gambling.”

If – and it’s a big if – casino gambling ends up getting approval in Georgia, it would land an upcoming ballot, meaning Georgia voters would decide whether to give it the okay in our state.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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