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Casino Gambling Question on Primary Ballot

Georgia Republican voters will have the opportunity to vote if the state should allow casino gambling with profits benefiting education.

"Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?"

That question will be on the Republican primary ballot July 31 so that red voters can vote either yea or nay.

It's possible that the question was created in response to this year's in the Norcross area, which the but decided not to move forward with.

Dan O'Leary, the developer of the Gwinnett gambling project, said he isn't happy with the wording of the ballot question.

"It is a flawed question and does not accurately ask voters about our project," said O'Leary in a press release.

The destination entertainment complex, which was proposed to be built at the OFS fiber-optic site in unincorporated Norcross near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85, doesn't involve casino games such as black jack. Instead, it revolves around video lottery terminals, in addition to a hotel, offices, retail and dining. It also was estimated that it could make $350 million annually for the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten, possibly funding the programs for years.

O'Leary said that, in order to get to the heart of the issue, the real question should be: "Are voters in favor of the Georgia Lottery expanding with VLT games in a single controlled environment to save the HOPE scholarship?"

"It’s not about casinos; it’s about saving HOPE," he added.

In April, O'Leary and his company went pitched his plan to the Georgia Lottery Board. He called it a "silver bullet" that would help save the HOPE scholarship, but board chairman Jimmy Braswell after the meeting said the board was hesitant to move forward.

"We believe this is public policy decision," said Braswell. "I don't think the Georgia Lottery Corporation needs to step out unilaterally and undertake this project without the appropriate consideration from the elected officials."

Before presenting the idea to the board, O'Leary had done plenty of prepping for the project. O'Leary said he had plenty of financial backers for the project; UGA Heisman Trophy winner a restaurant and sports bar at the OFS site; and O'Leary pledged to to the I-85 transit expansion.

Editor's note: The question on casino gambling is also on the Democratic ballot. It reads: "Would you support Casino gambling in Gwinnett County?"

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