A recent online poll suggests that there is strong public support for a casino in downtown Atlanta. The poll was on the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s homepage, sponsored by Mercer University, and was not considered a “scientific sampling” since it simply asked “Do you support building a casino in downtown Atlanta?” and gave a few details about projected jobs. Nearly 2,400 voters responded with 62 percent saying they’d favor a downtown casino and others commenting that it would create a “thug zone” of corruption and crime.
Horse racing advocates also testified their support of their industry. Dean Reeves, president of the Georgia Horseracing Coalition and owner of Gwinnett County thoroughbred Mucho Macho Man, outlined plans to build a racetrack in Atlanta that would feature live racing 20 days per year. He said limiting the racing calendar would assure top horses and top prizes.
“Atlanta is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without a racetrack,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “That is a hole in the economy of Atlanta that has to be filled.”
“This market (Atlanta) could easily support a $1 billion [casino] property,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas-based gaming industry giant.