ATLANTA — Gambling supporters, including Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International, made their first public pitch this week that casinos and horse racing are the solution to Georgia'scollege scholarship funding gap.
A study committee on the merit-based HOPE program held its first meetings Monday and Tuesday. The panel has a Dec. 1 deadline to make recommendations about funding the program. It's designed to cover college expenses using lottery funding, but demand has outpaced funding.
MGM's Chairman and CEO Jim Murren encouraged lawmakers to pick the best strategies from other states. He says metro Atlanta could support a $1 billion downtown resort and casino, with smaller projects in Savannah or other spots.
Some prominent GOP officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal, still oppose gambling expansion. Lottery officials also warn it could harm their income.