State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, says the “destination resort” legislation he is pushing in the Senate is being reworked by changing its population stipulations to “two regional designations” to allow a casino operation. Beach and other lawmakers fear that stipulating resorts in areas narrowly defined by city or county population numbers could be deemed unconstitutional.

Beach says the enabling legislation will now be written to allow for two regions. “The first destination resort could be located within a five-county metro Atlanta area and the second could be located  anywhere outside of the first region.”  “The main stipulation for the second region,” he says, “is that the location has to be outside of a city with a 125,000-square-foot convention center within 30 miles of the destination resort.”

Beach says he expects the enabling legislation to receive a positive vote out of committee on Tuesday in the House, and then receive a positive vote out of committee on Thursday in the Senate.

How much HOPE Scholarship coffers would receive under this legislation may still be up in the air. A previous draft said HOPE would receive a 50 percent share of revenues. That may be lowered to 30 percent so that other revenue streams could go to rural healthcare and trauma centers (thus picking up the votes of more rural legislators).


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