State Rep. Ron Stephens is at it again. The Savannah Republican introduced another resolution in the Georgia General Assembly that would lay the groundwork for casinos in the Peach State.
Legislators must first approve House Resolution 30. Their consent would send the issue to voters, who would decide whether to change the state constitution and allow casinos in Georgia.
COVID-19 and its malicious handiwork on the economy may make such a prospect tempting to lawmakers in the House and Senate this time around. Casinos, Stephens argues, would generate a king’s fortune for state coffers, revitalize flagging revenues.
One of the primary concerns is location. Where would casino resorts be built? In whose backyard?
There was a time when the focus was on Jekyll Island. Supporters regarded the state-owned island an ideal choice. Fortunately the movement fizzled out.
That’s not to say Jekyll Island would be out of consideration in the future, and what a terrible mistake that would be. Recent developments on the island, with its beach facilities, golf courses and miles of biking and walking trails, make Jekyll an excellent destination for individuals and families who feel the urge to step out of the rat race, if only briefly.
A casino would ruin that. A gambling resort would totally change the island’s character. Anyone who doubts that need only visit Cherokee, N.C. It is not the same family attraction it was before the arrival of a casino.
Other potential sites for a casino would be most anywhere along Interstate 95. The Kilagee Indians saw the value of opening one along the popular, well-traveled route to Florida. It only makes sense others would too.
Of course, there will be those who will point out that tourists would still flock to Jekyll Island if a casino took root there. They’re right. But it wouldn’t be individuals and families eager to escape the pressures of everyday life.
It’s hard to argue against allowing voters to decide whether it’s time to open the door to casinos. It’s not often citizens get an opportunity to directly determine the fate of proposed changes or additions to state law. They just need to know what they may be wishing for or upon fellow citizens.
Members of Glynn County’s state delegation should do everything in their power to keep Jekyll Island and other areas where individuals and families safely gather and vacation today off limits to casinos. Promises are nice, but get it in writing.