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Horse Racing, Wagering Legislation Introduced

HR 186 would allow municipalities to decide whether or not to allow horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering.

A state representative wants to make horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering legal in Georgia.

Earlier this week, State Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) filed House Resolution 186, a constitutional amendment that would allow Georgia voters to decide whether or not to allow horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in their local municipality. 

“As Georgians across the state continue to struggle to find employment, the legislature must look for new ways to bring much needed jobs to our state,” said Rep. Geisinger in a released statement.  “Expanding our state’s horse industry is a simple way to do just that.  The number of jobs created and revenue generated would give Georgia a much needed economic boost.”

According to a press release from the House Communications Office, HR 186 would require net revenues and proceeds generated by horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in Georgia to go into a unique category of the state budget entitled “Pari-mutuel Wagering Proceeds.”  The revenues from this budget category could only be used to supplement, not supplant, state funding for education grants, scholarships, or loans; voluntary pre-kindergarten programs; and trauma care services.

“Major horse racing states like Kentucky, Maryland, New York and Florida contain interconnected interstates that all pass through the state of Georgia,” Geisinger said in the press release.  “New information suggests that as many as 170,000 plus horses already pass through Georgia over a 14 month period on their way to meets and races in Florida.  This logistical situation puts Georgia in a unique position to become a major hub of the equine industry.  With correctly timed horse meets and races, Georgia could attract the thousands of horses that already pass through the state while traveling from north to south.”

In 2009, Geisinger, whose district includes portions of Fulton County, chaired the House Equine Industry Study Committee.  According to the House Communications Office release, the committee heard from numerous experts who testified to the economic benefits that Georgia would experience if horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering were legal.

For more information on the economic impact of the horse industry, visit http://www.horsecouncil.org/nationaleconomics.php.  For specific information about Georgia’s existing horse industry, visit: http://www.geepforgeorgia.com/

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