Opinion: Five ‘tells’ about casino gambling in Georgia

Players compete during the main event at the World Series of Poker Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. poker pros and a few celebrities are among the over 4,000 players who remain in the Las Vegas showdown. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP)

If you’ve played much poker, you’re familiar with the concept of a “tell.”

A tell is a signal that a card player sends unconsciously to his or her opponents, revealing his true state of mind. At a moment when a player wants to project confidence, he might suddenly start to avoid eye contact or fiddle with his chips. The sign of nervousness gives him away.

Well, in their dalliance with casino gambling in Georgia, state legislators are full of tells and as nervous as two rock-solid Baptists standing in the same liquor-store line.

Tell No. 1: If you’re too ashamed to face what you’re about to do, maybe you shouldn’t do it. Senate Bill 79, which allows construction of two Georgia casinos — a large, $2 billion casino in metro Atlanta, and a smaller, $450 million casino elsewhere — has been stripped of any mention of casinos. As Sen. Brandon Beach, its sponsor, explained to the AJC, “When we pared it back down to two ‘destination resorts’ — and we struck that word ‘casino’; we’re not even using the word — that’s more appealing to my colleagues.”

Tell No. 2: As a result, SB 79 is titled the “Destination Resort Act,” but the term “destination resort” is more than a euphemism. It’s an outright deception, designed to mislead people into thinking that most of those who will be gambling away their paychecks in Georgia will be tourists from out of state, and thus not our problem.

They will be our problem. Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business group with every incentive to enhance tourism, recently commissioned a major study that found that just 5.9 percent of gaming revenue in metro Atlanta would come from outside the state. The estimate makes a lot of sense. After all, 42 states already have casinos: Why would people flock here to do what they can already do at home? And when casino lobbyists gush about Georgia as a largely untapped market, they’re basically confirming CAP’s analysis. They want to do business here because they want access to people who don’t have other casinos easily available.

Tell No. 3: Under SB 79, casinos will pay the state of Georgia just 20 percent of gross revenue, which would be well below the national average of 30 percent. That tells you one of two things: Either the legislation as now written is designed to heavily favor the industry, not the state, or the Georgia market simply isn’t as strong as we’ve been told. If Georgia really is a great potential casino market, then there’s no reason to “slow play” our strong hand by demanding so little.

Tell No. 4: Casino advocates predict 10,000 new jobs, although most would be low-paying service jobs. But they also offer a contradiction: To bolster the argument that casinos will be “destination resorts,” not just gambling houses, SB 79 requires casino-license applicants to demonstrate a plan to generate 60 percent of their revenue from non-gambling sources, such as entertainment, alcohol and food sales.

In other words, the goal is to allow very few dollars to “leak” outside the casino walls to other businesses. With most of the gamblers and most of the money coming from right here in Georgia, it means these “destination resorts” will have to cannibalize customers from existing entertainment and food-service businesses, significantly reducing net job creation.

Tell No. 5: And why do supporters of casino gambling talk so much about all the money it will raise, but so  little about the fact that it will come from the pocketbooks, wallets and savings accounts of fellow Georgians? That too is a confession, in this case that it’s easier to treat your own constituents as marks than it is to tax them for needed revenue.

Reader Comments 0

1971 comments
Peachs
Peachs

Weakest president ever, and still he won't go home...

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Apparently, the majority of Americans are not the only one's who are resisting Trump.  #FreeMelania


Video from Florida rally sparks serious concern for Melania Trump


An interaction between President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, at a Saturday rally in Melbourne, Florida, is reigniting rumors that she is 'miserable' as America's first lady.  As Melania was preparing to address the applauding crowd, the president crossed the stage behind her, grasping her upper arm in the process.  His action caused her to flinch, turn her head downward and take a sharp breath in.  The first lady appeared to need a moment to regain her composure before continuing on and leading the crowd in the Lord's prayer.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

All the Republicans need to do to get Trump out of the White House is look for a reason. The reasons are there. The fact that they're not looking means that they find him a useful idiot in their campaign to roll back protections and support for the environment, consumers, science, education, and labor. With their agenda, we'll be a third-world country and they'll be our overlords in no time -- if we don't resist. Thankfully, as recent town halls illustrate, people are resisting.

rimsky
rimsky

There are a few very wealthy people in our mill town (now retired) feel the same about the vast wealth inequality.  These same people in their days paid their workers much better wages than their greedy counter parts.  They were successful because they retained the best workers and productivity was high.  Loyalty is so crucial to success of a business and people are loyal when they know the owners have their back.

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky I keep thinking Trump will unite this country like Hitler did, but we just don't get it.

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky @Peachs just about the same number of people, showed up for Jan 20. 2 is a lonely number..

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

What's the difference between being confronted and being attacked? These no-show Republican representatives can't handle being confronted with the things that are doing or not doing by the people they answer to? Cowardly and quite unprofessional. 

gotalife
gotalife

You are even a American patriot or russian patriot in politics these days.


My choice is easy.


USA!

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@gotalife 

You are even a American patriot or russian patriot in politics these days.

-

Uh, no.

gotalife
gotalife

The minority is not even trying to govern.

They are our biggest threat.

TBS
TBS

@Donnie_Pinko


Well Rasmussen is the ONLY poll for Trump's approval ratings.  With the caveat that if some cherry picking needs to be done by utilizing other polls or data from other polls is needed to push the narrative. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Donnie_Pinko 

"He gets slammed on honesty, empathy, level headedness and the ability to unite. And two of his strong points, leadership and intelligence, are sinking to new lows. This is a terrible survey one month in.”

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TBS 

Rasmussen is "the pollster of record."


Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@Donnie_Pinko

Someone needs to do a parody of Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" leitmotif.

Donald Trump is . . . the Most Hated Man in the World.

gotalife
gotalife

We should label the party of putin as an enemy of the United States and another domestic terror group.


This would end the right's open treason.


They are our biggest threat.

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany @gotalife a soapbox would indicate someone cleaned something, there ain't enough soap in the world to clean that orange communist.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@gotalife  Don't you just hate it when folks won't climb up on the soapbox that you so carefully picked out for them?

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Republicans in the house and senate are over playing their hand -- attacking and sabotaging things that are important to people, regardless of their party affiliation: the environment, Social Security, Medicare, the ACA, education, the arts. A lot of the people showing up to confront them with their lack of representation on behalf of the people are Republicans. Good. Come on over to the Democratic party, the party that values the same things you value: people over profits.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Anarchists have been around for a long time, but they really came out of their hidey holes during the 60s.

Funny thing?

They show up in greater numbers when a Republican is elected. They take a, somewhat gentler approach when a Dem is elected. If the Dem president doesn't make their lives better, they show up in greater numbers during the second inaugural. 

I wonder what happens to them when they grow older. There's always a fresh supply of disenfranchised youthful anarchists...

their moment to "shine".

"Whoever They Vote For, We Are Ungovernable!!!"

I guess their "They" are We, the People?

Gyrating goofballs, afraid to show their faces. Some folks are drawn to the frenzy.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@FIGMO2 

LBJ was no Republican, and the anti-war libs/anarchists sure came out for him!

Peachs
Peachs

@OriginalProf @FIGMO2 maybe Trump will take the hint from LBJ and decide he is way too unpopular to be running a second term, though one would think Trump was way too unpopular to run the first term, but LBJ hated communism, who knew that was a weakness. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@OriginalProf @FIGMO2

That had more to do with the war in Vietnam than LBJ himself.

There were those who claimed his Great Society initiatives turned out to be NOT SO GREAT.

I'd agree with that!

gotalife
gotalife

The gop are party over country still.


Good luck on changing that mindset from the failed me generation.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Speaking of San Francisco:

Grace Slick Is Taking Chick-Fil-A's Money and Giving It to an LGBT Rights Organization

You may have noticed the use of Starship’s 1987 hit “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in a recent Chick-fil-A commercial and thought, “Hmm, I thought Starship built this city on rock and roll, not hate,”

[...]

So that was my voice you heard on the Chick-fil-A commercial during the Grammy Awards telecast. I am donating every dime that I make from that ad to Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, and everyone living with HIV.  [...]I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to “Check”-fil-A’s causes – and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

The legislators who didn't show up for their town halls -- including Georgia's senators -- are cowardly. And obviously snowflakes, because they can't take the heat. 

rimsky
rimsky

The liberals have become a violent group (as in Portland).

++++

If the situation calls for it, yesviolence will be necessary. 

In the same breath I can say this is not the time for violence.

Remember the French revolution?  We are not there yet.  Hope we don't go there.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@rimsky @OriginalProf 

That was also the case all through 19th c. Europe....Hungary, Germany,Russia--the revolutionaries were the young, University-educated idealistic elite.  BUT they never had any plans for what to do if they won, so when they won they wound up defeated by their enemies or by opportunistic factions within.

rimsky
rimsky

@OriginalProf @rimsky Ms /Doc Prof I did not mean the awful scenes.  But people when they have nothing to lose ......(like drought and lack of food in Syria for example).  Hope it doesn't have to be that way.  The way the wealth gap is growing I am afraid really.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@rimsky 

Please! No guillotinings! No baskets full of heads like cabbages! No Napoleonic Empires!

rimsky
rimsky

@Donnie_Pinko @rimsky I want better distribution of wealth among the poor and middle class.  Makes for vibrant economy and peaceful existance.  Look no further than those folks in some European nations.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@rimsky @OriginalProf 

Yes, I see. Though the ones manning the French guillotines were radicalized aristocrats/middle class people. That might be relevant here too.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@rimsky @InTheMiddle2 You sure about that. How many have foretold the impending doom and mass extermination because Trump was voted in. Cant have it both ways.

rimsky
rimsky

@Donnie_Pinko @rimsky I understood the italics parts and I agree.  In this Mill town I see Greed and the profits flow upwards and nothing trickles down.

stefpe
stefpe

@Donnie_Pinko @rimsky Hm.. "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."

Makes me wonder what ole' Adam would've thought about what's going on these days.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@rimsky @Donnie_Pinko 

It will have to break the hold of the 'Vile Maxim' of Adam Smith's 'Masters of Mankind' :   All for Us and None for the Rest.  

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@InTheMiddle2 @rimsky

That's beyond absurd. Severe restrictions on voting would be antithetical to one of the foundational concepts of our democracy. 

rimsky
rimsky

@OriginalProf @rimsky Yes they were the educated ones with a conscience.  Revolutions in Russia and China, independence movements in lot of countries, in the last century were started by very educated aristrocrats and well healed middle class people. They wanted to improve the plight of down trodden.  So was the independence movement in this country too.

TBS
TBS

@InTheMiddle2 @rimsky


"mass extermination"?


Maybe you can post a few comments to substantiate.

Thought so but thanks

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky @OriginalProf power of the people, and no spin will make the vast majority not recognize sleaze with they see it!

Peachs
Peachs

@Deplorable Veteran @Peachs @rimsky @OriginalProf elected by a majority, back when America believed in that kind of thing. Now a vast minority get to tell a mass majority that a man with multiwives, slick dorks for kids, from wives he found in the yellow pages is class.