Atlanta again pushes Underground gambling

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/08/07

Atlanta again has asked the Legislature to allow gambling at Underground Atlanta, but prospects are even dimmer than usual this year. It doesn't even have a sponsor. For more than two decades, Atlanta has sought permission to allow pari-mutuel betting and casino gambling at Underground, the city-owned entertainment complex in downtown Atlanta. The measure never has been seriously considered. This year is no different.

"There has been no enthusiasm because people don't want to waste their time," said state Rep. Bob Holmes (D-Atlanta), head of the Fulton County House delegation. Holmes said one of Fulton's lawmakers may file the bill on behalf of Atlanta. But so far there's been no interest, he said. Atlanta Councilman Jim Maddox filed the gambling measure with the City Council on Jan. 2 and it passed overwhelmingly. Maddox said the time has come for the city to have other sources of money to pay for police and firefighters, and programs for the young and old. Dan O'Leary, the managing partner of Underground, said he doesn't expect the Legislature to approve the plan. "But we always have hope," he said. Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts, who served 20 years on the Atlanta City Council, said he remains an advocate of gambling in Georgia to pay for public benefits. He said Underground may not be the best place to offer it. "The Vegas folks say they like to build from the ground up," Pitts said



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