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Developer loses land for Norcross gambling complex

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Dan O'Leary

ATLANTA — A developer has lost control of a Norcross property where he hoped to build Georgia's first gambling complex, even as the debate over expanded gambling continues.

Developer Dan O'Leary said that he had extended the land contract on a parcel near Interstate 85 seven times before.

"We've extended the (land) contract seven times now, and at some point you've got to say, 'It looks like there's not going to be any action in the near-term, so let's give it a break for a while,'" O'Leary said.

O'Leary earlier proposed a $1 billion gambling center that would have hosted video lottery terminals. He described the development as a way to increase revenue for lottery funded scholarships and boost the economy. While the Georgia Lottery Board has the authority to approve video lottery terminals, board chairman James Braswell previously said he would not consider the project without the support of public officials.

"When you look at all the good this could bring and the mindset of voters, it seems like a no-brainer," O'Leary said. "And for that reason we will not give up."

In July, voters in the Republican primary approved a nonbinding question asking whether they would support an expansion of gambling if the funds were earmarked for the education system. State Sen. Jack Murphy, a Republican, has proposed a referendum to legalize horse racing.

Still, O'Leary's plan appears stuck. He said he cannot get a meeting with the state's new lottery chief, Debbie Dlugolenski Alford, a former Deal budget official.

"Unfortunately the lottery board seems to be stuck right now on this issue and I don't know where it goes from here," said state Rep. Ron Stephens, the chair of the House's Economic and Development Committee. He supports O'Leary's proposal. "The timing might not be right for now."

Even if O'Leary's plan cannot move forward, opponents of expanded gambling do not believe the question is settled.

"Gambling's coming. It's just a matter of when," said Jerry Luquire, the head of the Georgia Christian Coalition. "It's difficult for politicians to oppose the will of the people. But every year we delay it makes it a better year."

Comments

bookman 1 year, 11 months ago

Plane a simple stupidity on the part of Georgia... Instead of gaining money for HOPE and other revenue for the city/state/county people will have to continue to drive to Cherokee, NC, or perhaps Montgomery, AL, or further. I know for a fact that Harrah's in Cherokee gets a lot of money from Georgia residents. What a shame, and Harrah's is certainly a very nice resort to stay at even if you don't prefer to gamble. But I guess it's OK to have the Georgia lottery for some reason idiot's don't think the lottery is gambling... Go figure.

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kevin 1 year, 11 months ago

"It's difficult for politicians to oppose the will of the people. But every year we delay it makes it a better year." we may want gambling, but not a casino. Horse racing would be big here because you also have horse racing country just north of us. This would attract more big horses to run in Georgia, depending on the season. Casinos is run by too many crooks in Brook's Bros. suits. Besides, it would compete with the state's lottery system. I hope that board is smart enough to recognize that! I'd prefer to put a horse racing track in that spot. O'Leary has done enough damage in Gwinnett.

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suedehead 1 year, 11 months ago

Where'd you get the idea horse racing would be big here? I guess you don't remember what happen in Birmingham?

The only horse racing country I'm aware of just north of us is Kentucky. Do you mean "horse country" i.e MIlton? Well off people with a few horses is not a reason to bring it to the state.

Casinos can be open 24/7, the track can't. One of many reason why Casinos are more popular than horse racing.

Crooks aren't at the Track! Funny. Your grasp of the subject is slim. Do some research. Just for fun, order "The Grifters" from Netflix.

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pcjohn 1 year, 11 months ago

"It's difficult for politicians to oppose the will of the people" may be true elsewhere, but definitely not here in Gwinnett County. The apparent operational mantra of our BOC is "the public be damned, we'll do it our way!"

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BufordGuy 1 year, 11 months ago

The BOC has no say in this issue. It is up to the Lottery Board alone.

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Mack711 1 year, 11 months ago

The State Lottery Commission is dragging their feet on this issue while we are dragging our money to North Carolina, Alabama, Las Vegas and giving it to other states that have Casino style gambling. It is like this, those who want to gamble will regardless of what anyone says. Why not open this facility and let the citizens who do not like to gamble get out of the way of the ones who do. Let's keep our money that can be taxed here in Georgia instead of every other state that has casino gambling. Surely the state can use it. Wake up Georgia, before it is to late.

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NewsReader 1 year, 11 months ago

Somebody answer this question for me. These so called video lottery terminals; are they supposed to be just like conventional slot machines like we have in Vegas or are they something different? What about Black Jack? Craps? Poker Tables? Roulette?

On another note, this community has plenty of alcohol problems, burglary problems, assault problems, drug problems...why not just add the convenience of legalized gambling to the mix? Then we'll have all of our bases covered.

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WhirledPeas 1 year, 11 months ago

Real wealth in our community comes from manufacturing. Gambling is not the answer.

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suedehead 1 year, 11 months ago

True. But Casinos are "sexy" and an easy out since today's "leaders" are just looking for quick fixes. Also, plenty of ways for a few people to make lots of money before the doors even open.

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mateo 1 year, 11 months ago

It was a big gamble; but he shot snake eyes!!!!!

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LilburnLady 1 year, 11 months ago

"When you look at all the good this could bring and the mindset of voters, it seems like a no-brainer," O'Leary said. "And for that reason we will not give up."

Yes, I'm sure Mr. O'Leary has only altruistic reasons for opening a casino here. Don't forget, this is the same outfit that "developed" the Atlanta Underground. How much "good" did that bring to Atlanta?

For every dollar that is sent from this casino to the HOPE scholarship fund, the local area will have to increase their police, fire, and emergency budgets to compensate for the increased homeless population and street crime that will follow.

We need industry in Gwinnett County that will offer, long-term, good-paying jobs that provide people with enought income to build a life and a family. Our politicians have run out of ideas to bolster our local economy so they are now selling out our quality of life to the highest bidder.

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