Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- While the vote won't be held for another week, a poll shows Georgia supports the use of video lottery terminals in a casino environment to boost HOPE scholarship revenue.
About 56 percent of respondents to a WXIA 11Alive poll said they support the idea, which developer Dan O'Leary has proposed be part of a $1 billion entertainment complex along Jimmy Carter Boulevard in the Norcross area.
Support was strongest among Democrats (64 percent), but the survey showed 52 percent approval from people who consider themselves Republicans. Next week, GOP primary ballots will ask about the issue, although O'Leary has said the phrasing of the question -- which does not mention video lottery terminals -- means it is likely to fail.
"The poll results show what we have known for years: Georgians support expanding the Georgia Lottery to increase revenue for the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs," said O'Leary, who claims his project would generate $350 million annually for the cash-strapped scholarship program. "Particularly, this poll confirms that support is widespread and would be even more so if the ballot question was asked correctly."
The Norcross project would feature 7,500 video lottery terminals, which appear similar to slot machines but act like scratch-off lottery tickets, as well as a hotel, spa, performance venue and restaurants. The idea, first proposed for Underground Atlanta, requires a vote by the Georgia Lottery Board.