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NBC poll: Georgia voters want VLT venue to save the HOPE scholarship
ATLANTA (July 24, 2012) – Fifty-six percent of Georgians support expanding the with Video Lottery Terminals in a casino-style environment to fund the HOPE scholarship, according to a poll released today by 11Alive, the Atlanta NBC affiliate.
The poll found widespread support for VLTs across all ages, genders and political parties, including conservatives and Republican voters.
The poll was released a week before the Republican Primary, which will feature a ballot question asking voters if they support casinos to fund education in Georgia.
Atlanta developer Dan O’Leary, who did not advocate for the question to be placed on the ballot, has said the question is flawed and does not accurately ask voters about his proposed project.
“The polls 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. Particularly, this poll confirms that our support is widespread and that if the ballot question was asked correctly, it would better reflect the views of Georgia voters,” O’Leary said Tuesday. “
O’Leary has proposed building a $1 billion mixed-use entertainment complex in Gwinnett County featuring 7,500 VLTs, a luxury hotel, spa, performance venue and fine restaurants. The project is estimated to raise more than $350 million annually for the HOPE scholarship, create 2,500 permanent jobs and another 1,000 construction jobs. The project only requires a vote by the Georgia Lottery Board to expand gaming with VLTs in a secure destination venue.
The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, found:
Democrats: 64% support the gaming expansion. 23% are opposed. 13% are undecided.
Republicans: 52% support the gaming expansion. 40% are opposed. 8% are undecided.
Independents: 51% support the gaming expansion. 38% are opposed. 11% are undecided.
Conservative: 48% support the gaming expansion. 44% are opposed. 8% are undecided.
Moderate: 59% support the gaming expansion. 30% are opposed. 10% are undecided.
Liberal: 63% support the gaming expansion. 21% are opposed. 15% are undecided.
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Jason Hennessey & Bud Carter