January 15, 2009
Atlanta’s Underground casino plan
ATLANTA – A $450 million project has been proposed to the Georgia Lottery to redevelop Underground Atlanta with 5,000 video lottery terminals, a new 29-story hotel, and upscale restaurants and retailers.
Developer Dan O’Leary, who holds a 50-year lease on Underground, said “In order to truly change the perception of Underground, we do have to bring a very significant element to that property that it doesn’t have now —- a big draw. VLT machines would be an anchor tenant that would bring folks in.”
The video lottery terminals look like slot machines, but operate like lottery scratch-off tickets such as “Slots of luck” and “Hold ‘em poker.” Georgia law prohibits Las Vegas-style gaming, but the lottery law does not specifically prohibit video lottery terminals. The lottery board would own and operate the terminals.
O’Leary estimates the casino revenues would be $600 million annually with half going to the lottery.
William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, says his organization would promote it since many of Atlanta’s competitors, such as New Orleans and Las Vegas, already have gaming.
Tom Bell, chairman and CEO of Cousins Properties and chairman of the Central Atlanta Progress board, said it “would be a good thing for the city of Atlanta. We are slowly developing an increasingly strong offering as a tourist destination. Having an additional major attraction downtown would be a benefit.”
January 28, 2008
Study Recommends Casinos in Atlanta
ATLANTA, GA – The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the findings of a recent study about legalizing casinos in Atlanta. The report by PKF Hospitality Research was requested by high level Atlanta business leaders who want to keep Atlanta competitive as a top tourist destination.
Based on at least one Las Vegas-style casino built in downtown Atlanta:
The report cited other cities where gambling and conventions work together to
attract more visitors:
- 1st-ranked Las Vegas has $6 billion in casino revenue
- 2nd-ranked Chicagoland, Ind., has $5 billion
- 16th-ranked New Orleans has $534 million
The social cost of problem gambling is also reported and could cost Atlanta $320 million a year. About 8% of Americans over 18 are susceptible to gambling dependency. If there is a casino within 50 miles, it is estimated this percentage doubles.
Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts has long been an advocate for local casinos. "Georgians love to gamble," he said. "Georgians go to the Carolinas, and Mississippi and Nevada in huge numbers. It's my prediction that within five years, we will have casino gambling here in the state of Georgia."