Recent bills introduced in the Georgia Senate for 2017 include Senate Bill 79 (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20172018/SB/79). According to Senator Jack Hill, “SB 79 – Calls for a referendum to create the Georgia Gaming Commission in charge of granting licenses for two casinos in Georgia. The state would receive 20% of revenues. These funds would be split between the HOPE scholarship (70%) and a new needs based scholarship (30%)” (email).
Some opponents object to the bill legalizing casino gambling in Georgia on “moral grounds” (http://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/legislation-legalize-casinos-filed-georgia/83AlvQoNrDONcwIbeA24GM/); proponents see the bill as a way to shore up Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship, which is “available to Georgia residents who have demonstrated academic achievement” (https://www.gafutures.org/hope-state-aid-programs/hope-zell-miller-scholarships/hope-scholarship/) and is currently supported by Georgia Lottery for Education funds.
Also introduced during the current session is SB5 (https://legiscan.com/GA/text/SB5/2017) which “[a]lters the Georgia Lottery code requiring that net proceeds for education would increase to 26 percent of the lottery proceeds in FY 2018, 28 percent in FY 2019, and 30 percent in FY 2020” (Hill, email). Hill notes that “Lottery appropriations were flat for a total appropriation of $1.07 billion for the FY 17 year.”